Thursday, 18 July 2019

Effects of Not Recycling

The fact that recycling is one of the most important issues in recent times needs no introduction. Also UAE passed an ambitious law in 2018 to recycle 75% of the waste generated by the country (Gulf News, New UAE federal law aims at 75% of waste recycling), which highlights the importance of recycling with combined efforts around the world to recycle human waste suffocating the environment.
This article is not about the importance of recycling, rather it talks about what would be the results of not recycling. That is, let the landfills fester with ever voluminous mounds of trash. What will be the effects of not recycling that?
The world is already reeling from an unimaginable turnover of waste. According to the World Bank, the global volume of waste is set to increase by 70 percent by 2050. (World Bank, Global Waste to Grow by 70 Percent by 2050 Unless Urgent Action is Taken: World Bank Report)
The developed countries generate the maximum amount of the world's waste with the US being one of the biggest. An estimated 254 million tonnes of waste gets generated by the USA per annum (Environmental Protection Agency or EPA). The UAE being the highest waste generator in the Gulf region, generating an estimated 6.5million tonnes of waste and is one of the world's highest in terms of per capita waste production.(Gulf Business, UAE seeks end to status as one of world’s largest waste producers)
The effects of not recycling can be categorised broadly into two categories: environmental and economic.
1.                  Environmental
First, let’s talk about plastic. Recent reports around the world of the presence of plastic in the bowels of aquatic creatures especially an infamous one have raised alarm over the problem that the accumulation of plastic waste poses. According to a World Bank report, 242 million tonnes of plastic waste was produced globally which constituted 12 percent of the total solid waste generated worldwide (World Bank, Global Waste to Grow by 70 Percent by 2050 Unless Urgent Action is Taken: World Bank Report).
Scrap metal, easily recyclable, when not recycled puts pressure on landfills and serves to increase the toxicity of the environment.
Glass can be recycled ad infinitum thus saving cost as well as lessening water pollution.
If recycling is not done (and not done properly), there are environmental costs to bear globally.
2.                  Economic
There are significant economic implications of not recycling in addition to the obvious environmental effects.
In 2017, the global recycling industry generated an estimated $265.61 billion (975.64 billion dirhams) of revenue. The global plastic recycling industry alone was estimated to have a market size of an estimated $37.6 billion (138.1 billion dirhams).(Cision, Global Waste Recycling Market Outlook Report 2017-2018: $37.6 Billion Opportunities in Plastic Recycling)
Revenue generated leads to more jobs. In the US alone, tens of thousands of people work in the recycling sector. If recycling is stopped, these people along with thousands of others around the world will lose their jobs.
Recycling also helps to reduce prices on many items such as glass and some types of metal. Since the material is recycled every time, manufacturing costs are cut drastically in half. The effect of not recycling would not only put immense pressure on already depleting finite resources but would also make prices inflate for a lot of materials.
Thus, to conclude, the impact of not recycling has a tremendous cost, both environmentally and economically and would only clog the various spheres of the planet with unmanageable clutter, both hazardous and non-hazardous. Therefore, in a world of fast depleting resources, recycling is the need of the hour.

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