Shipping Waste 10,000 Miles For Recycling Still Better Than Landfilling

uk recycling centre photo

photo: Lisa via flickr

Here’s a quick one via The Guardian which at first certainly counter-intuitive but upon examination isn’t and really shows how important recycling is.

A new report from the Waste Resources Action Programme says that shipping newspapers and plastic bottles the 10,000 miles from the UK to China actually prevents more carbon emissions that landfilling the waste in Britain and manufacturing new products.
Container Ships Still Pollute Empty or Full
Even after being shipped halfway around the world on container ships, for paper products the journey results in one-third the carbon emissions of landfilling, plastics save even more. The reason: Many of container ships which bring manufactured goods from China make the return journey empty, yet still produce the same amount of emissions.

Recyclable Materials More a Resource in China Than UK
So basically, the UK no longer has a manufacturing base large enough to make use of all that recyclable material so, even taking into account the emissions from shipping, it’s better from the standpoint of greenhouse gas emissions to send waste to China, where it can be made into new products rather than disposed of closer to home. Obviously if more recycled products could be produced closer to home, then the balance would likely shift away from offshoring.

While we’re at it, I point you to a recent report about why, if you take offshore manufacturing into account, Britain’s carbon emissions should be 49% higher than claimed.

via :: The Guardian
Carbon Emissions, Recycling
Carbon Emissions in UK 49% Higher Than Acknowledged: New Report Claims
Big Ben in Old Coke Can Reminds Us To Recycle?
21 Things You Didn’t Know You Could Recycle

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