An interesting development in recycling—one that you’re bound to have mixed feelings about: As more individual businesses and municipalities are starting to ban both paper and plastic bags, or impose fees to discourage their use, it’s pissing off a certain group of people.
No, not consumers. Recyclers.
The Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries, or ISRI, yesterday fired a blast out of their e-mail gun stating “Policymakers are banning bags and creating fees without considering the real impact on recycling, and the recycling industry… Rather than bans and fees that take away jobs and increase costs to consumers, policy makers should take advantage of the great economic and environmental opportunities associated with responsibly recycling these bags.” They followed this up with some surprising statistics:
In the United States, approximately 77 percent of paper mills rely on recovered fiber to make some or all of their products thanks in part to recovered paper’s significant cost and energy savings. Recycling one ton of paper saves 17 trees, 79 gallons of oil, 7,000 gallons of water, and 3.3 cubic yards of landfill space. According to the U.S. EPA, plastic recycling results in significant energy savings, an estimated 50-75 million Btus/ton of material recycled.