People who recycle have to continue to do it because it benefits the environment in the long run, taking plastics, paper, glass, metals and cardboard out of the waste stream.
Recycling helps extend the life of area landfills. But falling prices for crude oil and other commodities have caused the value of recycled material to plunge, The Kansas City Star reports.
Many Kansas City area school districts that took on recycling bins with a lot of fanfare 10 to 20 years ago now are shedding the recycling dumpsters that people in the surrounding communities used. Instead of being an asset bringing in revenue to schools, they have become a costly liability.
School districts in Blue Springs, Kansas City, Kan., Independence and Lee’s Summit have closed their recycle bins. Costs of curbside recycling and trash pickup also are rising. Sorting facilities’ costs also have gone up, too.
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Not enough uses are being developed for recycled material, creating a glut on the market and forcing a price drop. Overseas markets also have weakened or now reject U.S. recyclables.
It’s more economical for companies to make consumer goods from cheap natural resources than recycled material.
But people have to factor in hidden costs of continuing the wasteful behavior of not recycling. Recycling still makes sense overall for the environment.
It may come down to only a few diehards doing the recycling. That’s how things were in the 1980s and early 1990s before curbside recycling became a service that many area cities provided.
For the planet, recycling has to be ongoing and widespread even if the payback isn’t immediate.
Recycling now will benefit future generations in the material and energy saved so they can enjoy a cleaner environment with plentiful resources for their use and enjoyment.