Smile! Your Photos Might Be Almost Green

Disposable cameras are not as bad for the environment as you might think, according to the latest issue of This Green Life, a newsletter published by the NRDC. While regular, non-disposable cameras are still preferable, the single-use kind have come a long way in terms of recyclability — and the recycling rate is 77 percent, according to the EPA.

In This Green Life, Sheryl Eisenberg writes that the recycling rate for disposable cameras is so high in part because it’s not dependent on consumer whims; disposable cameras are recycled by the people who develop the photos. What’s more, she says, camera makers have found that recycling can add an extra shade of green — in the form of a profit. Kodak, for its part, reuses the bulk of the materials in its disposable cameras, which translates to savings.

As of 2004, the EPA reported, Kodak had recycled more than 650 million single-use cameras, keeping 16 million pounds of plastics and nine million pounds of circuit boards out of landfills.

Of course, long-lasting products are always preferable to disposable items. But if you want to use disposable cameras for that once-a-year special event, don’t despair! Check out the NRDC column for more tips on eco-friendly photography, including the best ways to print digital photos at home, and how to recycle your camera batteries.


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