Recycling

A while ago, I watched an episode of P&T’s BS about recycling. It was one of their first episodes and it stuck with me. I did my own research, found that although they do go for entertainment, this was well researched. Their conclusion was that except for aluminum, we don’t need to recycle.

I wondered if Cecil had been asked and he has: http://www.straightdope.com/columns/read/2346/is-recycling-worth-it

Even though Cecil says that we should recycle, as the process helps raise awareness and potential ideas in other areas, I remain unconvinced by his words. Or, perhaps I should say that as an individual, there seems to be little that I can recycle myself that’s actually worth recycling. Only aluminum cans seem to be worth it and currently that’s what I recycle.

I also remained unconvinced by Cecil because in today’s society, when we add something, it sticks around forever and is tough to get rid of it. Therefore, I think it’s better not to start it than to start something that will perpetuate itself long after the need for it is gone. Again, though, maybe that’s more rare than I think it is.

Here are my questions on this subject but certainly welcome any comments! Am I able to do more recycling and I don’t see it? Do others recycle? Are you strict about it? Or only when it is easy to do?

Thanks!

vislor

I think Cecil is spot on in his evaluation. The biggest problem I have with municipal recycling programs is they can miss huge sections of the public. I live in a apartment building, as such there is no city recycling pick up. I have to trash my aluminum cans and other recyclables unless I want to cart it down to the local collection site myself. In urban areas where a good percent of people live in apartments, there can be thousands, maybe millions of people exempted from recycling. The programs biggest plus is awareness. Get people to try and use less as well as recycle more. Make people think about how much they are throwing away. I believe this has lead to the introduction of cloth shopping bags and stores collecting plastic bags for recycling also. As more companies create simpler ways for people to recycle or reduce, this can only get better in the future.

First, thanks for the reply!

Second, I don’t think you intended it but you really highlighted recycling for me. Most people only do it when it’s easy. It’s not that you can’t do it, but it’s a hassle. And everyone agrees that if it is a hassle, it’s okay not to do it.

Third, in general, I agree with making people think about what they are doing and how it affects other things. I merely think that recycling is a bad way to do it.

For example, in the BS episode, recycling most papers and magazines is actually worse because it creates a toxic sludge from the ink. If they use the “environment” friendly ink, it doesn’t print as well and is hard to see. In trying to create something good, we have made things a bit worse instead.

It’s for these, and some other reasons, that I think it merely created an industry where one wasn’t needed. But it was PC and looks like something is being done, even if it isn’t.

More later if I can.

vislor

I’ve also noticed that housing in general is poorly designed for recycling. Spare room for such endeavors simply can’t be found. My house has room for a single tall skinny trash can in the kitchen. Every other square inch of wall is taken up by something ( cabinets, doors, appliances, etc.)

For recycling to be taken seriously, houses will need to be designed to accomodate it. We only recently got a decently sized recycling recepticle. The problem is, nobody uses it because sorting is too much clutter and pain to be feasible in the house. Aluminum cans is about as far as most people take things.

The fact that they changed inks to a non toxic variety I find to be a very positive result. Whether the magazine is recycled or not. I’d rather they put as few toxic chemicals into a landfill as possible.

In some areas- like where I live- it’s a requirement and there are penalties for non-compliance. And it’s a hassle. Glass, plastic and aluminum goes in one bin. Newspaper in another. Clean paper in another (envelopes, etc). Thin cardboard (paper towel tubes, etc) get separated from corrugated cardboard. Every recycling day we haul about 6 different bins to the curb.

They frequently change the rules on us too. As of last week, batteries can now go in the trash (we used to have to put them in a ziploc bag, on the ground, in front of the glass/plastic/aluminum bin). Thin cardboard for *frozen foods * now go in the trash, but other thin cardboards still go in a separate bin.

It’s unbelieveable.

My city has provided 1 large bin (same as trash bin, but green instead of black) for all recyclables, with a list provided on what to include, which is pretty broad. All recyclables go unsorted and unbagged into this 1 bin. All sorting is done at the processing facility.

We get a separate garbage run for recycling - garbage once a week, recycling once every other week on the same day, different trucks.

They have instituted some sort of rebate or awards system. I haven’t checked my balance yet.

It is pretty easy to use, low hassle.

It’s interesting to me, the line where it’s too much hassle.

P&T did a BS experiment and asked someone to use eight different recycling types! Further, they then had them sort some things and see how well she did. This woman was willing to do that. I would not be. (It was differentiating down to “moist foods” and “non moist foods” but still had other categories! Even real stuff gets complicated, it seems!)

Again, I am not against finding “better” ways to do things. I think that is a good thing. I just don’t know that recycling, as it is done now, is really needed. Perhaps for some, this is an awareness. I see it as not efficient.

I don’t see it as necessary. And I am still leaning toward it would have been better if we hadn’t started doing this. But that’s me.

Thanks!

vislor