Industrial recycling is the process of converting industrial waste material (such as chemical solvents, paints, sandpaper, paper products, industrial by-products, metal, radioactive waste, e-waste) into new materials or objects, done by companies like Mill Scale.
While it can prevent the waste of useful materials by giving them new purpose, it is also substantial in preserving the environment. One of the major focuses among governments in the cost-effectiveness of recycling, which significantly increases with industrial recycling, especially today.
Industrial recycling entails:
1. Collecting and transporting the industrial waste (which can be done in specialized recycling centers)
2. Sorting the industrial waste (according to type of the waste)
3. The actual process of recycling (creating the new materials or objects out of the waste)
Industrial waste materials can be successfully used in other industries such as engineering and construction of buildings, roads, bridges and other construction-related projects. However, there are over hundreds of millions of tons of non-hazardous industrial waste material that are not being reused or recycled.
With those in mind, what would be the most important issues regarding industrial recycling?
1. Energy and material flow – considering the amount of energy used in the recycling process, it takes far less energy to produce the material or object out of the recycled material. On the other hand, the costs of the international transportation of the recycled material flows are variable, thus resulting in diverse costs within different states.
2. Possible income loss and social costs – how much money could be made through recycling depends significantly on the recycling program and its successful implementation. However, if the government continues to develop recycling programs, it would certainly affect the poorest of the society. Without recycling, the poorest will lose great opportunity to make a substantial income for themselves.
3. Working conditions – although recycling can absorb a significant number of workforce, the jobs within the recycling industry are usually low-waged and with terrible working conditions. Not to mention the fact that, for such countries as China and India, industrial recycling causes a significant level of pollution which causes, even more, environmental damage.
4. Environmental impact – another controversy raised with industrial recycling is its impact on the environment. While some ecologists argue that we do need to consider implementing more detailed and structured recycling programs, some of them are not so optimistic about recycling chemical and e-waste, since the damage is more apparent than the actual benefits.
It seems like there is a place for industrial recycling in the modern world but only if it is done in a more organized way. Evidently, there are also a lot of controversies following the actual benefits of this industry. Even though we are facing a significant increase in industrial waste, both hazardous and non-hazardous, there seems to be no consensus on the strategy that needs to be implemented in this situation.
We cannot hide from the fact that the amount of industrial waste is growing with each new factory, and so it the amount of pollution caused either by primary industrial processing or by recycling.
The time to act is now, and if we’re going to keep our planet safe for some time, we should do some comparisons regarding the cost of industrial recycling vs. the cost of industrial production as well as its impact on the environment.