Recycling Practices Just Aren’t Cutting It (Why People Don’t Recycle)


by Plastic Place | Sustainable Baby Steps

Recycling sounds great in theory. Unfortunately, many individuals simply choose not to participate in recycling practices. Changes to current recycling programs are needed sooner rather than later if recycling is going to become a common practice instead of something that many individuals and companies avoid for as long as possible.

There are a variety of reasons why people choose not to recycle, including: 

• Laziness. Many people don’t want to bother with it. It’s far easier to drop glass, cans, and plastic into one big trash can than it is to sort out each individual item.

• It takes too long to recycle. Items that are marked for recycling have to be sorted. Many recycling facilities require people to remove labels and rinse out the items in preparation for recycling.

• It’s too confusing to recycle. What, exactly, can be recycled, anyway? How are things supposed to be sorted? Are juice bottles really that different from milk cartons? Many consumers have no idea how to make recycling easy for themselves and their families.

• They have no space for recycling. Who has room for two, three, or more garbage cans taking up valuable space? Many people simply don’t have room to sort their recyclable products in their homes.

• There’s no personal incentive. Many people choose to simply look the other way, insisting that they don’t have a personal interest in recycling. After all, their single contribution isn’t going to make that big a difference, right?

• Recycling is inconvenient. It requires more time, effort, and often, money. Many employers don’t recycle, making it inconvenient to recycle at work. It’s a difficult process that requires sustained effort from people who choose to do it, and many people prefer not to bother. 

• Some people have no desire to go green. There are many individuals who believe that the earth is here to serve them. They see no reason to engage in the “current trend” of going green, whether it’s through investing in reusable materials or taking time to recycle. 

The importance of practicing the four R’s of sustainability is only becoming more important. The earth–and future generations–benefit immeasurably from recycling practices that are utilized by people today. In order to improve the odds of people recycling, several practices should be put into effect.

After finding what the problem was, that largely being plastic use, I looked into a solution for that problem. This was recycling. This article is provided as a piggy back to that, explaining why recycling “just is cutting it”. It provides many explanations as to why many people do not recycle while also providing other issues with recycling.