A recent report by the UK government reiterates the fact that recycling is the most effective way of disposing off waste.
The UK government’s waste and packaging agency, Wrap, analysed seven different materials: paper and cardboard, plastics, biopolymers, food, garden cuttings, wood and textiles. The experts then looked at the evidence for seven methods of disposal, including recycling, composting, incineration and landfill, measured by four different criteria: energy use, water use, other resource use and greenhouse gas emissions. In more than four out of five cases, recycling was the clear winner.
However, each material has to be handled differently. Recycling for polymers; reuse, recycling and then energy recovery by incineration for textiles; anaerobic digestion and then composting or incineration with energy recovery for food and garden waste; recycling for plastics and wood and recycling for high quality paper and incineration for low quality paper.