Recycling has been the poster child of diverting the waste stream, but is it really the best option?  Recycling actually takes a lot of energy to do and depending on where you are compared to where the processing center is, and the demand for the materials, it might be more environmentally costly than you think.

When you recycle, everything gets collected and shipped to a center.  The batch gets tested for purity and if there is something that shouldn’t be in there then the whole batch gets rejected and put into the landfill.  Yes, it really is important for everyone to rinse out recyclables and make sure that other waste doesn’t make it into the bins.

Once it has been tested the plastic material gets melted down into pellets (glass and paper have their own process of bailing or break down) and then that ‘new’ material gets shipped somewhere new for processing.  The ‘new’ material then gets heated and melted into a new object.

Recycling is an intensive process, and one which there is not always a demand for the materials.  So what happens when you recycle something and there is no demand?  It gets put in the landfill.  But don’t despair there are other options.  Try going go up the ladder a little and possibly Upcycle, or better yet ReUse that item.

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