Excuse: Recycling should pay for itself.
Landfills and incinerators don't pay for themselves; in fact they cost more than recycling programs.
Recycling creates more than one million U.S. jobs in recycled product manufacturing alone. There are 10 times more jobs in recycling than there are in disposal.
Hundreds of companies, including Hewlett Packard, Bank of America, and the U.S. Postal Service, have saved millions of dollars through their recycling programs.
Through recycling, the U.S. is saving enough energy to provide electricity for 9 million homes per year.
Excuse: Recycling causes pollution.
Recycling results in a net reduction in ten major categories of air pollutants and eight major categories of water pollutants.
Excuse: Recycling doesn't save trees or other natural resources.
Excuse: There is no landfill crisis.
Space is very limited and if we save the space today we will have it for tomorrow.
Excuse: Landfills and incinerators are safe.
Landfills and incinerators can be major sources of pollution. For example, leachate from solid waste landfills is similar in composition to that of hazardous waste landfills.
About 1/4 of the sites on the Superfund list (the nation's most hazardous sites) are solid waste landfills.
Excuse: If recycling makes sense, the free market will make it happen.
Government supports lots of services that the free market wouldn't provide, such as the delivery of running water, electricity, and mail to our homes.
Unlike most public services, recycling does function with in the market economy, and quite successfully.
If the market were truly free, long-standing subsidies that favor virgin materials and landfills would not exist, and recycling could compete on a level playing field.
Excuse: There are no markets for recyclables.
Prices may fluctuate as they do for any commodity, but domestic and international markets exist for all materials collected in curbside recycling programs.
Demand for recycled materials has never been greater. American manufacturers rely on recyclables to produce many of the products on your store shelves.
By the year 2005, the value of materials collected for recycling will surpass $5 billion per year.
Excuse: We are already recycling as much as we can.
The national recycling rate is 28%. The U.S. EPA has set a goal of 35% and many communities are recycling 50% or more.
Many easily recycled materials are still thrown away. For example, 73% of glass containers, 77% of magazines, 66% of plastic soda and milk bottles, and 45% of newspapers are not recycled.
We are nowhere near our potential, especially if manufacturers make products easier to recycle.
Canada set a goal of 50% diversion of solid waste from disposal by the year 2000. The province of Nova Scotia exceeded that goal through such steps as banning compostable organic materials from landfills and providing curbside collection of all organic materials for composting.
Excuse: Recycling is a burden on families.
Recycling is so popular because the American public wants to do it.
More people recycle than vote.
*Information on this page used with permission from Harvard University