Recycling Should Not Be Mandatory

Michael D. Shaw

In the following viewpoint author Michael D. Shaw argues that recycling should not be required by law. Shaw believes that recycling efforts are more of a trend than a science-based solution for environmental problems. He contends that although some recycling programs yield good end-products, there are enough renewable resources and enough space in landfills to avoid recycling. Shaw points out manufacturers are finding creative ways to turn recycled materials into profitable products, such as milk jugs used for plastic lumber, without mandated recycling programs in place. In Shaw's opinion, Americans have overly glorified the role of recycling as the only way waste management programs can be run successfully. Shaw concludes that since voluntary recycling is sufficient, there is no need to require it by law.

Shaw is executive vice president and director of marketing for Interscan Corporation, a manufacturer of toxic gas detection instrumentation. He is also a contributing columnist for, which covers health, science, and environmental news.

Michael D. Shaw, "Got Waste? The Debate over Recycling,", May 23, 2005. Reproduced by permission of the author.

"Recycling surely has its place, and its role is growing but it is not the holy grail."

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