“Every year, millions of tons of materials are being exploited from the earth’s crust, and processed into consumer and capital goods. After decades to centuries, most of these materials are “lost”. With the exception of some pieces of art or religious relics, they are no longer engaged in the consumption process. Where are they? Recycling is only an intermediate solution for such materials, although it does prolong the residence time in the anthroposphere. For thermodynamic reasons, however, recycling cannot prevent the final need for an ultimate sink.”
P. H. Brunner
There is a long criticism regarding recycling because of different factors such as energy consumption for the recycling process, the life span of the recyclates, transportation and actualization cost of the recyclable materials, pollution production from the recycling processes and job opportunities. In spite of that, the recycling process has been in a way or in another in the course of the human history a methodology to preserve what is possible to use again. For example, the recycling process already from the BC time was present in the human civilisation but surely not like we know now.
I am not going to tell you with all these complicated terms how the recycling process happen in the waste industry because we are not all scientists here and I think that is better to leave this sophisticated concepts to the experts and professional of the sectors. What I want to tell you are some suggestions that could be precious and useful for you because they are important. As well, if you maybe you already heard before from somewhere or someone else, doesn’t really matter to me because knowledge perceives in the time thanks to the communication and conservation from the old to the new generations.
Simply in your little actions of everyday life, you can help what has been always a passive problem in the human life. If you have little time to spare or just a few seconds to think about that you can help already the recycling situation. If you have old clothes to draw away you can take them in a charity shop for free or maybe if you want to make some money on it, you can sell it online or in a street market or you can give some to your friend that is not so lucky like you. You can do it the same with your old furniture or if you live in a big city or town you can give them to some squatter (not all of them are bad).
Regarding E-waste and therefore computers, smartphones and derivate you can easily sell it back or if you are a bit nerd you can disassemble it apart and sell its components. If you feel creative and you have the technical knowledge you can recovery the parts disassemble it and build your own PC or Mac (Apple have end-to-end system). If you can’t sell it back you can take them to some electronics repair shop of your town and give to them for free. They always need some parts for repairing in somehow something. You can give them to your friends or your parents as well if you mind to.
There is so many ways to preserve the manmade things that I can even remember all of them. Those few example that I listed for you are applicable to almost everything that you have but remember that it’s up to you what you want to do and what you want to believe.
“Complete recycling is impossible from a practical standpoint. In summary, substitution and recycling strategies only delay the depletion of non-renewable stocks and therefore may buy time in the transition to true or strong sustainability, which ultimately is only guaranteed in an economy based on renewable resources.”
M. H. Huesemann, 2003