A huge amount of debate on the real benefits of recycling followed the publication of an article in The New York Times, on 30th June, entitled: ‘Recycling is Garbage.’ Author, John Tierney, criticised the importance placed on recycling targets at great economic cost. He attacked the recycling of household waste as a pseudo-religious pursuit, claiming that its costs outweigh the benefits. He suggests that landfilling is the ideal solution for most wastes and that household separation of wastes, such as rinsing and sorting cans and bottles, is a pointless waste of time and money. Tierney described recycling as perhaps ‘the most wasteful activity in modern America: a waste of time and money, a waste of human and natural resources.’
Such an attack on the previously sacrosanct and politically correct subject, has provoked varying responses in the US press. Eric Zorn, from the Chicago Tribune, called the attack ‘probably the most serious public relations challenge the recycling movement has faced in a generation.’ Other commentators have welcomed the anti-recycling attitude; New York’s Mayor Rudolph Giuliani has used some of Tierney’s arguments after he admitted that he would have trouble enforcing a July 14th deadline for the city’s 25% recycling target. ‘There’s a certain theory in the law that says if a law is impossible, you can’t follow it.
And this law is impossible.’ A court order requires New York City to recycle 4,250 tons of household waste every day. The mayor argues that to reach the necessary recycling level he would have to put residents ‘in prison and force them to recycle.’ Its good to know we here at Manchester House Clearance have been recycling as much as we can from day 1.
As many trends and ideas from the US often cross the Atlantic, how long will it be before the ideas behind recycling come under attack in this country? We already have huge problems with fly by night house clearance companies fly tipping waste, thats why we at Manchester House Clearance joined the UK House Clearance Association to further show our house clearance customers we actually do care about our reputation within the house clearance industry.
The main motivation behind household recycling for many people is a concern for the environment; be helping to conserve the earth’s resources, they feel they are making a positive contribution; equally if they do not recycle then they may feel guilty. However, if they believe that recycling will actually cost more money and resources than it saves, would as many people bother to sort and separate their household waste? While uneconomic and impractical recycling should be avoided wherever possible, genuinely efficient and beneficial recycling could be severely harmed by such theorising.