We are a commune of inquiring, skeptical, politically centrist, capitalist, anglophile, traditionalist New England Yankee humans, humanoids, and animals with many interests beyond and above politics. Each of us has had a high-school education (or GED), but all had ADD so didn't pay attention very well, especially the dogs. Each one of us does "try my best to be just like I am," and none of us enjoys working for others, including for Maggie, from whom we receive neither a nickel nor a dime. Freedom from nags, cranks, government, do-gooders, control-freaks and idiots is all that we ask for.
Very interesting article, NJ, and welcome back. Early mid-life crisis and all. :)
What was just as interesting as the article were the comments. This was in Boston, aka 'Liberaland, USA', after all. Many of them viewed the article as "anti-recycling" and attacked it from that stance, completely overlooking the real point of the article, which was what was in the fine print. Once that part comes to light, the entire enterprise drives right off the cliff of sanity, as most eco-friendly projects do at some point.
As Dr. Mercury pointed out, it is "the fine print" that really makes the problem: to call it :single-stream" is is at best misleading, if not flatly lying.
Anecdote vaguely related -
a couple of decades back, I bought a home in Mass. Now, burning leaves and such had long been banned, probably since the Sixties, but they could be put with the rest of the trash. Then, the city decided "yard trash" must go in forty-gallon paper bags (which they required some stores to carry - yes, we had to buy them so taxes would not go up) for seperate pickup (which necessitated a tax/fee increase of course). Then the city decided the bags would not be picked up, we had to take them (or pay someone to take them) to the dump/landfill. Then the operators there stopped accepting them. So I just left mine by the curb - they disappeared in a couple of weeks and I was never contacted/fined, how and where they went I never knew. That winter I moved...
We in the nuclear industry are having similar arguments about recycling spent nuclear fuel. MIT just released a report supportive of Obama's decision to close Yucca Mountain and opposing fuel reprocessing.
As the philosopher Gomer Pyle used to say: "Surprise, Surprise!"
In fact, a once-through cycle is cheaper for the operators IF the cost of Yucca Mountain is passed on directly to the consumers, as it is, through an excise tax. A lot depends on how one draws the circle of the scope of the analysis.
We do know that Yucca Mountain will become an easily accessable plutonium ore body in about 300 years where no special radiation gear is required and the mine would only cost about $6 million in today's dollars.
Domestically here in San Jose, CA, they made the garbage bin smaller and added a huge recycle bin. So we pay more and have more room to dump trash but just about everyone is guilty of inadequate separation.
Reminds me of the claim that the ordinary citizens commits three felonies a day - without knowing it.
"And there's plenty to dig for, says Patrick Atkins, the director of energy innovation at Alcoa. North American landfills contain more aluminum than we can produce by mining ores. He thinks the same is probably true of gold and copper, which are used in the circuit boards of computers and electronic gadgets. One ton of scrap from discarded PCs contains more gold than can be produced from 17 tons of gold ore"
I gotta think recycling actually hurts the situation b/c it dilutes the concentration of materials from a nice central location like the landfill.
We went through something too much like this in Germany from 1993-1995. I don't know if it still goes on.
We were to put all recyclables except paper in the Gelbsack (yellow bag) and the paper in the Weissack (white bag). Both were somewhat transparent so trash collectors would have some idea of what was in them. Everything else went in regular trash -- basically, anything juicy.
We were told that, if there were too few recycling sacks or too much recyclable in the trash bags, the Germans would stop picking up our stuff. Don't know if that ever happened.
According to one article I saw, 80% of the recycled stuff wound up in the landfill next to the regular trash.