Recycling programs are intended to work and be beneficial to the environment. They however do not work due to the economic side of businesses. Consumers may place items in the blue recycle bins, but the items will not always be recycled in the end. Many of the items will end up in the land fill due to the fact waste companies cannot make money by recycling certain items. The world is run with money. At the end of the day, waste businesses are looking to make a profit and report good earnings to shareholders.
The shipping industry indirectly affects the packaging recycling program as well. Shipping companies are trying to do their part to reduce their footprint by redesigning packaging to be more lightweight while still remaining durable. While still reducing their impact on the environment, they are also lowering their costs of material and shipping. This seems beneficial from the environmental side to the financial side of the shipping industry. It is not beneficial and it is ultimately detrimental to the environment due to the financial side of waste companies recycling the newly designed packaging. With less packaging, there are less materials for waste companies to recycle. Due to the decrease of material, there is a decreased profit and it is not worth the cost to process the more complex packaging for recycling. It is more cost effective for waste companies to add the recycling into the landfill than pay the labor costs to process the packaging.
Another factor that makes recycling programs less effective is the cost to make new plastic packaging. It is cheaper for companies to make their own new packaging from raw materials compared to making packaging from recycled products. With new packaging, companies save money and can guarantee a consistent quality of plastic. When using recycled plastic, businesses have to worry about a faster degradation rate compared to newly made plastic. If there is a way to reduce the cost of reusing recycled material, businesses would be more likely to chose that option to preserve the environment as well as reduce their packaging costs.
There are many products that cannot or will not be recycled. It is too expensive for waste companies to recycle items like batteries and electronics. A solution to solve this issue is for the producing companies to step up. The producing companies can develop their own recycling program to collect their old products. While recycling products would add a cost to the companies, it is a way for them to show customers that they care about the environment. Having a recycling program can be seen as an investment as it can possibly ring in more potential customers. A lot of consumers are willing to pay a little more money for a product if they know it is sustainable and can eventually be recycled. Businesses advertising recyclable products appeal to potential buyers ethos, which is ethics, and pathos, which is their emotions. Customers want to buy the things they desire while still feeling that they are doing the right thing and positively impacting the environment.
Essay by: Mateo Artura