Advantages and disadvantages
Ants, being social insects, have been able to reuse rail tracks abandoned by humans for their own transportation. (Kadina, South Australia)
Reuse has certain potential advantages which can be summarized:
* Energy and raw materials savings as replacing many single use products with one reusable one reduces the number that need to be manufactured.
* Reduced disposal needs and costs.
* Refurbishment can bring sophisticated, sustainable, well paid jobs to underdeveloped economies.
* Cost savings for business and consumers as a reusable product is often cheaper than the many single use products it replaces.
* Some older items were better handcrafted and appreciate in value.
Disadvantages are also apparent:
* Reuse often requires cleaning or transport, which have environmental costs.
* Some items, such as Freon appliances or infant auto seats, could be hazardous or less energy efficient as they continue to be used.
* Reusable products need to be more durable than single use products, and hence require more material per item. This is particularly significant if only a small proportion of the reusable products are in fact reused.
* Sorting and preparing items for reuse takes time, wh/ich is inconvenient for consumers and costs money for businesses.
Main article: Plastic recycling
Plastic recycling is the process of recovering scrap or waste plastics and reprocessing the material into useful products. Compared to glass or metallic materials, plastic poses unique challenges. Because of the massive number of types of plastic, they each carry a resin identification code, and must be sorted before they can be recycled. This can be costly; while metals can be sorted using electromagnets, no such 'easy sorting' capability exists for plastics. In addition to this, while labels do not need to be removed from bottles for recycling, lids are often made from a different kind of non-recyclable...