Tuesday, November 20, 2012


There is some debate over whether recycling is economically efficient. Municipalities often see fiscal benefits from implementing recycling programs, largely due to the reduced landfill costs. A study conducted by the Technical University of Denmark according to the Economist found that in 83 percent of cases, recycling is the most efficient method to dispose of household waste.
Fiscal efficiency is separate from economic efficiency. Economic analysis of recycling includes what economists call externalities, which are unpriced costs and benefits that accrue to individuals outside of private transactions. Examples include: decreased air pollution and greenhouse gases from incineration, reduced hazardous waste leaching from landfills, reduced energy consumption, and reduced waste and resource consumption, which leads to a reduction in environmentally damaging mining and timber activity. About 4000 minerals are known, of these only a few hundred minerals in the world are relatively common.At current rates, current known reserves of phosphorus will be depleted in the next 50 to 100 years.
Environmental effects of recycling
Material Energy savings Air Pollution savings
Aluminum 95% 95%
Cardboard 24%  —
Glass 5–30% 20%
Paper 40% 73%
Plastics 70%  —
Steel 60%  —

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