NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

British and Swedish Environmentalists Trash Recycling Movement

March 4, 2003

It is better to incinerate cardboard, plastics and garbage than to recycle them, which is a waste of time and money, according to environmental experts in Sweden and England. They advocate the construction of more incinerators to dispose of waste.

Swedish environmentalists claim that incineration "is best for the environment, the economy and the management of natural resources."

  • That is because costs more to turn finished products into reusable materials than to use raw materials; for example, recycled bottles cost glass companies twice as much as making glass from raw materials, and recycling plastics is even more uneconomical, they said.
  • Technological improvements have made incineration cleaner, and since plastics are made from oil they are easily utilized to generate electricity.
  • In addition, incineration will save valuable space in landfills.

British authorities have drawn up plans to build as many as 50 incinerators in an attempt to eliminate a growing mountain of waste and cut the amount of garbage going to landfills.

Source: David Harrison (London Daily Telegraph), "Time to Throw Out 'Myth' of Recycling," Washington Times, March 4, 2003.


Browse more articles on Environment Issues