Circular economy

Recycling? According to the New York Times it is a waste of time

Questo post è disponibile anche in: Italian

The American newspaper defines recycling unnecessary, ineffective and expensive. Associations replicate with numbers: worthwhile for the economy.

Unexpected stance on the increasingly ambitious recycling targets by the New York Times. The columnist John Tierney, on the front page of the famous American newspaper, labels the system as “useless”, “ineffective” and “expensive”. A provocative article that triggered the reaction of the Institute for Scrap Recycling Industries (ISRI), which accuses the newspaper of “blunders”.

Tierney, in his article entitled “The Kingdom of recycling,” writes that the environmental benefits of the system are the consequence of reducing the need of producing products from scratch: this means less mining, drilling and deforestation. “The problem – Tierney writes – is that this mechanism is not convenient at all for industries and communities that have embraced the “less environment-more jobs” view. In addition, one of the original goals of the movement for recycling was to avoid a hypothetical crisis due to full landfills in the country. But this fear, fed by the media, has no reason to exist in such a spacious nation”.

According to Robin Wiener, president of ISRI, the newspaper “completely ignores” the economic impact of recycling on the American economy: “The truth is that recycling in the USA is a successful activity, that drives production, providing each year over 130 million tons of secondary raw materials such as metals, paper, electronic material, plastic, rubber, glass and textile fibers that are then transformed into new products”.

The recycling sector, according to data by ISRI, is worth about 106 billion dollars a year and generates 471,587 jobs in the US alone.

“Problems exist – continues Wiener – It’s true that the decrease in price of raw materials, combined with the decision of some districts not to separate waste, affects the economic and technological feasibility of recycling. But this represents less than half of the recycling activities in the US each year”.

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