Film 2

“Is Recycling Always the Best Option?”
Sponsored by Arup.

Some recycling strategies, although well intentioned can use a significant amount of energy or themselves produce new wastes or types of pollution. It is therefore important to not always assume that recycling is the best option. A recent study reported that some recycling routes offer negligible or negative benefits in terms of CO2. This demonstrates the importance of policy makers looking at the bigger picture rather than striving for recycling targets.

A life cycle assessment (LCA) can compare the different energy inputs of recycling methods. It is used as a decision support tool that assists organisations to understand the environmental and resource implications of products or services, and makes a comparison between alternative options. Arup has experience of using LCA on projects ranging in size from the design and planning of Dongtan Eco-City, near Shanghai, to the evaluation of the carbon implications of developments in the UK.

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