2.4 Why recycling is better for the environment and the economy?

  • Every ton of waste that is reused / recycled avoids extraction, processing and import of new resources.
  • Recycling saves several times more energy than incinerators can produce by burning waste.
  • Recycling has lower investment and operational costs: a euro spent on recycling services will handle more waste then a euro spent on incineration.
  • Recycling creates more jobs. The European Commission’s waste strategy says: “recycling 10 000 ton of waste needs up to 250 jobs compared with 20 – 40 jobs needed if the waste is incinerated, and about 10 for landfill.”
  • While the environmental benefits of recycling are well known, what is less known is that recycling is an economic success story as well. By turning waste into valuable raw materials, recycling creates jobs, builds up more competitive manufacturing industries and significantly reduces environmental pollution.
  • Municipal waste generated by country in selected years (kg per capita), presented in the table below (Eurostat, 2013) emphasises on the social significance of this process.
  • LO9 2
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