The Instigator
Pennington
Pro (for)
Losing
4 Points
The Contender
DanT
Con (against)
Winning
12 Points

ENVIRO DEBATE TOURNEY: Recycling helps the enviroment!

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 3 votes the winner is...
DanT
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 4/22/2013 Category: Health
Updated: 3 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 5,064 times Debate No: 32749
Debate Rounds (4)
Comments (4)
Votes (3)

 

Pennington

Pro

Hello! I would like to thank Subutai for hosting this tournament. I would like to greet my opponent DanT, hello sir. We will both attempt to entertain you with a duscussion about the enviroment. Our resolution is:

RESOLUTION: Recycling helps the enviroment!


In this debate I will be supporting that recycling does help the enviroment. DanT will attempt to show that recycling does not help the enviroment.


DEFINITIONS:


Recycling-


return (material) to a previous stage; to use again. http://oxforddictionaries.com...


Enviroment- the surroundings or conditions in which a person, animal, or plant lives or operates. http://oxforddictionaries.com...

Helps- improve (a situation or problem); be of benefit to.


http://oxforddictionaries.com...


RULES:


1) No semantics or trolling.


2) Be respecful.


3) No forfeited rounds.


4) All sources must be in debate or alternate source.


5) Winner will be who makes the best argument.


6) BOP is equally shared.


ROUNDS:


1) Acceptance and introductions


2) Opening arguments(no rebuttals by Con)


3) Remaining arguments and rebuttals


4) Closing rebuttals(no new arguments)


I am looking forward in debating DanT and I now send it to Con for acceptance. *Please make comments in comments section, Con, if you have issues.


DanT

Con

I accept the debate.
Debate Round No. 1
Pennington

Pro


Hello readers and my opponent DanT, welcome. What I will attempt to do here is not a act, it is my job and I get paid to recycle. Recycling is so important, just look at the recycled arguments here on DDO. There is loads of rubbish here on DDO, if some didn't recycle arguments then they would be poorer debaters. This discussion will be about if recycling helps our environment.


WHAT IS RECYCLING FOR


Recycling as defined is a process that changes materials into new materials to prevent the waste of useful materials. I mean I find it pleasant to save things I use and find new uses for them so my monies worth will last longer. By recycling the able materials, causes more produce for the same material. This reduces the use of fresh materials, reduces energy use, reduces air pollution and water pollution, and lowers greenhouse emissions.[1] This is important because people like myself want to use the freshest materials. These recyclable materials include glass, paper, plastic, textiles, metal, and electronics. These materials are recycled at a collection center were they are sorted, cleaned, reprocessed and redistributed for use. These centers are great places for employment as well because you could pick-up a date and recycle them.


HELP FROM RECYCLING


For us to manufacture new products from fresh material means more energy to produce then recycled materials. Recycling reduces transportation of fresh materials and gives less need for finding new materials.[2] The effort needed to protect and clean the environment for the fresh material would also become less. Recycling reduces pollution and reserves the environment. If that did not happen then I would be upset because I would have to use less. The major fossil fuels which are used in manufacturing like gasoline, coal, and diesel all emit harmful greenhouse gases and makes people sick. Any reduction in the consumption of these fuels by recycling results in the reduction of greenhouse gases emitted and helps peoples health.


When we recycle, recyclable materials getting sent to landfill sites reduce, this is pleasant. In the UK there are over 1,500 landfill sites and these sites produced a quarter of the methane gas there, one of the reasons I have never went there.[3] The recycling and reuse industry consists of hundreds of thousands of establishments that employ millions of people, I am one of them. In the US, recycling generates an annual payroll of nearly $37 billion, and gross over $236 billion in annual revenues. My bank account is healthily because of it and so can yours. This represents a significant force in the US economy and makes a vital contribution to job creation and economic development.[4] Recycling materials has been proved to be beneficial to the economy. It is said that dumping 10,000 tons of waste in a landfill creates six jobs, while recycling 10,000 tons of waste can create over 36 jobs.[5]


A study conducted by the Technical University of Denmark, found that in 83 percent of cases, recycling is the most efficient method to dispose of household waste.[6] Another benefit of recycling is money able to be made by the individual citizen, like me. There are many uses for recycled material for the individual. Recycling makes things like compost, which is a lot cheaper than buying compost, I would know. Not only do we make money from recycling but we save money as well.[7] Lastly, recycling gives us hope for the future. By recycling we create a better world and environment for our future generations.


WITHOUT RECYCLING


Without resources being used for recycling then things like phosphorus will be depleted within the next 50 to 100 years.[8] The United States Environmental Protection Agency has concluded that recycling reduces carbon emissions, saves materials, and saves cost.[9] If the world did not care about recycling then we’d be in a much worse position.


The idea to recycle our materials is like us putting money in the bank for the future. The world will become a terrible place to live in the future if we do not recycle. Sea life and wildlife have been effected by our trash. The Pacific Garbage Patch[10] as its known was twice the size of Texas. This a large floating trash island that was gaining mass and depth. There has been trash bridges were Asia and America meet. It was affecting life in new ways – by poisoning them. It was effecting mankind's fishing, beaches, abilities to swim, and took away areas to live. The way they solved this problem was by recycling.


COST CRITICS


Most critics of recycling use 'the cost' argument and say that it makes the problem worse. Proponents of this claim have been disputed by those of recycling but the arguments still remain. The problem is not cost but not being prepared for recycling and being uneducated about it.


"Some early curb side recycling programs…waste resources due to bureaucratic overhead and duplicate trash pickups (for garbage and then again for recyclables). But the situation has improved as cities have gained experience." [11]


As we have seen in New York City they declared that implementing recycling programs would be "a drain on the city," New York City leaders realized that an efficient recycling system could save the city over $20 million.[12]


CONCLUSION


Concluded, recycling offers endless opportunities. The only problem is that people are uneducated about recycling and current procedures do not reflect recycle thinking. We must educate people and fund recycling so they can be able to be good recyclers. People have to care about the environment for this to succeed and must learn what a good recycler is and what a bad recycler is. For example:


A Good Recycler will carefully separate recyclables, cans, paper, and glass, before filling recycle bins. But a Bad Recycler will just give the recycle bins to the kids to use and ignore recyclables. Attitudes are the problem not money or resources. When will we see the problem? When people that live in igloos are homeless because the ice melted? We can not just sit back and ignore it, its personnel. That's just the problem with things like global warming, no privacy!


I Thank you and I send it back to Con!


RESOURCES


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org...


[2]



http://www.benefits-of-recycling.com...


[3]



http://www.recyclenow.com...


[4]



http://www.epa.gov...


[5]



http://www.all-recycling-facts.com...


[6]



http://www.recycling-revolution.com...


[7]



http://greenliving.lovetoknow.com...


[8]



http://www.scientificamerican.com...


[9]



http://co.darke.oh.us...


[10]



http://www.amillionwaystogogreen.com...


[11]



http://environment.about.com...


[12]



http://co.darke.oh.us...



DanT

Con


As per the rules I will wait to rebut Con’s arguments.


It is a myth that recycling saves the environment. Recycling is a manufacturing process, and the benefits of recycling are based on myths.


Landfill Space


In the 1980’s the EPA launched propaganda to create the myth that we are running out of place to put our trash; they pointed to a study which said the number of landfills in the US were falling. In actuality the capacity of landfills were growing, despite there being less landfill sites. If we stopped increasing the capacity of our landfills, the current capacity would last another 2 decades. As we become more technologically advanced, landfills not only become safer, but they can store more trash. (1)


Raw Materials


One reason many people recycle, is to save our planet’s raw materials; such as trees. The reason price of raw materials are dropping is because the supply of raw materials are increasing. Each year the US gains 7 million acres of new forest, on average. Recycling paper does not save the forests, because 87% of our paper comes from paper farms, where trees are grown specifically for paper production. As the demand for wood and paper increases, more trees are grown; this is because trees are a renewable resource. By reducing the demand for new trees, you prevent the growth and/or regrowth of new forests.



Non-renewable resources are more available than they were in the past, because we have become more efficient in our use of these resources. We now require less steel to build bridges and skyscrapers, and we have started shifting towards renewable alternatives in our other uses. One example of such alternatives would be the use of optical fibers, created from sand, which are more technologically efficient than the old copper wires. (1)


The Recycling Process


The recycling process is a manufacturing process. After transporting, shorting, cleaning, remanufacturing the recyclable material; the process of recycling is often more harmful than the original production process. A study by the EPA has found that recycling paper produces more toxic material than its original production. (1) Due to the complex chemistry of plastic, it is also more harmful to recycle plastic than to produce new plastic material. The recycling of electronics and nonrenewable resources has been shown to cause environmental hazards, and poses a danger to human health. The recycling of these products can create elevated levels of lead, zinc, and other nonrenewable materials; this poses a threat to human life, as well as the environment. (2) Producing new products is actually more environmentally friendly than recycling old products. (1)



Recap


Recycling is a manufacturing process, which causes more harm to the environment, than to produce new products. The recycling of nonrenewable resources poses health risks, and creates environmental hazards. Recycling does not preserve natural resources; recycling reduces the supply of natural resources. We are not running out of landfill space, but rather we are increasing the safety and efficiency of landfills and their capacity to store trash.




  1. http://news.heartland.org...

  2. http://www.nytimes.com...

Debate Round No. 2
Pennington

Pro

I would like to thank Con for his opening argument.

Con offered us an argument about recycling being just a manufacturing process and its benefits are based on myths. I have shown in my opening argument the many benefits of recycling and I will add a few more in this round but I will mainly focus on my opponents argument.

CONS SOURCES

We should start with my opponents sources. He sourced two articles, one from the Nytimes.com and the other from Heartland Institute. In the first source, Heartland, we find they have lost major support from all over the world because of leaked documents.

The documents that were leaked from Heartland give money flows, showing exact amounts being paid to Heartland employees, and more importantly, the scientists involved.[1] The scientist linked in these documents have been labeled as conspiracy theorists.[2] Heartland has been linked in plans to dupe children and ruin their future by campaigning to discredit mainstream climate science in the classroom.[3] As we can see, my opponents first source is not creditable.

Let's move on to his second source, the Nytimes article. Now, the Nytimes is a media outlet and post many articles it could or could not agree with. So, I will show a article from the same site that says recycling helps.[4] In the article called,

"Recycling Helps, but It is Not All You Can Do for the Environment", Samantha MacBride said, "Recycling is good civic behavior." The article my opponent used only discusses our society not being prepared for recycling.

Con then post two Youtube videos that I will address. In the first video right off the bat the speaker says that, "not all recycling is good." This comment shows that there is good recycling. The video goes on about telling us misconceptions in recycling but did not offer us the idea that recycling itself is does not help the environment. On the contrary it gives us a hint that recycling does offer help but we are not using it properly.

The second video offers us from the jump, if someone recycles it is beneficial to the person and the public. That if recycling makes someone feel good then that is helpful. This whole video like the first one deals with lies about recycling. I admit that there is fiction about recycling but that does not change that it is helpful, it just means it does not do everything it claims to do. All of Cons sources fail to show that recycling is not helpful to the environment.

CONS ARGUMENT

Landfill Space

In this argument my opponent simply shows us misconceptions of recycling but this does not show us that recycling does not help the environment. He then tells us that landfills can be a continued solution but that is incorrect. In the country of Wales there is no more room for landfills, it simply is not a option.[5] They must recycle and that leaves us to look for more improvement then just landfills.

In fact the entire world will soon have to resort to some kind of recycling. There are many dangers of landfills such as:

Rotting food in the landfill releases methane, a green house gas which contributes to global warming.

"Methane traps 23 times as much heat in the atmosphere as the same amount of Carbon Dioxide (CO2) and the release of methane from landfills accounts for 34 percent of all methane emissions in the U.S., according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture, just over a quarter of the food in the U.S.—about 25.9 million tons—gets thrown away and taken to the landfill every year and the U.S. spends more than $1 billion every year just to dispose of all its food waste."[6]

Raw Materials

My opponent offers us here the same argument from the videos which is simply misconceptions and not focusing on, if recycling helps the environment. Lying is not helpful in most circumstances and is not good for recycling advocates to do for recycling. But, this does not change the evidence that recycling does offer helpful measures for our environment. So, naturally if we reuse materials, we can save raw materials.

The Recycling Process

This argument may be true in some circumstances but not in all. By this argument though we may need to close down every industry that could cause harm in the production process. Most recycling manufactures use machinery and containment in the process which creates more safety for the employees and communities.[7]

CONCLUSION

My opponent has not shown that recycling causes more harm than it helps in our environment. My opponent shows us that there are risks in recycling and there are misconceptions but this ignores the help that recycling gives even if small. My opponent has not shown why saving natural resources for the future is a bad thing. Cons landfill contention fails because anyone can see how making less trash in the earth is always beneficial.

SOURCES

[1]

http://deepclimate.org...

[2]

http://thinkprogress.org...

[3]

http://thinkprogress.org...

[4]

http://www.nytimes.com...

[5]

http://www.wasteawarenesswales.org.uk...

[6]

http://ecowatch.com...

[7]

http://www.toxco.com...

DanT

Con

Sources

Instead of addressing my arguments, Pro has decided to attack my sources.


Heartland

Pro’s issues with Heartland are with studies conducted by Heartland. The article I cited was in the news section. Heartland was just reporting on research conducted by Daniel K. Benjamin, and Heartland’s credibility in no way effects Benjamin’s reputation. (1)

Daniel K. Benjamin is a senior associate of the Property and Environment Research Center, in Bozeman, Montana, and a professor of economics at Clemson University. Benjamin is currently involved in research regarding the perception of environmental risk and whether or not those perceptions are bias. (2)

NYTimes

Pro attempted to mitigate my NYTimes article by citing another NYTimes article by a different author. My article was written by Henry Fountain, and Pro’s article was written by Alina Tugend.

Alina Tugend has been NYTime’s biweekly “ShortCuts” columnist since 2005. (3) Henry Foundtain has been a science writer for the NYTimes since 1995. (4) My article has a more reliable writer, with greater ties to the NYTimes. Pro’s author does not even have a bio on the NYTimes website.

Video 1

Pro attempts to mitigate from the facts presented in the video by selecting a single quote from the opening. He claims that the quote “not all recycling is good” is an indicator that recycling can be good. Pro completely ignored the fact that most recycling is bad; chemotherapy can be used for good, but that does not mean everyone should be subject to radiation. The resolution is “recycling helps the environment”, as the affirmative Pro has the BOP. The few areas where recycling does not do more harm than good, does not necessarily improve the environment. Simply showing that some recycling is not harmful is not the same as showing recycling is beneficial.

Video 2

Pro attempts to mitigate from the facts presented in the video by pointing out that the video mentions that recycling does have benefits. Pro ignored the fact that the benefits stated were not environmental, but rather psychological and economical. This debate is not over whether recycling has benefits in general, but rather if recycling benefits the environment; which it clearly does not.

Rebuttals

Landfill Space

Pro claims that in wales there is no more room for waste. Wales has the capacity to store another decade of waste in their landfills. The best alternative for the landfills in wales is not recycling, but rather to burn the trash. By burning the trash in a controlled facility, they can turn the trash into energy. This is a much better alternative than recycling as it is less harmful to the environment, and it creates an alternative energy source. (5)

In 2007, at the Battle of Ideas conference in London, Thomas Deichman made the case that recycling is a waste of time and energy. According to Deichman, studies have confirmed that the best means of dealing with waste is to burn the waste. Deichman has also noted that the debate about waste management has become politicized, where politicians, rather than engineers, are finding solutions for waste management.

It is a false dichotomy to assume that we either have to use landfills, or recycle. The burning of trash, in a controlled environment, with high tech filters, is the most efficient way of disposing of garbage. This is much different from recycling, which is when you remanufacture a material, so it can be used again. The burning of waste is a clean and safe form of energy, which could help Wales secure future energy supplies. (5)

Raw Materials

Pro did not address my arguments on raw materials; he simply dismissed them as lies and misconceptions. He did not make any arguments for why they are misconceptions or lies, nor did he cite a source for this claim.

The Recycling Process

Pro ceded that the recycling process can be harmful to the environment. Pro attempts to refute the argument by reduction ad absurdum; Pro claims that this argument would call for shutting down every industry that causes environmental problems. First off, I did not say we should shut down industries simply because they cause environmental problems; I said we should shut down an industry whose purpose is to help the environment, but is actually causing more harm than good.

Without Recycling

Pro claims that, without recycling wildlife would be effected; Pro cites the Pacific Garbage Patch. Recycling does not prevent the growth of the Pacific Garbage Patch, as the pacific garbage patch is caused by littering, not by landfills. The article Pro cites uses a false dichotomy between recycling and littering. His article claims that if recycling stops, it encourages polluters to dump their trash into the ocean. This statement could not be further from the truth. There is a huge difference between not recycling garbage and polluting; you could recycle and still pollute, and you could not recycle without polluting.

Economy

The brunt of Pro’s argument is economic, which is not the point of this debate. I will not get into the economics of recycling, as it has nothing to do with the resolution.

Landfill Pollution vs Recycling Pollution

As I stated in the dropped arguments of my previous round, recycling pollutes more than landfills. As I have pointed out in my above argument, burning the trash in a controlled environment, is the best bet to reduce pollution; controlled burns can also produce energy. Methane gas can be useful, and the methane gas produced by the discarded food can be collected.

Recycling fuel

You cannot recycle fuel. Pro makes the claim that we should recycle our fossil fuels; he does not provide a source for this claim, because it is impossible to do. Once you use fossil fuels, the energy has been transferred. You cannot reuse fossil fuels, because the energy was already expelled. Energy cannot be created nor destroyed; fossil fuels do not create energy, they transfer energy.

Dropped arguments

Pro has dropped all of my arguments except for the landfill space. Pro chose to dismiss my arguments rather than address them. Since he dropped the arguments, they are assumed true.

Recap

The BOP rests with Pro, as he is the one making the claim. Pro has yet to meet the BOP, and the brunt of his argument has been economic factors rather than environmental. So far I have proven that Recycling is harmful to the environment. Recycling is more harmful than alternatives. Pro’s main argument is based on the false dichotomy of recycling vs pollution. Recycling can be pollution, and you can use alternative waste management techniques without polluting.

1.) http://news.heartland.org...

2.) http://perc.org...

3.) http://www.huffingtonpost.com...

4.)http://topics.nytimes.com...

5.) http://www.wasteawarenesswales.org.uk...

Debate Round No. 3
Pennington

Pro

Thank you DanT for your last round. Thanks for the debate, GL.

Sources

Con has conceded Heartland has a bad reputation. The articles author, Professor Benjamin, with PERC, give us a transparent problem. They claim landfills are not a problem but there is traveling cost, some have capacity problems, and they are expensive themselves.[1][2] Modern landfills are not allowed to accept certain materials and are built for disposal of specific types of material. It cost more to make landfills larger for capacity, The Delaware Solid Waste Authority is spending eighty-six million dollars on improvements to raise Cherry Island landfill by 23 feet.[3]

I offered a NYTimes article supporting recycling. The article said recycling is productive for our environment but it is not all we must do. It also says that we are using recycling in a improper way. We can take the videos for what they are. I will mention that the videos only show improper uses or procedures in recycling and that is always a way to fail. This does not show that the concept of recycling does not offer help for the environment.[4]

Landfills

Con starts by saying burning would a be better alternative then recycling. In some instances this would be correct but in some it would not. I am not saying that recycling is the best way every single time as my opponent claims. There can be numerous ways to dispose of materials. Like in Wales, they can burn some but they must also have recycling or another alternative for materials that can not be burnt. Con continues on with a conference held in London but this article says the same thing I am. That recycling is used by advocates who look to profit from it rather than use it for its best use. This again does not show that recycling itself is not sound for the environment if used properly. As so, landfills also have their uses in certain circumstances.

Con says landfills are cheaper then recycling but according to 'Wired's report of recycling' supporting the claim made by former US EPA of solid waste. He says, "recycling cost $50-$100 a ton and trash disposal cost $70-$200 a ton."[5]

Raw Material

I think Con misunderstood what I was saying last round. I did not mean that his argument were lies, just misconceptions. I meant both recycling and their opposition commit lies against one another for their own gain. Con's argument is not that off base because I think recycling is over used and over hyped but that does not mean it is unhelpful for the environment.

This contention shows that recycling is beneficial because by recycling we save raw materials for the future. This helps no matter if we are running low on materials or not. If we stop recycling and in the future we run low on materials, we then will be stuck by then can not turn to recycling. We must look to save and reuse materials as much as possible to reserve our raw materials.

Con suggest that it is always best for us to use raw material but that is just not the case. Recycling aluminum requires 95% less energy, and produces 95% fewer greenhouse gas emissions (GHG), than manufacturing primary aluminum.[5] Recycling helps conserve important raw materials and protects our natural habitats for the future.

The Recycling Process

I did not say we should start shutting down every plant that causes harm but that was the impression I was left with by my opponent's argument. He claimed because recycling does harm even though by human aid, we should stop it. This is false, recycling offers to help us in theory and practice and in many actual instances as shown. It is human practice of recycling that is failing.

My opponent falsely claims that recycling is simply a industry, it is more than a industry. Recycling is a valid concept and has been shown time and time again to work for us. The industry that uses the recycling concept for gain is not the concept of recycling itself. My opponent attempts to place blame by human error on a valid concept.

Without Recycling

Con says recycling did not help prevent the Pacific garbage patch but it played a large role in it. I never claimed it was not caused by littering nor did I claim it was caused by landfills. I already mentioned burning is not always a option, landfills don't accept some materials, burying trash causes disease and pollutions, and this introduces recycling as a use among other options. What stops a citizen(s) from throwing materials in the ocean if they are not close to landfills or do not have a recycling center close by? They could anyway but having centers as these close by prevents this type of thing.

Burning is not always safe as gases released by trash and wood can cause breathing irritation. Some of these gases are called aldehydes, which cause strong irritation when they contact the eyes, nose, and throat. Aldehyde and other organic gases are the reason why smoke is irritating to the eyes.[6]

Economy

My opponent ignores this contention but it plays a major role in the environment. I should remind readers and Con our definition of environment. I think the economy most certainly plays a role in our environments. If one part of the environment is changed then parts of the economy are affected. The economy is part of the environment not vice verse. As such, the economy is subject to basic environmental limits.[7]As I have shown, people can profit off recycling and this effects the environment as well as the economy. Environment is a wide term and can include our place of work, home, and daily places we go.

Recycling fuel

Con claims I have suggested that we can recycle fossil fuels but I have re-read my arguments and never saw where I said this. The only mention of gases or fuels I saw by myself was in the danger of them from landfills.

Conclusion

Let us all remember that this debate is over whether or not recycling is helpful at all. This debate is not about recycling in the past, present, or future. This debate is about recycling as a theory or concept and by those terms it fulfills the BOP. My opponent has shown us that recycling does get used to much and is used improperly but that is part of my case. Recycling as a concept is not at fault for human error, misuse, or too much use.

Do we blame the child for murder if the parent in control taught them to kill? No, we can see problems with a child that would still do such a thing but the blame lands with the one using the child. As so, recycling is not to blame for its use by humans and the problems humans cause because of it. The earth recycles material itself and this shows recycling as helpful for the environment because the earth uses it properly.

I thank Con again and I would ask a vote for Pro.

Resolution Affirmed

SOURCES:

[1]

http://www.acgov.org...

[2]

http://www.slate.com...

[3]

http://www.tommywonk.com...

[4]

http://www.griffex.com...

[5]

http://ecowomen.net...

[6]

http://www.novelis.com...

[7]

http://www.compassionatespirit.com...

[8]

http://www.dhs.wisconsin.gov...

DanT

Con

Sources

Heartland

Once again, Heartland was the middleman for my source. My source was Professor Benjamin; the Heartland article just summarized his findings.

Modern Landfills

Pro makes an argument against modern landfills, claiming that they do not accept certain items. Pro forgets to mention that those items are not recyclable. Pro has made several cases in favor of recycling, with examples of non-recyclable products; such as food, and fossil fuels. The argument that landfills don’t accept certain items could be turned against Pro, as there are even more items that recycling centers won’t accept.

Cost

Pro brings up the cost of landfills. Once again, this debate is not about economics or finances; it’s about the impact on the environment. Proving recycling cost more or vice versa does not prove or disprove the resolution. Pro has wasted allot of time debating about economics.

Landfills

Politics of Recycling

Pro has ceded that advocates of recycling do so for political or financial gain, and not to help the environment. While pro is correct, that this within itself does prove recycling is harmful, it does however taint the credibility of recycling advocates.

One of the leading advocates for recycling is the manufacturers of recyclable products; such as plastic bags, and plastic bottles. This is because recycling shifts demand away from non-recyclable alternatives, thus increasing production. This is harmful on two ends; the manufacturing during its original production and the remanufacturing during recycling. Recycling has caused the demand to shift away from non-recyclable products, which are safer to produce, for the more recyclable products, the production of which is more harmful to the environment. (1)

Straw man

Pro claims that I said landfills are cheaper. I said nothing of the short; I clearly told Pro during the last round that this debate was not about economic, and that I would not waste time debating economics.

Raw Material

Saving Raw Material

Recycling only saves raw material when the raw material is nonrenewable. Curbside Recyclables are often separated into 3 categories; paper, plastic, and metal. Paper is a renewable resource, plastic is a manufactured resource, and metal is a nonrenewable resource. When you recycle renewable resources you are decreasing the demand for new raw materials, making it less likely for those resources to be renewed. Manufactured resources are irrelevant to the raw material argument. When you recycle nonrenewable resources, the recycling of those resources often causes environmental issues.

When you talk about recycling nonrenewable resources, you have to weigh the positives of recycling with the negatives. The negatives being the environmental impact, and the positives being the resources saved.

My opponent’s example for nonrenewable resources was aluminum. Aluminum is the world’s 3rd most abundant natural resource, behind Oxygen and Silicon. (2)

Production of Raw Material

Pro claims that the production of Raw Material is not always cleaner than recycling, but in most circumstances it is. Pro uses aluminum to prove his point; aluminum is a metal, so it simply needs to be melted down in order to be reused.

Pro gives some statistics about how much cleaner it is to melt down the metal, than it is to extract it from ore. His statistics does not take into consideration the cleaning process associated with recycling, where the cleaning of the aluminum produces tons of toxic sludge, which is not created during the original production. It also does not take into consideration the extra emissions created during transportation. (3)

The recycling process differs depending on the recyclable material. The recycling process for aluminum differs greatly from the recycling process for steel, due to the difference in their chemistry and usage. (3)

Studies of Oakland’s air quality have discovered recycling centers as some of the city’s top polluters, and one metal recycling plant was nearly shut down due to environmental protests by the locals.(1)

Recycling Process

Concept Vs Practice

Pro claims that we are not arguing about the practice of recycling, but rather the concept of recycling. Pro cedes that recycling causes more harm than the original production, but claims that the practice is irrelevant to the concept.

If we took the same approach to the original production as Pro takes to recycling, than the practice of production does not matter, only the concept. Pro argues that since we are debating the concept of recycling, that the harmful effects of the present methods are not important. Likewise I could argue that the harmful effects during production do not matter, because there is the potential for production to be completely harmless, provided we have the technology to do so. This entire argument is bias, and one sided. If the logic applies to recycling, it should also apply to its alternatives.

Concept of Recycling

If it is the concept of recycling that we are arguing than you cannot cherry pick what materials we are debating about. Either recycling is beneficial or it is not, because the resolution was formed as an absolute. To claim recycling is beneficial, but only under certain circumstances, is not an argument in favor of the concept.

Without Recycling

Landfills not an option

There are two cases where landfills are not an option;

a.) There are laws preventing them from accepting recyclables

b.) There are non-recyclables that would cause issues for the landfill (such as radioactive material).

In the case of recyclables, the only thing preventing them is mandatory recycling laws. When it comes to non-recyclables, they can’t be recycled anyways. Not all recycled material is actually recycled, which depends on the city’s recycling program. For example; some cities can handle plastics numbered up to 6, while many can only handle plastics numbered up to 2. Only 6.8% of recycled plastics are actually recycled, because the programs cannot handle the chemical compound of the plastics. (4)

The Pacific Garbage Patch

My opponent claims that if landfills don’t accept trash, it winds up in the pacific garbage patch. First off, the pacific garbage patch is not visible to the naked eye, and the waste is comprised mostly of microplastics; microplastics are tiny bits of plastic up to 5 mm in diameter. (5) Landfills accept plastics, unless there are laws against putting recyclables in landfills. In the cases of such laws, if the recycling program cannot process the plastics, and the plastics cannot be placed in landfills, where do you suppose the plastic goes? In such cases, mandatory recycling becomes harmful. (4)

Economy

The economic environment has no effect on the natural environment, so impacts on the economy are irrelevant. Pro’s claim that the economy directly effects the natural environment is not only unfounded, but rather absurd.

The environment does have an impact on the economy, but the economy does not impact the environment. A natural disaster can be detrimental to the stock market, but changes in the stock market have no affect the level of pollution in the environment.

Recycling fuel

I reread my opponent’s original argument, and I misread. A single word (manufacturing) changed the context. Still I already addressed this issue, when I discussed the increased emissions from transportation, and the emissions from remanufacturing recyclables.

1.) http://www.forbes.com...

2.) http://sam.davyson.com...

3.) books.google.com/books?isbn=0470418923

4.) http://discovermagazine.com...

5.) http://education.nationalgeographic.com...

Debate Round No. 4
4 comments have been posted on this debate. Showing 1 through 4 records.
Posted by Subutai 3 years ago
Subutai
This was a very good debate by both sides.

While pro made some convincing arguments, a lot of con's arguments, especially the videos (which made an extremely compelling point) went badly refuted, or even unrefuted. Con also made a great point when he posited that recycling factories emit a lot of greenhouse gases, which, if pro's side should be held up, are harmful to the environment.

Pro, in return, did not have strong arguments. His New York Times argument was ineffectual at affirming the resolution. His pacific trash argument was too questionable (i.e. there were too many problems with it that were unaddressed) to be of any significance. In addition, a lot of his arguments were, more or less, irrelevant to the resolution. Finally, most of his arguments were refuted by con.

Pro wins sources because one, he had more, and two, con's video arguments were a little questionable in their reliability, and they even mentioned that recycling "may" be a good thing.

Overall, both sides did an excellent job in this debate, but con had more compelling arguments while pro seemed to rely on irrelevant and questionable arguments which were swiftly refuted by con.
Posted by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
This is an interesting debate.

1) PRO's S&G in round #2 could use a lot of work. Tenses were wrong, sentence structure was butchered. It made following his argument difficult. S&G to CON.

2) The attack on CON's sources omitted the most glaring source - the videos. Especially in the 1st video (did not view the 2nd, too long), we have no idea who made these videos for what purpose...we are supposed to simply take their word for them. Since PRO failed to attack them, I must take their word for it, that over 80% of recycling involves paper recycling, and that such recycling efforts are actually detrimental to the economy and thus the environment. This alone makes for a pretty compelling case that CON won this debate.

3) I had a lot of trouble figuring out the operating use of the word "recycling". The round #1 definition clearly stated the breakdown of finished goods back into raw materials for re-manufacture. Subsequent rounds then talked about renewables, and in the case of food trash, one could make the argument that by simply burying food into a landfill, we are actually recycling that food, according to the round #1 definition.

4) CON's primary round #2 argument was IMHO weak. The NYTimes article was specific about circuit board recycling...the resolution is not about refuting ALL recycling, but recycling overall, therefore something so specific has very little pull. Regardless, most of recycling involves paper, to which PRO never refuted, and this was IMHO the key argument in the debate. Weak as the source is, the statement is extremely potent re: the resolution.

5) Pacific garbage patch was rendered irrelevant for this debate - too many questionable factors (litter or recycling??)

---

Conclusion:

Arguments to CON, S&G to CON, sources to PRO, because I was uncomfortable that the primary winning argument rested on a extremely questionable source (CON video #1), which itself admitted that recycling is a good thing to do.
Posted by Pennington 3 years ago
Pennington
That would have been another matter. I simply tried to show that recycling has uses and is helpful regardless if it is misused.
Posted by 16kadams 3 years ago
16kadams
Those documents on heartland have been proven a fake by three investigations.

Heartlands internal investigation and two others by third party experts.

http://heartland.org...

Since that wasn't mentioned I'll forget about this^
3 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 3 records.
Vote Placed by Subutai 3 years ago
Subutai
PenningtonDanTTied
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Total points awarded:23 
Reasons for voting decision: RFD in comments.
Vote Placed by wrichcirw 3 years ago
wrichcirw
PenningtonDanTTied
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Reasons for voting decision: see comment
Vote Placed by 16kadams 3 years ago
16kadams
PenningtonDanTTied
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Total points awarded:05 
Reasons for voting decision: Excellent debate. Sources: con noted how heartland was a middle man... But the fact pro cited the EPA, which has a bias pro-recycling to keep funding (why fund a non-problem?) and highly biased recycling benefits... k. Arguments: much of what pro brought forth was irrelevant (sources, economics) and con destroyed all of pros arguments. In every case, either pro doesn't explain why it's bad (GHG's aren't bad) and recycling may have increased GHG'S due to added transportation. I especially liked the study pro cited about recycling institutions the biggest polluters. When it came to landfills con offered valid alternatives in small countries and the no-problem solution I'm larger countries due to increased efficiency. Pros NYtimes argument was, no sugar coating, retarded. It proved NYtimes allows other viewpoints. The pacific trash is not because of landfills, even if it was, con made a point about recycling being worse. Con won.