Whats up with Recycling?

What’s up with Recycling? Let’s talk about recycling. Of course, recycling is much better than not recycling. Recycling is an excellent way to bring people closer to caring for our environment. Recycling invites us to turn to see our trash can, to separate our waste, and to start thinking about the destinations of our trash. Please always recycle your waste. In Mexico you can find the Ecolana Platform. You can also recycle at the Huerto Roma Verde, or also at the Mercado del Trueque.

Recycling is an important part of building a circular economy, that is, returning materials to the economy so as not to extract new materials again. It is always good that you look for places to take to recycle the waste you generate. And it is also good that if you cannot recycle it, leave a message on social networks to the companies that are producing it so that they stop producing it.

Recycling is a great place to start but a bad place to end

What are the pitfalls of recycling? What’s up with Recycling? What are its pitfalls? In principle, recycling is not going to solve environmental problems at a more systemic level, nor with the urgency that our planet needs. Recycling distracts us from making real changes at more macro levels with respect to the way we use resources as a society. Recycling is only a palliative against a larger systemic crisis. What are the pitfalls of Recycling?

1) There is a lot of greenwashing regarding recycling fees.

Many materials could in theory be recyclable, but in reality they are not recycled because there is no market to recycle them. Companies that produce packaging and companies that sell it through packaged goods have no incentive to take it back. Recycling rates in Mexico are estimated to be less than 10% (SEMARNAT, 2015).

2) There are materials that cannot be recycled forever,

One of them is plastic. Plastic is derived from petroleum and there are several types of plastic, according to its durability and its components. Plastic recycling involves a process called “Downcycling” where in each recycling cycle the material loses more and more quality until it reaches a point where it can no longer be recycled. That is why most environmental NGOs affirm that plastic, seen from a longer term perspective, is not a recyclable material. In fact, Annie Leonard of the History of Things claims that putting up the recycling triangle logo was just an industry publicity strategy to wash the image of plastic, when in reality plastic is extremely difficult to recycle.

Before promoting recyclable containers Lets create Reusable containers

4) Recycling consumes a huge amount of energy and resources 

Recycling a material involves a very high energy and resource cost. For example, recycling aluminum involves enormous energy and water costs. We cannot allow such a waste of energy (with the associated carbon emissions) in the climate emergency that we are experiencing.

5) Divert attention from more sustainable solutions. 

Our goal is to recycle less and less, that is, to promote not to generate trash in the first place. The real objective is to create packaging reuse strategies and to consume products with less packaging and fresher, before having to recycle. In fact, Dr. Paul Connett (one of the pioneers of the Zero Waste Theory) points out that Recycling is admitting that we have failed, that we were not smart enough, or we were not concerned enough, to make a more durable design, or to repair or to prevent its use in the first place.

Recycling should be the last resort in a sustainable zero waste strategy