There’s nothing that irks an avid recycler more than spotting heaps of cardboard at the curb awaiting the trash hauler. We recently heard that complaint from a resident in Morenci, a community in which cardboard is one of several items accepted at the local recycling center.
Cardboard is a valuable item for the city’s center because it brings in the most money among the items collected for recycling. There’s plenty of paper, glass and plastic brought in, but none of them matches corrugated cardboard for resale, and that’s why it hurts to see it sitting at the curb.
There’s still a lot of debate about the value of recycling. The cost of hauling materials to a recycling center, then hauling them to a processing center, the energy used during recycling the material—not everyone is convinced it’s worth the effort.
Studies indicate that overall the effort makes sense environmentally—natural resources are wasted when dumped in a landfill—but the practice doesn’t always come out ahead in terms of economics.
Some materials such as aluminum and glass can make more of the same. A plastic bottle, on the other hand, will not become another plastic bottle.
The motto of recycling efforts is “reduce, reuse.” The reuse of plastic bottles is limited and this is where “reduce” comes into play.
Billions of single-use plastic water bottles are produced every year and the majority end up in the trash. People complain about the price of gasoline, but think nothing of buying bottled water that can cost more per gallon.
One way to reduce is to simply turn on the tap.