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Is Recycling a Waste of Time?

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Previous FORAtv comments:
ionlaw Avatar
Posted: 03.31.10, 06:50 PM
We have a German company operating a landfill and solid waste processing plant, in Malaysia. But their incinerator never be able to function after intalled for few years...
Soylent Avatar
Posted: 03.21.10, 10:43 PM
"If recycling is such a waste of time and money, why are the waste companies willing to pay you to recycle aluminum cans?" Because the store is legally obliged to take a deposit from you when you buy the cans to ensure that you will work for free. "Because it's cheaper to recycle them than manufacture from scratch." If you waste 20 cents of gasoline to redeem $1 in beverage can deposits it is environmentally and economically a net loss. Recycling coke cans is dubious at best. Recycling paper, glass or plastic containers is environmentally destructive. The best thing you can do with paper is to burn it or downcycle into toilet paper. The best thing you can do with glass is to use it as a filler in asphalt or just land fill it(most of the glass you sort and recycle is actually landfilled anyway). The best thing you can do with plastic is just burn it in a proper facility.
Soylent Avatar
Posted: 03.21.10, 10:19 PM
Recycling is not entirely a waste; lots of things are very profitable to recycle, like copper, large steel objects, car catalyzers or gold plated connectors from electronics. Most other kinds of recycling is at best useless and at worst environmentally harmful and socially harmful.
EvilCanuck Avatar
Posted: 03.08.10, 08:19 PM
Metals are the only thing that actually makes sense to recycle with our current level of technology and the only thing that when its recycled it's as good as the original raw materials. Thats why they can afford to pay YOU for it! When real efficient recycling technologies come about for other things people will start offering to buy your paper or plastic or whatever from you too. If you really want to help "save the planet" in the meantime then just use less stuff. Don't buy a new cellphone every 6 months to a year and convince yourself that since you "recycled" the old one you actually accomplished something. In closing I would suggest that everyone that reads this head over to youtube and watch this video for a couple good laughs and some actually well reasoned points about this whole recycling thing.
Calorus Avatar
Posted: 12.16.09, 10:51 AM
G[rec] = How much greenhouse gas is emitted in collection, moving to recycling plant processing down to raw material equivalent per tonne (normalised for CO2 equivalence) G[create] = the greenhouse gas emitted in mining/drilling for oil, transporting it and cracking it to an equivalent state to the recycled waste per tonne (normalised for CO2 equivalence) R = the percentage recyclabilty of the waste. G[incin] = the greenhouse gas emitted in burning the waste per tonne (normalised for CO2 equivalence) g[grid] = the greenhouse gas emitted on average on the grid per Joule (normalised for CO2 equivalence) - this would need to be from initial deposit to combustion and waste disposal. E[waste] = the energy yield in joules per tonne of incinerated waste (G[rec] - G[create]/R) - (G[incin] - (g[grid] x E[waste])) = x x = EXTRA greenhouse gas emission (normalised for CO2 equivalence) caused by incineration. And since it is hugely dependent on g[grid], it will change hugely from country to country. In actual fact it would be extremely beneficial in a largely coal fired grid, but detrimental in an otherwise renewable one. In addition there are feedback loops which aren't modelled, but implied, which exacerbate these tendencies, e.g. in a coal nation, much of the energy required to recycle the waste will require coal station capacity, whilst in a renewable power nation, that energy would have a much lower tonnes of CO2 per Joule. In other words he's fundamentally right: focusing on minimising waste, cleaning the energy generation process, and ensuring that any recycling process must be tested and verified before being implemented are the most important actions. Don't forget that most of our waste recycling is shipped to Asia - hardly the most ecological activity. People on here are too quick to pick a slogan and yell it rather than trying to consider the mess we're all in rationally. I'm beginning to think "bollocks to the lot of you, I'm going to build myself a racing car, get a job in the oil industry and make sure I don't leave anyone behind to go up in flames with your offspring."
J Bower Avatar
J Bower
Posted: 08.04.08, 05:53 PM
Interesting. I don't know if I agree with him. But, interesting.
bkhan2007 Avatar
Posted: 12.19.07, 05:05 PM
I totally agree with Bridgette! Quote: Originally Posted by Bridget Jones Instead of offering a sustainable plan in lieu of his criticisms (which are nonetheless very solid ones), Thomas Deichmann falls into a Foucault-esque mentality in seeing spheres of elitist control masquerading as a progressive stance on a greener planet when it actually stands for a reactionary (not revolutionary) cause: to keep the masses busy basically by "lowering horizons" so to speak in the pettiness of the recycling system that we now have at hand. There are two issues I have with his arguments: 1) If he wishes to leave the issue to the elite and not think about recycling as an issue for all (i.e. the masses), who will keep the elite accountable for a credible balance of powers? 2) With only criticism and no skeletal frame of how any player in society may have an impact on recycling and sustainable green development, he may just be another figure with a lot of bark and no bite.
savageb Avatar
Posted: 12.18.07, 05:21 PM
Deichmann is right that we (the consumer) are responsible for the environmental degradation, therefore are personally responsible, for how we dispose of our waste, as well as adjusting the amount of waste that use on a daily basis. Rinsing of our "yogurt cups" can't take longer than 5 seconds longer than it does to toss it into the trash. However, this elitist attack on the rest of "us", needs a little further justification. After all aren't we all in this together?
alee19 Avatar
Posted: 12.18.07, 05:20 PM
What A Nazi
Burn your trash? Really? He's been sucking chemical fumes off one too many yogurt cups. Next he'll be "recycling" books. At mass rallies, in modern facilities of course, with high-tech filters, where you maybe can even use the energies out of these burning facilities. In Auschwitz.
heybd Avatar
Posted: 12.18.07, 04:10 PM
Not a Waste
If recycling is such a waste of time and money, why are the waste companies willing to pay you to recycle aluminum cans? Because it's cheaper to recycle them than manufacture from scratch. That's also why there are people fishing through garbage cans and dumpsters collecting them, because it makes economic sense to recycle them rather than throw them away. SQUAREHEAD is also right, it would be much more effective to reduce our use of materials in the first place. So much garbage is unnecessary. If things weren't so overpackaged and overproduced, there would be a lot less trash to worry about at the end of the line. It just makes sense to try to minimize your impact on the environment by using as few resources as possible.

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