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.
I've known this for years--recycling is not the panacea it seems to be. Aluminum can recycling makes sense. The rest is largely nonsense. Seeing entire buildings and, in some cases, neighborhoods, hauled off to landfills after a hurricane adds perspective to the benefits, or lack, of recycling. If a destroyed house or neighborhood can find room in a landfill, certainly a plastic Wal-Mart bag or lawn service post card will also fit.
Metals (iron/steel Aluminum etc.), Glass and Paper make sense.
Plastics, not so much.
We should put all the crap we don't know how to re-process in nice, well documented landfills where we can find it again later when we figure out how.
William O. B'Livion
What made many people here see the light of day was a TV documentary about a decade ago where they followed garbage trucks with supposedly recyclables to their destination.
When making appointments and coming with camera trucks and everything else, they went to a nice, clean, modern building where everything was sorted and stacked, ready for pickup by the "recycling company".
When they then waited there or followed the garbage in unmarked cars with hidden cameras, it was all sent straight to the landfill or incinerator...
Only way to get people to "recycle" now is to so curtail the amount of "non-recyclables" they are allowed to put in their garbage, they have to split it all up into the 3-4-5 bins you now have next to your door because it's the only way to not run out of space in your bins before the next pickup day in 2-3 weeks (and of course fine you if there's even a sliver of whatever in the wrong bin).
That this leads to stinking, rotting, maggot ridden bins in every front yard doesn't bother the greenies at all.
When I was teaching environmental engineering, I ran a course on solid waste management and spent a week or so on recycling.
The litmus test as to whether anything should be recycled is, Will someone pay you for it? If the answer is no, then put it in the trash.
In our current economy, the only things that are truly recyclable are steel and aluminum, and they are. Steel is the major recyclable, and 70% of all the steel coming out of mills originated as a recycled material, mostly cars.
paper and glass make sense too, unless you happen to live in an area with lots of forests to make paper out of or just the right kind of sand to make glass out of.
It costs less energy to melt down old glass to make new than it does to refine most raw materials into new glass.
And with paper, unless you have a papermill right next to a forest, it's cheaper to make waste paper into cellulose than ship in trees from far away.
Wondering what 'trees from far away' are? They are paper mills in the pacific northwest...is that really too far away to be worthwhile? I don't think so. Also, to where are they shipping this 'recycled' paper in order to turn it back into usable paper? And then shipping it back to stores again for sale? Is that any less wasteful than using paper derived from trees that were grown for that purpose?
Are you also aware that you cannot continually re-use paper over and over again to make paper? Eventually, the fibers are shredded to the point they are unusable in making new paper. So eventually you go right back to the source: trees.
I live on the West coast and have the good fortune to travel in my motorhome all over the West. So I have noticed flatbed trucks carrying used cardboard, probably to a recylcing center in Portland. But I see them drivng in from as far as a 1000 miles away. In what universe does it make sense to "recycle" a truck load of used cardboard a 1000 miles on a truck that probably gets 6 mpg and a driver making $50 an hour? Where is the economic soundness of such an endeavor? Is it subsidies? Mandates? Or some combination that causes a trucking company to transport a couple hundred dollars worth of cardboard a 1000 miles at an expense probably around $1000 not including costs to gather the material before shipment and to process them at their destination. Most recycling has a similar overhead. Today the nieghborhood echos with the sound of large trash collection trucks; one to pick up glass only, one for trash only and one for mixed recyclables only. Next week is yard debris week so a different truck will careen through the nieghborhood for the grass clippings. Is there any common sense applied to recycling or is it all about political correctness?
For all the "benefit" of recycling, in our city, they have double the trucks on trash days. That's double crews, double gas, and the recycling actually costs the city money as in, subsidies to the recycle company, so it doesn't even pay for itself, much less save money net.
It is all feel-good-ism and you dare not speak of the realities of the recycling sham because kids have been thoroughly brainwashed into believing in it and families with kids have to comply or their kids revolt. Incredible what public education can do, eh?