Recycling not always an energy and resource saver, study finds

A recent study conducted by researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology has found that recycling certain products actually uses more energy than simply using new products. A professor, Timothy Gutowski, and his students found that every remanufactured product that appeared to have a net energy savings, there was another that had a net energy loss. And even among those with net savings, the benefits were often minute or even negligible. For example, more gas is needed to power a car using remanufactured tires than one using new tires, which to some defeats the point of even using remanufactured tires in the first place.
They ended with the conclusion that “new and improved” products actually saved more energy than reused products from an older generation.

Gutowski and his team also noted that regardless of energy usage, remanufacturing   still helps to save resources by lowering the impact of waste on landfills and the 0, in most cases. So even if a remanufactured device is not as energy-efficient as a new device, its reused parts can have a more beneficial impact on tangible resource.


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