Challenging recycling | efeefe


The common sense associates recycling with sustainability, leading citizens to think that ideally, all the materials disposed of in a city should undertake that path. Evidence indicates, however, a different reality. There are solid arguments proposing that recycling is not the most desirable way to handle the entirety of the solid waste generated by society. The reason being that recycling is an energy-intensive set of processes which require heavy machinery and uniform streams of materials, preferably already pre-sorted and cleaned up. This is not only unfeasible but in many contexts unsustainable as well. Like virtually every other industrial sector, recycling has its own environmental impact, and it is not as low as the general public tends to believe it is. (...) A recent paper (Esmaeilian et. al, 2018) maps three main objectives of recent research that relates IoT, smart cities and waste: waste characterization, waste quantification and waste management practices. The authors claim that prevention practices are the most effective whilst also having the lowest cost. Nevertheless, waste management in smart city projects doesn’t typically attempt any solutions to prevent the generation of waste.

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