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#1 User is offline   MTP Reggie 

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Posted 05 April 2019 - 12:24 PM

America Finally Admits Recycling Doesn't Work
It's time to admit the recycling mania is a giant placebo.
Thursday, March 21, 2019
Fee.org

<More Here>

A couple of years ago, after sending my five-year-old daughter off to school, she came home reciting the same cheerful environmental mantra I was taught in elementary school.

"Reduce, reuse, recycle," she beamed, proud to show off a bit of rote learning.

Recycling makes people feel good, but the idea that it improves the condition of humans or the planet is highly dubious. The moral virtue of recycling is rarely questioned in the United States. It has been ingrained into the American psyche over several decades. On a recent trip to the Caribbean, my friend's wife exhibited nervous guilt while collecting empty soda, water, and beer bottles destined for the trash since our resort offered no recycling bins.

"I feel terrible throwing these into garbage," she said, wearing a pained look on her face. I didn't have the heart to tell her that there was a good chance the bottles she was recycling back in the States were ending up just like the ones on the Caribbean island we were visiting.

Difficult Implementation

As Discover magazine pointed out a decade ago, recycling is tricky business. A 2010 Columbia University study found that just 16.5 percent of the plastic collected by the New York Department of Sanitation was "recyclable."

"This results in nearly half of the plastics collected being landfilled," researchers concluded.

https://fee.org/media/33260/recyclable-plastic.jpg


Since that time, things have only gotten worse. Over the weekend, The New York Times ran a story detailing how hundreds of cities across the country are abandoning recycling efforts.

Philadelphia is now burning about half of its 1.5 million residents' recycling material in an incinerator that converts waste to energy. In Memphis, the international airport still has recycling bins around the terminals, but every collected can, bottle and newspaper is sent to a landfill. And last month, officials in the central Florida city of Deltona faced the reality that, despite their best efforts to recycle, their curbside program was not working and suspended it. Those are just three of the hundreds of towns and cities across the country that have canceled recycling programs, limited the types of material they accepted or agreed to huge price increases.

One reason for this is that China, perhaps the largest buyer of US recyclables, stopped accepting them in 2018. Other countries, such as Thailand and India, have increased imports, but not in sufficient tonnage to alleviate the mounting costs cities are facing.

"We are in a crisis moment in the recycling movement right now," Fiona Ma, the treasurer of California, told the Times.

Cost is the key word. Like any activity or service, recycling is an economic activity. The dirty little secret is that the benefits of recycling have been dubious for some time.

"Recycling has been dysfunctional for a long time," Mitch Hedlund, executive director of Recycle Across America, told The Times.

Has Recycling Always Been An Illusion?

(snip)

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#2 User is online   Bubbajoebob 

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Posted 05 April 2019 - 12:51 PM

Things that are efficient to recycle you'll get paid to recycle. You can sell metals, and clean paper and cardboard if you take them to the recycling center because it costs less to turn them into new stuff than it would to make the stuff from raw materials, so somebody's willing to buy them. They become less valuable to the end user if they have to pay to collect the materials and if they're all mixed together so someone has to be paid to separate them (think curbside recycling collection). Plastics don't make monetary sense to recycle. Glass doesn't if it has to be transported very far -- it's value is small compared to its weight and volume.
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#3 User is online   Dean Adam Smithee 

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Posted 05 April 2019 - 01:10 PM

Recycling doesn't work because the gov't got involved and dumbed it down so that it CAN'T work.

Especially "single stream" recycling. Pure horse scheisse and really is little more than an overflow bin to make people feel good about not putting things in the garbage, but 90%+ of which ends up in the landfill anyway. I mean, just because a jar is made of recyclable glass doesn't mean that it's SUITABLE to be recycled in it's current condition. Take an unrinsed jar half-full of moldy whatever and toss it in the "single stream" bin? Not only is it unprofitable to recycle the jar so it gets diverted to a landfill, but by the time it gets to the sorter it's spilled out and contaminated everything else that MIGHT HAVE BEEN recyclable so the whole shebang gets sent to the landfill.

WHERE IT DOES WORK: "Voluntary" recycling centers such as those run by RockTenn (Now called WestRock) in the Atlanta area. Sort it yourself: Newspaper in one bin, cardboard in a bin, books and magazines in a bin, clear glass in this one, colored glass in that one. How do I KNOW it works? Because RockTenn is a paper company that I've done engineering projects for and I've seen them recycle this stuff with my own eyes.

https://s3-media2.fl.yelpcdn.com/bphoto/MT0g7QvTf63Lr3pRTkN3yA/o.jpg
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#4 User is online   Wag-a-Muffin (D) 

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Posted 05 April 2019 - 01:23 PM

Many people I know put trash in their recyclable can, because the city limits the number and size a family is allowed for refuse.
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#5 User is offline   Ladybird 

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Posted 05 April 2019 - 01:32 PM

View PostWag-a-Muffin (D), on 05 April 2019 - 01:23 PM, said:

Many people I know put trash in their recyclable can, because the city limits the number and size a family is allowed for refuse.

That sucks. It probably leads to illegal dumping too.
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#6 User is offline   Italian Biker 

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Posted 05 April 2019 - 03:30 PM

And recycling paper is terrible for environment considering the chemicals they use to "clean" existing ink to make the paper useable again. Now, for the cities that have these seperate bins, at least the ones I'm aware of, all have separate trucks to grab the garbage can, and one to grab the recycle can. That doubles the number of trucks on the road, guzzling gas like drunken sailors drinking at a bar on shore leave. No on my own, I do try to reuse what I can. Cardboard becomes archery target until it gets to many holes in it. Paper that I use at work for some things gets used for quick notes on the other side until used up. I reuse my water bottle through the day and fill it up at the fountain. My old ripped underwear become dish rags in the kitchen, etc.... :biglaugh:
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#7 User is offline   MTP Reggie 

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Posted 05 April 2019 - 03:33 PM

View PostItalian Biker, on 05 April 2019 - 03:30 PM, said:

I reuse my water bottle through the day and fill it up at the fountain.



This Is Why You Should Never, Ever Refill Your Plastic Water Bottle
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#8 User is offline   Noclevermoniker 

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Posted 05 April 2019 - 03:55 PM

I have a burn pile behind my house.
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#9 User is offline   Bookdoc 

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Posted 05 April 2019 - 04:04 PM

View PostLadybird, on 05 April 2019 - 01:32 PM, said:

That sucks. It probably leads to illegal dumping too.

Have you ever followed a "recycling" trash truck in your town to see where it goes? I did and it went straight to the same dump the other trash trucks did.
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#10 User is offline   MTP Reggie 

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Posted 05 April 2019 - 04:18 PM

I've been recycling for some time now. Having a farm, I am able to recycle just about everything. Because I recycle or re-use most everything, I manage to have only a single kitchen garbage bag of garbage every week. And that's saying something for having a farm/ranch with nearly 30 animals on it.

Left over food goes to chickens, ducks, dogs, horses or cats - whoever will eat a particular item. Most of it goes to chickens because they are nature's compost system and they will eat almost anything put in front of them.

But I have been recycling the usual stuff too - paper, cardboard, plastic, various metals. I take most ferrous metal to a local metal recycling yard because once or twice a year I may have hundreds or thousands of pounds of it depending on what's been going on.

Everything else goes to the little town nearby to their one-stop recycling bin, which is probably a waste of my time. I can probably separate out the ferrous household stuff and put it in with the ferrous metal commercial yard stuff. I also end up with lots of quart jars because I use a probiotic yogurt in my dogs' food every day to help hide pills. everybody gets a scoop. I had been saving the jars and selling them at a low cost because they use standard canning lids. I may start that back up again instead of putting them in recycling.

But apparently, household recycling is a waste of time and I'll probably stop bothering now.
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#11 User is offline   linewinder 

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Posted 05 April 2019 - 04:20 PM

View PostItalian Biker, on 05 April 2019 - 03:30 PM, said:

My old ripped underwear become dish rags in the kitchen, etc.... :biglaugh:


With it's own built in scrubbing section?
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#12 User is offline   Ladybird 

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Posted 05 April 2019 - 04:26 PM

View PostBookdoc, on 05 April 2019 - 04:04 PM, said:

Have you ever followed a "recycling" trash truck in your town to see where it goes? I did and it went straight to the same dump the other trash trucks did.

I meant the city limiting each familyís refuse.
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#13 User is offline   RedSoloCup 

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Posted 05 April 2019 - 05:11 PM

View PostMTP Reggie, on 05 April 2019 - 03:33 PM, said:



Whoops....I am guilty of this.
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#14 User is offline   MADGestic 

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Posted 05 April 2019 - 06:47 PM

I have to ask: What's wrong with making people feel good?

If the recyclables are going to a landfill, then there's no added expense of running them through the recycling process. If we threw everything in the trash, then we'd likely need the current dedicated recyclables-collection trucks for trash collection. At a very basic level, reduce-reuse-recycle makes sense, and we've been doing it for millennia: Animal bones become tools, waste becomes fertilizer and fire fuel, not pooping near the spring helps ensures potable water. I daresay resource management is an evolutionary survival trait.

And people feel good about contributing to that; so what? Seems like a win-win.
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#15 User is offline   GhostOfAndrewJackson 

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Posted 20 April 2019 - 09:14 PM

I always thought recycling was more of a government test of the public's compliance with vested authority. Regretfully they received such minimal push back they realized they had an open hand in reformulating the nation.
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#16 User is offline   Ticked@TinselTown 

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Posted 20 April 2019 - 11:52 PM

View PostMADGestic, on 05 April 2019 - 06:47 PM, said:

I have to ask: What's wrong with making people feel good?

If the recyclables are going to a landfill, then there's no added expense of running them through the recycling process. If we threw everything in the trash, then we'd likely need the current dedicated recyclables-collection trucks for trash collection. At a very basic level, reduce-reuse-recycle makes sense, and we've been doing it for millennia: Animal bones become tools, waste becomes fertilizer and fire fuel, not pooping near the spring helps ensures potable water. I daresay resource management is an evolutionary survival trait.

And people feel good about contributing to that; so what? Seems like a win-win.

:mellow:
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