While recycling does keep many discarded items out of landfills and preserves natural resources, it also has some disadvantages, such as the expense and pollution that come from operating recycling equipment, the production of methane gas and the false notion that using recyclable items wastefully is acceptable.
The process of recycling many different products leads to the development of methane gas. While many recycling plants contain the methane, when it leaks, methane can deplete the ozone layer and contribute to global warming, as it is a greenhouse gas. Maintaining and operating recycling equipment is extremely expensive, and having an entire network of factories processing recycling leads to additional pollution.
When recycling facilities have poor management, the hygiene of the area can suffer as a result. Recycling dumpsters that have been abandoned sometimes have toxins remaining from recyclables, and the toxins have the potential to enter the groundwater or the air as a pollutant.
Many people believe that because recycling is available, using plastic water bottles by the dozen is acceptable. Even though it is possible to recycle plastic, it is even better for the environment to have a reusable bottle, as then the pollution that goes into recycling does not become a necessity.