Comparative Study of Recycling Initiatives of Municipal Waste in UK and India
Chapter-II: Literature Review
Recycling is a three-part series of activities, to recover, reprocess, and reuse materials that are considered “waste,” thus reducing their burden on the environment. These materials come from household use, industrial processes, commerce, and agriculture; they typically include glass, paper, wood, aluminum cans, metal scrap, some plastics, and various organic materials. Through a variety of processes, waste materials are recovered and reprocessed to become substitutes for raw materials obtained from natural resources (such as petroleum, minerals, trees, and soil).
Besides economizing on the use of natural resources, recycling can help reduce quantities of solid waste sent to landfills and can reduce pollution caused by waste disposal: Incineration consumes energy and creates air pollution; landfills contaminate water and also create air contamination. These financial and environmental benefits also translate into social benefits: improved quality of life and a means for achieving sustainability (ensuring that future generations have access to comparable air, water, and natural resources that we enjoy presently).
Recovering value from so-called waste requires motivation, innovation, and marketing. Motivation often begins with the necessity to save money by not discarding used materials or by substituting reprocessed materials for expensive natural resources. Education and refinement of consumer values also contribute to motivation, as do government-sponsored financial rebates or requirements.
For example, in 1998, an executive order from the president of the United States required that all federal agencies use paper composed of 30% postconsumer fiber. This practice later resulted in a 13% reduction of solid waste material requiring disposal. The California Redemption Value (CRV) for aluminum cans increased from 2 to 4 cents in January 2004, resulting in the collection of an additional 680 million cans. Part of motivation is to provide information, so that consumers and businesses understand what products can be recycled, how to prepare them, and how to transport them to processing stations.
Innovation requires rethinking of procedures (such as instituting curbside pickup of used consumer materials) and manufacturing processes (such as reprocessing newspaper and paper waste to create new paper products or reclaiming wastewater from raising flowers and using it to irrigate another flower crop). Two major areas of recycling operations are internal and external. Internal recycling is the reuse in a manufacturing process of materials that become a waste product of that process. Throughout the life cycle of a product—the extraction of its raw materials, transportation, processing, and manufacturing—waste is generated. But this waste can be salvaged. External recycling is the reclaiming of materials from a product that has been used, such as the widespread use today of refurbished ink cartridges for printers or the transformation of used tires into safer playground equipment, groundcover, and park benches and tables.
Once materials have been reprocessed, marketing enables businesses and consumers to know that the recycled content materials are available for use. Marketing can help build commitment to purchase these recycled products. Only then, with purchase and use of these reprocessed materials, can the process of ...