Why Governments Ignore the Massive Energy Potential of Recycling Center Plastic

Despite the significant energy potential of recycling center plastic, many governments worldwide seem to overlook this resource. A study conducted in 2015 revealed that 1kg of recycling center plastic could yield up to 30MJ of heat energy. This amount is more than sufficient to cook meals for a family of four, which typically requires around 4 MJ per day. So, why do governments ignore this massive energy potential? The answer lies in a complex interplay of factors, including economic considerations, environmental concerns, and policy priorities.

Economic Considerations

One of the primary reasons why governments may overlook the energy potential of recycling center plastic is the cost associated with its conversion. While the technology to convert plastic waste into energy exists, it is often expensive to implement and maintain. Moreover, the process of collecting, sorting, and cleaning plastic waste before it can be converted into energy is labor-intensive and costly. Therefore, many governments may find it more economically viable to focus on other forms of energy production.

Environmental Concerns

Another significant factor is the environmental impact of converting plastic waste into energy. While this process can help reduce the amount of plastic waste that ends up in landfills, it also produces greenhouse gases. Burning plastic waste releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, contributing to global warming. Additionally, the process can produce harmful byproducts, such as dioxins and furans, which are toxic and can have detrimental effects on human health and the environment.

Policy Priorities

Government policies also play a crucial role in determining the focus of energy production. Many governments are prioritizing renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, over non-renewable sources, including plastic waste. This is because renewable energy sources are sustainable and have less environmental impact compared to non-renewable sources. Therefore, despite the energy potential of recycling center plastic, it may not align with the current policy priorities of many governments.


While the energy potential of recycling center plastic is significant, it is clear that there are valid reasons why governments may choose to overlook this resource. Economic considerations, environmental concerns, and policy priorities all play a role in this decision. However, as technology advances and the need for sustainable waste management solutions becomes increasingly urgent, it is possible that more governments will start to tap into this underutilized resource.