Curbside recycling can compensate for the greenhouse gas emissions from garbage destined for landfills, says a new study that encourages towns and cities to continue offering recycling services to meet their climate goals.

The study’s authors took a deep dive into the economic and environmental value of community recycling efforts and compared it to the value of other climate change mitigation practices. They concluded that recycling provides a return on investment similar to or better than environmentally friendly strategies like transitioning to electric vehicles or purchasing green power, which is electricity from clean, renewable energy sources. Towns and cities across the country have canceled or scaled back recycling programs due to rising costs. Recent restrictions on recyclable material collected by major international markets have contributed to the cost increase, according to the study, which was published today in Nature Sustainability.

Researchers also suggest that local and state governments could implement policies to help relieve the cost burden of recycling, like establishing a minimum amount of recyclable materials that manufacturers must use in packaging or products and placing some of the responsibility for recycling costs on the manufacturers.

Source: Science Daily

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