Why Recycle Comes Last?

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May 1, 2017 by Species Ecology

Why Recycle comes last?

Dina Ala’Eddin

We often hear, read or even say the term Recycle to describe projects that involve social activities aiming at spreading awareness among the public about the importance of dealing with solid waste properly, like engaging them with an art workshop that encourage them to bring the stuff that are no longer needed by them and have been forgotten in their cupboards or under their beds, to eventually turn these unneeded stuff to something with useful again! Like turning a mug into a pen holder, well this would be a workshop for good cause and quite creative way of letting people acquire good practices toward their stuff and let them contribute into the process of lifting some burden from accumulating landfills. But to make the best of spreading knowledge we have to let the public differentiate between terminologies, because such a practice goes under the term Reuse and not Recycle.

The 3Rs, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle, together are strategies used in waste management to prevent overloaded landfills and the pollution it can cause. In addition these strategies offer a circular system that save the natural resources from depletion because they all indicate an invitation to efficient consumption and prohibits luxurious over consumption. The 3Rs have to be used in all sectors to establish a completed circle from houses to restaurants to schools to factories, etc.

Going back to the major focus of this article which is shedding the light on the sequence that should be followed when applying the 3Rs, the sequence that it is written in reflects which R should be thought of first. Reduce is the most important R that should be given the first priority, because it controls the level of waste that should be released from any process and in that way the waste generated will be less leading to lesser cost than a process that releases random large amount of waste. And because there is no such process that releases zero waste, the Reuse comes after the Reduce strategy to handle the rest of the waste and use it in another form without the material being processed or returned to its original status. Here in reuse we can also reform material to work for other purpose like an old barrel to be used as a compost container with little repairs. So recycle comes at last, why? Well, it is the last solution that has to be adopted because it contains processing, processing means energy consumption from the recycling plants and other waste released, it has its cons. Of course this doesn’t mean that Recycling is a negative practice but it is a last remedy. Recycling has solved many problems in the industrial sector and even though it consumes energy but the amount is very little than the amount consumed if the raw material were processed in an industrial process.

We live in a finite planet that allows people to always think about finding solutions to save their environment. Some groups have gone beyond the 3Rs to 4Rs, even some sources in the internet talk about 7Rs. In the end it is very important to keep updated and customized the solutions that suit our situations.

I advise readers to refer to the following link that I relied on to clear what I intended to state in this article.


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