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Guest Thinkers

Is Recycling Worth It?

Recycling doesn’t come for free. It costs millions to pickup, sort and process all those plastic bottles, aluminum cans and cardboard pizza boxes we discard.

As if the recession hasn’t dug its claws into enough budgets and bottom lines, here’s another victim to add to its fiscal hit list: recycling programs. According to the most recent data from the Environmental Protection Agency, more than 200 curbside recycling programs got the ax between 2002 and 2008. In 2008, the market for many recycled materials also dropped severely; recycled tin took a particularly deep plunge from $327 per ton to $5 per ton. Prices have recovered in past couple years, though not to pre-recession highs. But not everyone would interpret recycling downturns as bad news. Although it’s the go-to green habit in many homes, recycling has attracted its fair share of critics along the way.


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