Do recycled materials offer genuine benefits to the environment?

Do recycled materials offer genuine benefits to the environment?


A recurring debate in waste and resources management is the extent to which the recycling of materials offers genuine benefits to the environment. Critics assert that the act of recycling have little or no benefit to the environment, suggesting that more energy may be used in getting materials to the recycling facility than is saved by the process of recycling.

As LifeArt products are made from recycled fibre this is a debate we are passionate about discussing and referencing leading research.  One such report is that from  WRAP (the Waste & Resources Action Programme: UK)

WRAP commissioned a major international research project . The team of experts conducted a comprehensive international review of life cycle analysis (LCA) projects that used ISO standard methodologies to evaluate the impact of managing key materials in different ways – through recycling, incineration or landfill.

This study is the most comprehensive international review of LCA work on key materials collected for recycling – paper/cardboard, wood, plastics, aluminium, steel, glass, and aggregates.

Across the board studies show that recycling offers more environmental benefits and lower environmental impacts than other waste management options. The message is unequivocal. Recycling is good for the environment, saves energy, reduces raw material extraction and combats climate change. It has a vital role to play as waste and resource strategies are reviewed to meet the challenges towards more sustainable patterns of consumption and production and in combating climate change by reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

The environmental benefits demonstrated by this study show that it is time for recycling to take its rightful place at the heart of sustainable waste management and resource efficiency, and reinforce its clear contribution to reducing greenhouse gas emissions. Source: Ray Georgeson MBE; Director of Policy and Evaluation WRAP

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Published on: 09/09/2013
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