WHAT IS RECYCLING ?
by Andrew Roper LVI ( SATIS A/S )
Recycling is the conversion of waste products into new materials, such as waste paper which can be converted into new paper goods. Recycling is a lengthy circular process which has to include transportation of collected materials to a processing facility where they are cleaned and sorted. The new materials that have been converted must comply with the same safety legislation and health and hygiene regulations as products made from virgin materials. We can only say a product has been recycled when it has been purchased and used again.
IS RECYCLING WORTH DOING ?
The benefits of recycling are:-
- Lower raw materials cost from recycled sources
- Increased production efficiency
- Reduced waste disposal costs
-Reduced energy consumption in manufacturing process
-reduced reliance on imports
These benefits have to be weighed against:-
- The cost of collection and treatment of material
- The need to maintain a high quality of production
- The energy costs involved in reprocessing
HOW DO WE RECYCLE
There are over 5,000 bottle banks in the U.K. All local authorities have a bottle bank scheme. Bottle banks are placed in convenient places for the public, such as near supermarkets and civic centres. The banks are emptied by special vehicles which have compartments for the different colour of glass. When there is sufficient quantity it is loaded and taken to the recycling plant.
RECYCLING CAN SAVE ENERGY!!
Glass recycling saves energy in the production of raw materials, and the melting of the glass. Saving this amount of energy is the equivalent to 30 gallons of oil for every tonne of cullet added to the batch of raw materials.
THE BENEFITS OF RECYCLING PAPER?
Using recycled paper reduces water use and water pollution, e.g. the British paper and board industry is one of the countrys largest industrial users of water. For many countries without large domestic sources of pulp wood, the major economic advantage of recycling is in reducing the need to use imported pulp. It is estimated that between 10-17 trees are needed to produce a tonne of paper, this is enough for 7000 copies of national newspapers
THE DISADVANTAGES OF RECYCLING PAPER ?
Recycling does not save natural forests. Virtually all paper and board products come directly from Conifers or Eucalyptus plantations These plantations are environmentally damaging as they are planted in areas where they would not normally grow, such as Spain, Brazil and India.
The paper recycling industry is having problems since the market for old newspapers has saturated and has hit rock bottom; yet paper mills are having difficulty getting enough high grade paper waste such as office paper etc.
WHAT IS STOPPING RECYCLING ?
1) There is a lack of reliable information about the quantities and seasonal composition of domestic refuse.
2) In many situations recovery cannot be justified unless due credit is given for the broader benefits of recycling - less pressure on mineral resources,fuel savings, a reduction in the environmental impact from material production and waste disposal, and lower imports.
3) There is a concern over the apparent lack of markets for low grade recycled material.
4) Recycling is normally voluntary and aimed at a limited number of material such as newsprints, glass bottles, and steel/aluminium cans. Over all recycling rates higher than 10-15% are rarely achieved using this system.
Contributed by Andrew Roper LVI (A/S Satis)