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Tom Zeller Jr.

In the following viewpoint Tom Zeller Jr. weighs the pros and cons of recycling and concludes that recycling makes environmental and economic sense. While he acknowledges that recycling is an expensive and energy-consuming endeavor, the net cost of recycling is less than that of making new products. Many cities have found ways to reduce recycling costs, and even energy spent recycling old products is less than energy spent creating new products, according to Zeller. Furthermore, because new products increase the amount of packaging that gets thrown out, recycling is a good way to reduce the total amount of garbage that is piling up across the globe. Zeller concludes that recycling is energy- and cost-efficient, and he supports laws that require product manufacturers and retailers to share the cost of recycling.

Zeller is an editor at National Geographic magazine, an official journal of the National Geographic Society, from which this viewpoint is taken.

Tom Zeller Jr., "Why Recycle?" National Geographic magazine, January, 2008. Copyright © 2008 National Geographic Society. Reproduced by permission.

Recycling . . . not only conserves natural resources and reduces the amount of waste that must be burned or buried, it also reduces pollution and the demand for energy."

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