This paper will address the economic aspects of recycling. Specifically, this paper will show that, from an economic standpoint, recycling products is not the best solution to waste management problems. Also, the discussion which follows will address the economic issues of supply and demand and show how they relate to recent recycling efforts in America.
Many Americans are under the impression that one of the best ways to control waste is to recycle products. Consumers have been encouraged to recycle everything from newspapers to glass to aluminum cans. However, recent studies have shown that, from an economic standpoint, recycling is not a panacea to all the evils presented by waste management issues.
Thus, many businesses and communities in America are now rethinking the concept of recycling. Many experts now agree that, at least from an economic standpoint, recycling is not the best solution to waste management problems in America. In order to discuss the economic aspects of recycling, some of the critics of the current recycling trend have emphasized an analysis of recycling from certain basic economic aspects. Specifically, the concept of supply and demand, as they apply to recyclable products, needs to be considered. The concept of supply and demand is oft-quoted in various contexts and is often misunderstood. The economic concept of supply and demand is really comprised of two separate ideas which are usually used together to describe a situation encompassing buying and selling. As will be seen, supply and demand is important in the recycling business because it determines the willingness of businesses to engage in any number of recycling efforts.
Demand is usually defined as "the schedule of quantities of a good or service that people will buy at different prices" (Slavin, 1994, p. 81). Basically, this definition means that people do not buy very many goods at a high price but usually do buy more goods w...