“Recycling”, being the most common word of the era, we here discuss about recycling, the three (3) R’s of recycling, the process in which recycling is done, or the steps in the recycling process and also the advantages and disadvantages of recycling.
As the name suggest, recycling means converting a nonusable or waste into a usable form. In simpler words, it is converting an old product into a new one. Thus, recycling can be defined as a process of reusing an item which otherwise will be discarded as waste. It is the process of making a new product from an old product so as to reduce waste. Recycling is considered as the key element in controlling waste and pollution. This is useful for the environment as a whole. The different variants in recycling include;
- Upcycling- adding value to the item to be recycled.
- Downcycling- reducing or breaking down the components to be recycled.
- Precycling- acquiring items that would be treated as waste in future.
THREE R’s OF RECYCLING
- Reduce : This is an important aspect of using less or reducing the consumption of the commodities. The simple logic behind this is that, the less the use, the less is the waste.
- Reuse : This is another step in this category. Here the commodities are reused or another alternative method is found to use the commodity or it can be donated too.
- Recycle : This is the last option in the hierarchy. If a consumption of a commodity cannot be reduces or reused, it can be recycled and made into a new product.
THE RECYCLING PROCESS or THE STEPS OF RECYCLING
- Collection of waste materials : This is the first and foremost step in the process of recycling. The waste is being collected from residential areas, flats, community centers and drop off centers. The waste collected is taken in the recycling industries like raw materials. All these procured waste is transported and accumulated in the recycling factory.
- Separation of waste material : This is the second procedure in the recycling process. The collected waste is separated into different units like plastics, glass, metal and biodegradable waste.
- Cleaning and drying : This is one of the most important steps in the recycling process. The separated waste is properly cleaned so that it can be reused and recycled. After a thorough cleaning, it is dried and made ready for recycling.
- Manufacturing of the new product : The next step after cleaning and drying is the manufacture of the final product. As per the availability of the raw materials, the final product is made. Many products are manufactured with waste products which include paper, soft drink containers, glass, steel cans, plastic containers, laundry detergents, paper bags, plastic glass and other disposables.
- Packing and selling : This is the last and the final step in the process of recycling of products. The products manufactured are properly packed with labels and codes. This is then transported to the seller which reaches the markets for wholesale and retail sale.
ADVANTAGES OF RECYCLING
- Protects the environment : Recycling is very much beneficial to the environment. No new raw materials need to be procured as they are already in the material to be recycled. Pollution is reduced to a great extend because of the reduction in waste. The strain given to the environment is reduced considerably.
- Energy saving and resources : A lot of energy is saved in the process of recycling. The manufacturing process consumes less energy as compared to the manufacture of a new product. The use of natural resources reduces as no new raw material is required. No other resources are exploited. In this process the resources are also conserved.
- Eco friendly : he recycling of these waste products does not emit any green house gases like carbon dioxide or methane. Emission of such gases is harmful which in turn hampers the ozone layer and affects the climate.
- Waste reduction : When the materials are being recycled, the amount of waste accumulation reduces considerably. Recycling is the best way to proper waste management.
- Cost effective : Recycling is the most cost effective program adopted by mankind. No extra cost is incurred because waste is available everywhere. The other benefit is that no new raw material is needed to for the production of a new product.
- Job opportunity : Recycling industry provides a lot of job opportunities like collection of waste products, separation, proper cleaning of waste and storage. Thousands of workers are engaged in this process all over the world.
- Protects biodiversity : Mining activities, water pollution, soil erosion, soil pollution and deforestation has reduced considerably owing to recycling. This in turn prevents the loss of biodiversity, ecosystem and rainforests.
DISADVANTAGES OF RECYCLING
- Unhygienic : The recycling sites are often unhealthy and unhygienic due to the use and accumulation of waste materials. It is a go down of scrap and a proper home for breeding of many infectious diseases. The chemicals released can prove to be dangerous. The foul smell from these industries causes numerous health problems.
- Durability and quality : It is often seen that the recycled materials are less durable than the normal materials. Its quality cannot be guaranteed because the quality of the raw materials cannot be measured. It is after all made of waste materials. The general health of mankind can be affected due to the absence of quality check of the materials used.
- Less value : The economic values of these commodities are low as compared to other products because it is recycled from waste products. Many people are hesitant to buy such goods.
- Pollution : The accumulation of waste in these recycling industries induces pollution in every aspect. It causes air and soil pollution. This hampers the biodiversity of the environment as a whole. These areas stings terribly. Green house gases and many other poisonous gases can be released during the process. This will induce severe climatic changes and global warming.
- Expensive : It is very expensive to setup a recycling unit. No incentives are being granted by the government for the upliftment of such industries. No proper and effective advancement in technology takes place due to this reason. The cost incurred in procurement, transportation and storage is comparatively high. But the final product cannot be sold at a high rate because it’s a recycled product. So thus a huge loss is incurred by the manufacturer.
Thus to conclude, the process of recycling has many advantages and disadvantages. But on a whole, if the recycling industry is given priority and uplifted, the global issue like waste management can be controlled to a large extend. This will further solve other issues related to climate change and global warming. Proper initiative and incentives should be provided by the government in uplifting the recycling industry. Technological advancement should be given utmost priority so as to solve the global issues. Awareness should be created and proper knowledge should be imparted regarding the benefits of recycling. More and more people should be encouraged to buy the recycled products.