Published on November 1st, 20122
Why Recycling Does Not Work
Have you ever taken out the trash, and at the same time asked yourself: Why do I have to spend time putting paper with paper and glass with glass? The answer given is that by doing this you are saving the environment and preserving natural resources.
Well, this could not be further from the truth. According to Professor Bjørn Lomborg at Copenhagen Business School “recycling is often just a feel-good gesture that provides little environmental benefit at a significant cost”.
Lomborg uses the recycling of paper as an example. People are thought that by recycling we are saving trees. What they do not take into account is that the paper we use is not uncritically taken out of the rain forests. In fact, it comes from well-managed forest areas in Scandinavia, Canada, and similar countries. When the trees are cut down, the fields are replanted. We thus see an increase in trees rather than de-forestation.
By recycling one actually hurts these responsible industries, paving the way for less environmentally friendly business.
Other types of recycling are also counterproductive, especially when viewed from a social-economic perspective. These actions represent a misuse of money and manpower, which could be more useful in other sectors.
What we instead should be focusing on is the fight against poverty and promoting peace, especially in the developing world. This is not dine by spending countless hours recycling paper.