By: epSos .de - CC BY 2.0
By: epSos .deCC BY 2.0
I seem to have run into an obstacle in my marriage, regarding recycling. My husband seems to be under the impression that it takes more energy to recycle a bottle, or can, or cardboard box, than it does to simply toss it in the garbage — and therefore, it’s not worth recycling, because it’s creating more pollution than just tossing it.

So, I have some questions:

  • Does it really take that much energy to recycle a bottle? Is it still better than just tossing it in the trash?
  • What is the truth about recycling and the impact on the environment?
  • And if, in the end, it really is better to recycle than to not, how do I convince my husband to start getting into the habit of recycling, instead of garbaging?


Seems like while there is some debate, recyling is ultimately worth it. That said, there’s no denying that REDUCING and REUSING are always going to be way more efficient than recycling. Could you frame your discussions with your husband to focus on the value of those?

Homies, what are your thoughts? Is recycling worth it? If so, how can Amy convince her husband to get on board?

Comments on Is recycling still worth it?

  1. I suggest everyone concerned with recycling and the benefits from it watch Penn & Teller’s B.S. episode devoted to recycling. The points they prove in that episode left me under the impression that it’s not good for the environment @ all, it costs 3 times more to recycle than dump it, we were falsely led by the government(imagine that), and in fact most landfills use the methane gas to provide electricity to homes.

    • Just a quick point, Penn and Teller’s BS often uses the same sensationalizing tactics that they accuse others of using, and from time to time, they are wrong. While it’s probably more expensive to recycle some things than others (probably plastic), there is also the point that eventually, we’ll run out of raw resources in the first place, and methane gas won’t really occur in a dump filled with all plastic bits too. As for the government lying… Well, it’s Penn and Teller, somewhere in there, they always accuse someone of lying.

  2. Some refuse companies do sort the trash, some go to incinerators that create power. Find out what your company does with the trash. As mentioned above, there’s freecycle and second hand shops – even if you just donate to the shops. Find out from 4-H, boy scouts, girl scouts, churches, art galleries, if any of those are looking for items you can set aside and have a contact number to pick up. Maybe make it a street project. Compost – what can you compost? If you don’t have a use for compost but can do it, some people will buy the compost from you, but keep a compost diary for the types of things you put in it. In the end the best advice is to reduce. I will pay a few cents more for something because the packaging is better on the environment. I wrote many letters complaining to the makers of Capri Sun about the heavy cardboard they used and guess what, now it’s in a thinner box. I hate the trash from those things but reusable containers never came home with the kids.

  3. Tons of good suggestions, here’s mine (I haven’t read all the comments):
    beside finding the stuff in the first place, there’s also another point: when throw stuff “away”, where is “away”? Maybe that’s why European countries are so much advanced then we are in North America when it comes to efficient recycling. They just don’t have as much space, and the effect of huge landfills is right in their literal backyard. When you garbage something, it will end up somewhere. It may magically disappear from our homes, but not from our planet. And depending on where you live, it will idle away and contaminate the ground or the waters, or be incinerated and contribute soot to the atmosphere, which in turn melts glaciers and ice caps…
    Also, if you implement an easy sorting system in your home, it could make things easier for your SO to adhere. If it’s a matter of chucking things in a blue bag or in a green bag that are in exactly the same location under the sink, with your community-published recycling guidelines taped on the inside of the cabinet, it would be hard to pretend that recycling is hard work. My husband is still indifferent to recycling, pollution and stuff, but he knows I care and if it doesn’t give him more hassle, he’ll gladly do it.

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