The government and various environmental organizations regularly tout the many benefits of recycling. First and foremost, recycling reduces the amount of wastes that must be placed into landfills or incinerated. According to some experts, this saves money compared to the costs of other methods of trash disposal. As the National Recycling Coalition states, "Well-run recycling programs cost less to operate than waste collection, landfilling, and incineration."16 Recycling advocates also argue that recycling programs create American jobs—not only jobs collecting recyclables, but also jobs in the industries that purchase and process the recycled materials and manufacture them into new products.
The most important benefits of recycling, however, relate to the environment and human health. Environmentalists say that by diverting materials from the waste stream going into landfills or to incinerators, recycling reduces air, ground, and water pollution that otherwise could result from these wastes. And the recycling of metals, glass, and other materials reduces pollution that would be
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