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img_0067.jpg This is one reason I dont recycle. The other day I watched this huge recycling truck come down my lane, stop at every second or third house,and two guys who were obviously taking thier time empty the green boxes which hardly contained any material. Two hours later a pickup truck from the same recycling outfit comes down my lane to pick up the stuff in my neighbors green box because the first guys obviously overlooked it. Talk about service, try phoning a complaint like that  to the  regular civic trash pickup service.

I wonder how much fuel they waste, idling like this, taking thier time, emptying a few boxes of almost worthless plastic and glass and paper. It costs almost $300 a ton to recycle this junk and ship it to places like China, where they pay your environmentally harassed politicians and civic leaders about $25 a ton for it, if that according to global prices for scrap plastic and paper.

It is amazing to me how the environmental organizations have hoodwinked the public into buying thier recycling fantasies without telling us the huge carbon footprint that recycling actually entails. And dont forget about all that hot water going down the drain when you clean all those containers.

I wonder why the public hasnt caught on to this incredible green swindle, and the huge carbon footprint that the civic green box programs in all cities of North America leaves behind. The programs, the trucks, the huge recycling warehouses, the ocean liners filled with junk going to China to be recycled and then coming back as “unrecyclable” cardboard. Yes those funny yellow cardboard boxes from China that come back to us cant be recycled again.

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20 Comments

  1. Interesting slant and well-worth looking into! I rarely think of it except that styrofoam is not biodegradable…I care about the environment, but as you have brought to the forefront of my mind, it doesn’t make a lot of sense. I watched a show on PBS, “This Old House”, in which they visited a tile manufacturer and mentioned the very thing you said…the amount of time and products used to clean the material they were recycling to make the tile!
    My dad was from Rhode Island (where it seems this tile place was?) and they’ve had mandatory recycling in his old “stomping grounds” for years…
    Thanks for not letting me be a lone rebel!! ;-)

  2. donkey boner

  3. lolage

  4. wayyy :D

  5. yo dis is ellie!;D

  6. I’ve been giving this some thought during the past few months. I’ve decided that I cannot take a position on this either way unless it is qualified. The fact of the matter is that I cannot find any comprehensive studies which have been done to determine the relative environmental impact of recycling vs. raw material production. Ultimately, the monetary cost is irrelevant in comparison to the environmental impact of the activity being measured.

    I found these comments on http://www.carbonfootprint.com :

    “Making Aluminium cans from old ones uses one twelfth of the energy to make them from raw materials.
    For glass bottles, 315kg of CO2 is saved per tonne of glass recycled after taking into account the transportation and processing
    Making bags from recycled polythene takes one third the Sulphur Dioxide and half the Nitrous Oxide, than making them from scratch.”

    Once again, no sources are quoted for these figures, but it does make me think that perhaps this debate is not as black and white as “Recycling is Bad” or “Recycling is Good”. The answer is going to be different in every situation, dependent on many factors. A smaller carbon footprint may well be achieved by recycling certain materials (e.g metals, perhaps glass) but not with others (e.g perhaps paper).

    We fall far to easily and too often into the trap of simply dumping things into labelled categories in order to save ourselves the “effort” of having to think.

  7. hi there. i am from south africa and desperately trying to address this exact issue of justifying recycling. do you have any calcaltions or reportes etc or sites you could direct me to that support this view we share. hope to hear from you. michelle

  8. There’s another way to think about it…
    Why are we still making plastic from scratch at all and not just stopping that activity.
    As to recycling…sure it’s an approch but what about reusing instead.
    Surely there’s a point at which the C-footprint and cost of recycling is a negative sum game…i.e. the cost is greater than the value of the recycled product. I say stop it at source. Consumers need to stop buying plastic recycled or otherwise then supply will dwindle and we’ll have to use other stuff. For packaged fruit/veg and food maybe the answer is buy fresh and local vs pre-packaged. It seems to me to come down to supermarket buying power and push-selling power. But we, the consumers always have the power CHOICE

  9. You can recycle the things that you have to create new things of your own, that’s an option. -Roxy

  10. Recycling paper saves old growth forests; recycling aluminium again spares de landscape, and a lot of CO2 emissions;
    Waste collection efficiency is a must and maybe the company on your street is doing a bad job. Less collection frequency, less emissions; compacting waste also saves a lot of time and CO2.

  11. Scavenger, you must be joking offering such unsubstatiated, simplistic statements as facts. While there is no doubt that even recycling has an impact your portrayl is so grossly oversimplified and frankly wrong that it makes me wonder why you would be so rash as to post this at all?

    Indeed people need to think and the other posters who have said reducing and reusing are far more important are of course correct. Recycling is the least effective of the three Rs and should never be represented as perfect. Depending on the location of a recyclable item and depending on the item itself there will be a wide variation in the positive net-gain of recycling activities.

    Should we just not do something because it isn’t perfect? That seems very silly to me. What is needed is actual full-lifecycle costing for new production goods that take into account all of the factors involved in the production of the item. The same would be needed for recycled materials.

    There will very often still be a positive net-gain for much of our recycling activities almost certainly, but it will of course vary. Before putting out such a contention try to think a little further out than what you see on your own street. I can assure you it is a big world out there.

    Cheers.

  12. way too many morons like you in the world

  13. M Girvan:
    I think that is exactly the point. Without impartial full lifecycle costing analysis all the arguments are speculative at best. Unfortunately, to my knowledge, no such studies exist. Good luck getting your hands on real impartial data. I have my personal educated guesses that sway my behavior, but there’s no empirical evidence to suggest I’m correct.
    Recycling is one of those issues where a few people/corporations seem to make large amounts of money by tugging at people’s emotions (the American way!). Most everyone buys into one of two absolute sides. People need to realize that rarely is something so simple. The resulting agendas stifle most meaningful discussion.
    More scientific analysis, less unreferenced data stated as fact please.

  14. A few paper recycling myths and studies are cited here:

    http://www.de-fact-o.com/fact.php?cat=ENV

    I’ll admit I thought recycling paper was likely worse for the environment than making new. I am happy to see I was probably wrong (need to review all details to be sure).

  15. That is why we ourselves should reduce our own intake of products we can recycle. I mean not buying things in boxes or buying in things that we can reuse or for this problem that you talk about of people just putting out a few product should wait till they have a garbage can full then put it out. They are just wanting to get rid of it, but if they wash their things out then it shouldn’t matter how often they put things out, so just wait till it’s full.

  16. Your skewed and uneducated arguement is clearly misguided and you have no idea what your talking about. there is only one major company that sends cardboard boxes to be recycled and sent back and they never claim to be sustainable. They are a strictly for profit company and the founder is now a billionare who is regularly attacked for her business’ environmental neglect. Almost all recycling (with the exception of e-waste) is done somewhat locally either to the collection point or point of re-manufacture.

    Recycling reduces emissions by: reducing the need for raw materials which generally require more energy to produce and transport than recycled materials reducing waste in landfill and consequent methane emissions – although some types of recycled materials do not produce methane and landfill methane is controlled in most developed countries.

    Recycling increases emissions because of the transportation and processing of the materials.

    Consequently, the waste hierarchy favours waste minimisation and waste reuse over recycling. Waste minimisation is undoubtedly more carbon efficient than recycling. This is also likely to be true of reusing waste as long as the waste is reused locally and not transported long distances.

    However, recycling is more carbon efficient than landfilling or incinerating waste. The government’s Waste Strategy for England (2007) reported that:

    “Current UK recycling of paper, glass, plastics, aluminium and steel is estimated to save more than 18 million tonnes of carbon dioxide a year through avoided primary material production.”

    This is equivalent to annual use of five million cars or 14 per cent of UK transport sector emissions at that time.

    Where recycling is employed, locating facilities close the waste sources so as to minimise transport emissions will help to reduce carbon emissions.

    The fact that you spend your time watching a recycling truck go up and down your block and writing about it on the internet is probably a sign you should get out more and maybe educate yourself.

    • Environment consultant eh? Now what about recycling lobbying? Who is to say that wasn’t a statement made from money? I’m asking not trying to be a dick.

  17. It is amazing to me that with all of these environmental groups talking about saving the earth, no one mentions the impact of having a baby. Even if I were never to recycle, “upgrade” to a gas guzzling SUV, buy products with bad packaging; I would have a smaller impact on the planet than my neighbors because I only had one child. The only people who would have less impact would be those who had no children. Prove me wrong.

  18. Watch Penn and Tellers show ‘Bullshit’, Those boys sum it all up. They did a hole episode on the matter. At the end I was disgusted to find out what is going on to the American people. But I guess It’s become the American way….. Fu(k recycling (Except aluminum)

  19. drive miles to recycle (gas tires etc) (have kids) (pets) (air travel anywhere anytime) talk how you are saving carbon? maybe not as smart or clever as one would like to PROJECT need one say more.


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