Keeping the world tidy is expensive and the cost of clearing up people’s rubbish is seemingly spiraling out of control. Taking into account the usual arguments of reducing, reusing and recycling — how much does it cost to keep the world clean and how much could we save if we follow the three-R’s rule?
It goes without saying that some countries will find the transition of “using less and recycling more” hard work for both monetary and feasibility reasons, but with such negative impacts affecting the world around us and the cost of rubbish already booming into the billions – the three R’s may not be as hard to live by as many people think.
Reduce, Reuse and Recycle – The Benefits
- Fact no.1: The less we use the less there is to clean up!
- Fact no.2: The more we reuse the less we need to use and thus the less it costs to clean up!
- Fact no.3: The more we recycle ultimately the cheaper our rubbish will be!
Although some argue that recycling can cost more energy than it actually saves, this is not true on the large scale of things and in a few years after some inevitable trial and error, the world of recycling will not only save the environment but also our money.
The UK’s Billion Pound Epidemic
According to a Telegraph article the UK spends out more than one billion pounds a year on controlling and maintaining its rubbish. It blames the so-called ‘throwaway culture’ and since the 60s figures show that the country has endured a 500% litter increase – despite the efforts of millions of pounds worth of campaigning.
The UK is not associated with a litter problem as the country constantly forks out money to clear up but so much money is a national waste as unlike many problems that cost; this one can be dramatically reduced with little effort.
Think Before you Chew and Throw!
The Telegraph article also claims that the cost of purchasing equipment and people to clear up the dreaded sticky stuff in the UK alone stood at 100 million GBP last year; a shocking cost to pay out for when there are bins located on most street corners! The lazy and arrogant youth culture who take for granted that someone, somewhere will pick up their sticky gum from the playground, bus seat or whatever disgusting orifice they can find to stick it is leading to the country throwing away millions of pounds on rubbish – literally!
Following in the Footsteps of the Poor…
Unable to handle large amounts of rubbish and unable to afford to continually purchase products; third world countries have been practicing the three R’s in their own way for many years and more developed countries can take heed in how they reduce, reuse and recycle.
Poor areas in the world such as countries in Africa reuse products and materials every day as part of a usual routine. Cloth once used as clothing will be used to clean once it becomes unwearable, animal meat never goes unused from prime cuts through to ears and organs and tin cans once used for storing food will be used as drinking cups. Although Westernized countries may not need to go to such drastic lengths, it is important that we look at ways that we can do similar things such as only purchasing one television per household, avoiding plastic bags or passing down children’s clothes to the next generation rather than simply throwing them away.
There are always answers to problems and sometimes looking in the more unusual places will uncover the answers that we need.
Pig’s feet soup anyone?