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View Full Version : Recycling.. bad?


JonIrenicus
03-10-2009, 01:27 AM
Seems the bullshit guys think so.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Sp8PzgY7XA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ck3WqDPtW0E&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FA3iWNTQci8&feature=related


Probably worth it for some things, but I wonder if this skewering of a sacred cow of many people will be taken? rejected out of hand? accepted?


let the games begin

bjkeefe
03-10-2009, 01:52 AM
Seems the bullshit guys think so.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Sp8PzgY7XA
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ck3WqDPtW0E&feature=related
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FA3iWNTQci8&feature=related


Probably worth it for some things, but I wonder if this skewering of a sacred cow of many people will be taken? rejected out of hand? accepted?


let the games begin

I haven't watched the vids yet, but I remember vividly an episode of This American Life that took a critical look at recycling. The main takeaways:

-- some materials are more obviously worthwhile to recycle than others; e.g., aluminum cans

-- some materials are, in the short-term, and in some areas, cheaper to landfill than to recycle; e.g., paper. And on a related note, the available landfill space compared to the aridity of the region may make the disposable/washable diaper equation change.

-- some materials are almost never cost-effective to recycle, in the short term, because they either aren't worth much as feedstocks due to the low cost of new raw materials, or the problems of separating out contaminants from the stream is expensive, or both. Glass and plastic may both fit in here.

Nonetheless, I still feel recycling should be encouraged, and I strongly believe that existing programs should be kept in place, unless their costs are truly out of control. I believe that in the long term, the cost of raw materials will just keep going up, and in the meantime, one of the hardest parts of the whole idea is getting people in the habit of separating what they plan to discard. I remember well being called a "hippie" for not throwing soda cans in the trash when eating on the road, and later, at home, for rescuing cans, bottles, and jars from the garbage. We're now at the point where most people don't make too much of a fuss about putting in a couple of extra minutes per week to deal with recyclables, and I don't want to lose that. I'd even say keep the program running even if, for short periods of time, you have no choice (as a municipality) but to throw the collected recyclables in a landfill.

I'd also like to see if there are reasonable ways to encourage use of easily recycled plastics (and other materials) for things like food containers that are currently made out of hard-to-recycle materials.

In the end, probably my biggest complaint about recycling is that too many people think it's a panacea, when what they should really care about is the other two Rs: reduction and reuse.

uncle ebeneezer
03-10-2009, 02:33 PM
Good thread guys. I've never really dug into this issue (pardon the pun) before. I will say that I agree with Brendan about the importance of changing our norms towards behavior that is more positive towards environmental concerns. You can always ratchet these practices back if it turns out they are not necesarry or efficient. Just in my lifetime, I've gone from living in a small town in New England where we had to drive several miles to drop off recyclables (and we were in the minority of residents who did it, which is somewhat ironic in that my dad is a GW-denier) to a world where I'm shocked if I move someplace that doesn't have recycling as part of the trash service. I even remember the days when people would lazily throw McDonalds wrappers and such out their car windows without a thought. Now if you do that sort of thing you more than likely to get a lecture from whoever sees it. It's a pretty drastic change in norms in a span of only about 20 years.