Skip to comments.The Utter Waste of Recycling
Posted on 07/13/2004 7:43:36 AM PDT by crv16
People are recycling less. In my home State of New Jersey the recycling rate for household garbage dropped for the fifth straight year in 2002, hitting 34 percent according to the most recent statistics available. Nationwide, it's the same. The national average dropped to 27 percent in 2002, the most recent year for such data.
According to BioCycle Magazine and Columbia University's Earth Engineering Center, that is the lowest it has been since 1995.
The justification for recycling is that it permits the reuse of things like paper, glass, aluminum and plastic. What you're not told is that it takes as much or more energy to recycle these things and can be more costly than to just do with them what mankind has done with garbage since it began building up in the caves.
Garbage has either been buried or burned. This is the most practical way to deal with it. Once a landfill has become full, it is covered over with a layer of dirt and becomes property that can be converted to some other use such as a golf course.
There are less obvious costs involved with recycling programs. Since paper, glass and plastic in my hometown cannot be put into the same truck that means the town has to pay crews of men to man the trucks for each. Those men draw salaries and other benefits. There are all kinds of insurance costs. The trucks cost money and must be maintained. In addition, they all burn gas as they start and stop repeatedly, adding to the cost and producing the greenhouse gases that recycling is supposed to reduce.
Then the recyclables have to be taken to recycling centers or, not infrequently, to landfills or incinerators. Where, of course, they become just plain old garbage again.
Recycling advocates say the reason for the decline is that the need to recycle, debatable at best, no longer gets the kind of attention it used to when it was fashionable to shame everyone into thinking they were âsaving the environmentâ? by separating their paper, glass, plastic and aluminum.
After awhile people began to wonder whether, in fact, it was necessary and with good reason. Glass, for example, is made from sand. The world is not running out of sand.
Paper is made from trees and we are not running out of trees either, unless you count the ones destroyed by catastrophic forest fires that usually result from bad state and federal forest management. There is still 70 percent of the forestland that was here in 1600 when the Pilgrims arrived. Annually, more than 1.5 billion trees are planted in the US, more than five trees for every man, woman and child and, of those, more than 80 percent are planted by forest product companies and private timberland owners. The rest are planted by federal and state agencies, and individuals.
As for aluminum, the Aluminum Institute says that plastic is crowding out higher-value aluminum cans in recycling bins, making the whole process of recycling less efficient. Many states have stopped mandating buy-back programs for empty cans and bottles. The recycling rate for aluminum hit 50 percent in 2002, its lowest point in a decade.
Similarly, the number of curbside collection programs nationally, which reached a high of about 9,700 between 1988 and 2000, fell to 8,875 by 2003 according to data provided by the Environmental Protection Agency. After 9-11 when New York City was hard hit by the devastation, entire recyclable collection programs were stopped in order to save the millions they cost.
It took a federal court decision to deregulate the hauling of trash out of my home state when it became apparent it was cheaper to ship it to landfills in Pennsylvania. Expensive incinerators that had been built on the premise that the garbage to be hauled to them would be required by law suddenly became a loss for those who invested in the bonds that underwrote their construction. When the market is allowed to function, less costly, more rational rules assert themselves.
Recycling is a waste of time, of financial resources, manpower, and is one more fraud perpetrated on people to further the myths of environmentalism. Bit by bit, they will be abandoned in the same fashion that so many other environmental programs will be when proven to be the same hot air as global warming.
Alan Caruba writes a weekly commentary, 'Warning Signs', posted on http://www.anxietycenter.com, the website of The National Anxiety Center.
Of course the Democrats like recycling. I mean, Kerry is just Mike Dukakis recycled...their whole platform has been recycled ever since LBJ.
I'm conservative as they come but I have no problem with recyling.
I wish McDees/BurgerKing would have some type of program that if you brought back their wrappers/bags you would get money back. My rural road is a mess from litterbugs.
My church saves aluminum cans etc and my wife and I was surprised how much we saved and took to the church each week.
You will know recycling makes economic sense when private industry pays you enough for your trash to motivate people to save it and bring it in.
This might include private collectors of recycleables that take your cans and papers for free, to help you reduce your garbage costs.
Some things are worth recycling. If I have an empty plastic peanut butter jar, with the little ripples on the bottom, I will not wash/recycle it, but when we tear down a dridge at work, we will definitely recycle the scrap steel.
I'll cross that dridge when I come to it.
Tear down a lot of dridges?
Once a landfill has become full, it is covered over with a layer of dirt and becomes property that can be converted to some other use such as a golf course.
We don't need any more golf courses around here. You can't live on "recovered" landfill land. You can't grow anything on it. I don't think that the land could be used for any kind of building.
(it's the arthritis, yeah, that's it.)
Ah, good intentions backfire yet again. There's a shock.
Liberals NEVER seem to learn the basic law of Unintended Consequences.
I have an garbage can out in the garage I keep for metal.
Old bent mower blades, windshield wiper metal parts etc, metal left over from projects, jar lids etc etc.
I take probably 5-6 can loads to the metal recycler 3 miles down the road every year.
Stuff really ads up
Yes, the only thing worth recycling is scrap metals, like aluminum cans and steel.
We've had state mandated recycling for more than 10 years and it is a joke. At first our city had a huge recycling yard where we could take our recyclybles and drop them is separate collection bins -- #1 plastic, #2 plastic, glass, aluminum, steel, paper, etc. There were strick rules on how everything was to be handled (washed, labels removed, etc.) It became a huge trash heap and a $60k manager couldn't straighten it out.
Then they closed the city recycling yard and issued bins to everyone and engaged our trash companies to pick up the refuse in separated trucks. Again -- everything separate -- paper, glass, etc. My garbage collector tipped me off as to what was really going on -- the little companies had to follow the rules to a "T" and the biggies (probably mafia controlled) just dumped everything together in the same land fill.
In addition, out of state refuse haulers dumped all their trash in the same place -- all together. After all the little garbage haulers were driven out of business, the biggies have taken over. One truck comes around and picks up all the recyclables all dumped together -- paper, glass, aluminum, plastic. Supposedly they separate it a tthe land fill but I'm betting that it all goes in together.
I asked our mayor about it one time and he said that the object was to create a mountain of plastic, a mountain of paper, etc that could be "mined" in the future when they figured out what to do with the stuff.
I say they should invest in huge "burners" to get rid of this stuff. This is largely a wasted effort.
Recently, I hosted a dinner party at my house, and one of the guests wanted to throw away a plastic bottle and asked where kept my recycling.
"We don't recycle here, we're Republicans", I said.
The earth is finite, yes, but places to dump our waste exist in abundance for the foreseeable future. There are enough permitted sites in NY state to handle the waste from all 50 states if we needed them. Dumps are efficient and safe. You can build on them. Most of the old cities in the world, are after all, old dump sites. You can get useful fuel from them ( methane ). If properly designed, as all are these days, with leak detectors and liners, they present no risk to the water table. This was the only real problem with the old dump sites.
Tell me how many people have died from dumps and land fills in the last 30 years. Probably less than the number of unwanted babies and mobsters dumped into them for other reasons. Dumps have had a bad rap.
You say you have no problem with recycling... that is OK... just don't confuse your good intentions with GOVERNMENT recycling programs that waste more than they recover by recycling.
Read the entire article carefully
Personally, I'm in favor of a moderate amount of recycling to balance the tremendous amount of 'normal' garbage that's created.
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