Advances in Plastics Recycling - Sample Essay

Recycling is said to be costly, impractical and wasteful. However, modern recycling techniques have shown that not only does recycling lead to saving raw material, energy and cost, it also helps maintain ecological balance. Recycling has certain disadvantages. What are these? Recycling does not protect forests. Most of the wood used for paper comes from plantations of Conifer and Eucalyptus. These actually damage the environment; they are planted for their wood in third world countries. What does recycling lead to? It leads to the production of low quality recycled material.

What exactly is recycled? Aluminum cans, glass bottles and newsprint? The point is that there are few articles that are recycled and can be recycled. The opponents of recycling claim that recycling is futile because of certain reasons. They claim that the costs of collection, transportation and reprocessing are very high. These high costs do not make recycling feasible. They insist that the cost of recycled materials is high. They claim that the market for recycled goods is unsound. Further, they assert that recycling facilities cause harm to their immediate environment.

However, in my opinion we should recycle because its benefits are widespread.. At the inception let me assert that if recycled materials are used then this saves natural resources. These resources are vital for our survival. These include oil, trees and minerals. We should reduce the use of virgin materials. We should recycle because it helps us save space. If materials are recycled, then less material has to be dumped into landfills. By recycling we save landfill space and this helps mitigate the problem of waste disposal.

I strongly support recycling because it has been seen from experience that recycling requires less energy that making products from raw materials. It uses less fuel, less oil and less electricity. I advocate recycling because making recycled products means less air and water pollution. It is easier to make recycled products and it is cleaner to make recycled products. Besides recycling requires more labor than that used at a land fill and so is an important source of generating employment. The opponents of recycling mention aluminum cans.

If cans are recycled there is a savings of energy when compared to manufacturing these from raw material. The raw material is in the form of bauxite and if we smelt it, process it and break the bond of aluminum with oxygen; it takes a lot of electrical power. What is wrong with it? The places where bauxite is found, aluminum plants are formed. These plants are supplied electricity by huge hydroelectric plants. These are dam based plants and they disturb the ecosystem of the area. These dams dislocate tens of thousands of people, destroy forests and farmland.

The aluminum plant owners are multinational companies and they buy up river valleys and converted them to hydroelectric plants for aluminum smelting (Lund. H 2000). The opponents of recycling should remember that recycling means the aluminum ore does not have be smelted. In other words, it is a large saving of energy and a larger saving of the environment. The adversaries of recycling mention glass. In case of making glass it is not the use of electricity but the use of gas or oil that is burnt. The results are equally devastating.

The increase in drilling operations, transport of oil, refining and the ultimate burning are all responsible for greater pollution and environment problems. It is important that we recycle glass. For every ton of cullet used there is a saving of 1. 1 tons of raw materials. The energy saving with 100 percent cullet production is 35%. In addition, there is a reduction of emissions and reduction in landfill use (Limbachiya. M, & Roberts. J, 2004). What about paper? It is equally important that paper is recycled. The current forest from which wood that goes into papermaking comes from mono-culture forests and plantations.

These forests are not biologically varied and have resulted from heavy use of poisonous herbicides. How have these forests been grown? Virgin forests and extremely varied rainforests have been decimated and replaced with these unhealthy plantations. Apart from the few items that have been mentioned by my opponents, there are other items that can easily be recycled. Which are these? There are tires, plastics, oil wastes and textiles (Klempner. D, Frisch. K & Prentice. G, 1999). Tires can easily be converted into crumb rubber and can be used for playground surfaces, car bumpers and carpet padding.

If these are not recycled, then tires find their ways into landfills or get illegally disposed. Oil wastes damage sewerage, if burnt pollute the air and if poured into the ground kill earthworms. What does on do? Lubricating oil that is usually wasted can be recycled and used for heating or lubrication. This reduces pollution. What about textiles? They can be used for fiber reclamation, or used as filling materials. If textiles are used for fiber reclamation, then these become raw material and there is a large savings in terms of water usage and pollution.

To sum, even though the recycling process may appear to some as meaningless and limited, it has tremendous potential. Recycling leads to the saving of raw material, natural resources and energy. Recycling reduces pollution of the soil, air and water.

References:

Klempner. D, Frisch. K & Prentice. G, (1999) Advances in Plastics Recycling, CRC Press Limbachiya. M, & Roberts. J, (2004) Sustainable Waste Management and Recycling: Glass Waste, Thomas Tedford. . Lund. H (2000) The McGraw-Hill Recycling Handbook, McGraw-Hill Professional.