Insufficient recycling of materials

Experimental visualization of narrower problems
Other Names:
Underutilization of waste
Inadequate waste recovery
Excessive final disposal of waste

Of UK's 18 million tons of domestic waste each year, less than 10% is recycled – even though 94% believe recycling is important. A British family of four throws out an average of a tonne of domestic waste a year.

Despite nearly 30 years of active recycling in the USA, 96 percent of plastic still goes into landfills. Two-thirds of waste paper still gets thrown away, and Mexico actually recycles more glass per capita than the U.S. does.

Counter Claim:

The more waste that is recycled the greater become the problems of sorting it and finding uses for the materials produced from it: collection and sorting become progressively more difficult and costly; plastics cannot be mixed; the bulk of paper, plastic and card is used for food packaging and there are hygienic complications; plastic translucence is lost and colours muddied; the technology does not exist to deal with many materials; recycling is not always environmentally friendly; and the resultant raw material must be used or is itself a waste. Therefore, you get to a point where having recycled as much as is ecologically and practically desirable, burning and landfill might be the best solution for what is left.


Problem Type:
D: Detailed problems
Date of last update
14.06.2018 – 11:06 CEST