(25 July, 1996 — Washington) The Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) today lauded statements made in support of recycling by the paper, steel, glass and plastics industries. At a press conference convened in Washington, DC by the National Recycling Coalition, trade association representatives from these industries confirmed that recycling reduces environmental impacts and also creates jobs and competitive manufacturing industries. The industry press conference was called in response to an article entitled Recycling is Garbage, which ran in the The New York Times Sunday Magazine on June 30. EDF today issued its own response to the Times Magazine article — a detailed rebuttal entitled Anti-Recycling Myths.
While EDF strongly supports a vigorous appraisal of the environmental and economic consequences of recycling, “Recycling is Garbage” was anything but a fact-based assessment. The Times Magazine did not quote from any sources who work in recycling businesses or public agencies, but instead relied on the claims of a small group of anti-recycling think tanks and consultants who oppose recycling on ideological grounds. EDF’s 18-page commentary on the Times Magazine article counters the claims made in the Times Magazine, and documents the environmental and economic benefits of recycling. Copies of Anti-Recycling Myths can be obtained by calling EDF’s Washington office; the report is also posted on EDF’s site on the World Wide Web at www.edf.org.
“It is time to stop comparing recycling to garbage collection as if they provided exactly the same benefits to society,” said John Ruston, EDF economic analyst. Recycling protects the environment while creating jobs and competitive manufacturing industries. The industry trade associations who endorsed recycling today represent companies that manufacture more than $206-billion of primary industrial materials annually and are a vital part of the United States economy. Their support of recycling as an industrial process makes its clear that recycling has benefits that extend far beyond solid waste management.
“The show of unity today by all of the major material industries to deliver a pro-recycling message demonstrates just how off-base the views expressed in the Times Magazine article are,” said EDF senior scientist Dr. Richard Denison. Every major study that has examined recycling in comparison to one-way systems for production, use and disposal of virgin products and packaging has documented recycling’s major environmental benefits. We join with all of the major industry groups in saying: ‘It’s time to tell the truth about the wisdom of recycling.’”