Recycling rubbish could do more harm than good to the environment, a new research has revealed.
RMIT environmental engineering expert Tim Grant was quoted by news.com.au as saying that when it came to recycling consumer electronics such mobile phones, computers and TVs, "the net (benefit) of recycling them was negative (for the environment), but throwing them away is equally damaging.
While most experts agree that recycling plastic bottles and glass jars does less damage than burning or putting them in a landfill, the recycling process has environmental costs.
David Moy from the Waste Management Association of Australia used the example of rinsing out a glass jar before placing it in a recycling bin.
"The approach I would take to that is to not use fresh water to rinse out, but put them on the sink and wash them at the end of your washing up.
"That gives you a clean product, without adding (that) environmental cost. But there's also an environment cost with transport: using carbon fuels and building the vehicles."
Dr Sami Kara, an expert on the total environmental impact of consumer products at the University of New South Wales, said the recycling process has many unknowns, and that "it is almost impossible to answer" questions without going into the subject in detail.
"These are issues related to type of product, collection networks, distance, volumes, recycling techniques, land fill cost, etc. "They all play a critical role," he said.