A ‘green’ way forward The environment has been a source of debate for years; the success of the lobbyists urging man to change his ways has been variable. There are still huge pressure groups lobbying on behalf of the energy industry. The rapid expansion of some developing countries has often had a negative effect on global warming while the automobile industry has a patchy record. There is better news in recycling efforts and the paper industry is a good example. There are companies involved in commercial confidential shredding for example that provide the end product to mills for new paper production. There is demand for most card and paper for recycling and many everyday products use recycled items, examples being:
Insulation and animal bedding
Everything that can be made without chopping down another tree and the less demand for landfill the better; and the less methane produced as a result.
Different recycling activities
Scrap metal has always been a profitable but labour intensive business. Many metals are recovered from manufactured products especially those made of steel; there is even gold within discs that can be retrieved! There has been a commitment from many nations to recycle as much as possible and targets are regularly set for future years but they have not always been met. Reducing waste as mentioned above reduces the demand for landfill. Companies regularly look to upgrade their hardware and equipment. These things may still be useful elsewhere. Alternatively they may have a value for their components or for the retrieval of metals from which they were manufactured.
Computer recycling is a good example of an important activity because many are regarded as obsolete long before their useful life is over. That is often because there is a more advanced version and many people want to be completely up to date. The numbers of old computers that become ‘waste’ long before their time is up means that a recycling service is essential. If computers are simply discarded they can be regarded as hazardous waste because of the potential for toxins and carcinogens. The lead in monitors can pollute water courses if land filled for example. Lead, copper, aluminium and even gold can be retrieved from old computers. The rising cost of metals means that recycling makes good economic and environmental sense. Some laptops that are no longer required because a newer model has been released find their way on to the second hand market; some are exported to what can be described as the ‘Third World ‘ market where there is a much lower percentage of people owning computers. Whatever the final destination of an unwanted manufactured product it should be recycled where possible, and certainly rendered as harmless as possible to the environment. Companies that recycle do so for a reason and certainly profit has to be a factor but they provide a service that everyone should applaud and support.