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Can recycling and material reuse contribute to greener production?

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2 Author(s)
Booi H Kam ; School of Management, College of Business, RMIT University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia ; Ling Chen

Much has been published about the positive aspects of recycling. The use of reclaimed materials as input to manufacturing, however, could generate as much environmentally damaging effects than it brings. This paper argues that recycling and material reuse, as part of the green production process, need to be appropriately examined in terms of their benefits and issues. Drawing from extant literature on issues of recycling, we show that the current state of practice in recycling could not be considered as truly contributing to a green production process. Much remains to be done. Among them, issues to be addressed include technologies for recycling, life-cycle energy consumption of products manufactured from recycled wastes, "optimal" quota for different types of recyclables, legislations to regulate recycling practices world-wide, and consumer education about the benefits of products made from recycled wastes. We stress that enthusiasm to promote use of recyclables or reclaimed wastes to green production should not sown further seeds to creating more environmental problems for tomorrow.

Published in:

Responsive Manufacturing - Green Manufacturing (ICRM 2010), 5th International Conference on

Date of Conference:

11-13 Jan. 2010