Recycling bins (photo by Wikimedia Commons) Recycling bins (photo by Wikimedia Commons)

Understanding Recycling

Fri, Sep. 29, 2017
29 September 2017:When global warming became a hot topic of conversation, many environmentalists explored ways of reducing pollution.

Recycling is commonly known as reusing material. Although people might be unaware that they are actually recycling, it actually plays a big role in our lives beyond sustainable development. How many times have you turned your old shirt into a kitchen cloth?

Actions like these that later develop the habit of recycling.

Recycling affects more than just the environment. It plays a huge role in the economy. For businesses buying a near perfect recycled material is more cost friendly than buying refined material. But, if that is the case, why are recycled products more expensive? There are various aspects that contribute to this equation.

First, the process of sorting out the trash to “plastic,””glass,” and “metal/can” is extremely time consuming and costly. Second, the cleaning waste requires a lot of time and energy to return it into a reusable state, which, again, requires a lot of money. Therefore, although the costs of using recycled material decreases the price, the production of recycled material increases the price.

Recycling also allows us to generate jobs. People could work as collectors and save their waste and gather waste from their friends and neighbors to generate revenue. “The challenge in Egypt is not the stores that sell recycled products … the challenge is not even in the factories; the challenge is the collection, the supply chain,”CEO of RecycloBekia Mostafa Hemdan said. The supply chain is controlled by the informal sector, which makes it harder for recycling companies to find waste products, map the market, and practise business ethics in matters that concern taxes because the competition with the informal sector is very high.

With factoring operating locally, the costs of recycling have decreased because shipping costs are much lower and with the introduction of three different recycling bins, thesorting costs are significantly lower. The decrease in costs means that recycled products are not as expensive as they once were.

With the recent price hikes as a result of lifting subsidies from most products, the cost of shipping, raw material and production increased, which is reflected in the increase in prices of goods. However, the prices of recycled products would have been more expensive if they had not used recycled material. This means that on the macro level recycling is economical for both consumers and businesses.

The economic benefits of recycling are not instant. To be able to see results, recycling should not be a “one-man job.” It requires collective efforts from society constantly for a period of time. This is when we will be able to see real results.

Guide to recycled products

In Egypt, there are many places where people could buy recycled products. Most bookstores have books and notebooks made of recycled paper. Food outlets and coffee shops like Costa Coffee use recycled plastics and cardboard for their take-away plates and cups.

Gezazy is a store that recycles glass bottles to make lamps, candle holders, fish tanks, vases and other glass work. Originally focusing on glass waste, Gezazy has recently expanded their scope to wood recycling. Their wood work includes tables, chairs, doors and much more.

Like Gazazy, Reform Studio is a store that recycles plastic into handbags. They use a type of material called Plastex, reused plastic. “Reform aims to help revive the weaving industry — a craft that is on the brink of extinction, and consequently increase work opportunities across Egypt and empower local communities,” Reform Studio’s website says. The business recently expanded its product line to chairs, benches, stools and storage bags.
 
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