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Wednesday, March 13, 2019

"The End of Recycling"

Silverfiddle Rant!
When I was stationed in Germany, recycling there was mandatory and the rules were strict.  Paper went in the large bin that was almost the size of a normal American trash bin, metals and plastics in a smaller bin about the size of a kitchen trash can, and Restmüll (non-recyclable scraps) went to a bin about the size of a bathroom wastebasket.  You had to wash and sort everything.  If you mixed in trash or if a recycle bin contained dirty or stinky recycling, you would be fined, or if you were lucky, the garbage men would simply teach you a lesson by dumping the offending material on your doorstep.

My German friends in the small farming village where I lived would remind me, conspiratorially, that the government wasn't really recycling all that stuff.

When we returned to the states, we voluntarily paid our garbage service more money for a recycling bin, but we were shocked at how loose the rules were.  On a few occasions, to our horror, our kids had thrown garbage into the bins, but nobody at the garbage company even batted an eye.

My wife and I have long suspected US recycling was a scam, but then the free market solution came to me: We were paying other countries to take our dirty, garbage-laden and improperly sorted recycling (those bill envelopes with the plastic window? You are supposed to remove that window before putting the envelope in the paper recycling), and those nations taking our recycling paid slave laborers nickels a day to clean it, and then they sold it on the global market.

China's Not Taking our Crap Anymore

The Guardian calls it a Moment of Reckoning.  China will no longer take our dirty recycling, and most of our recycling other than metals and heavy plastics, are unmarketable, making them no better than garbage.  One municipality was selling recycling for $6 a ton, but now must pay $68 to $125 to get rid of it, and its the same all over.

It will be interesting to see how we deal with this challenge. What do you think?

Links:
Is this the End of Recycling?
'Moment of reckoning': US cities burn recyclables after China bans imports

22 comments:

  1. An informative piece where, at its conclusion, you realize that there is nothing you can do about it. Nothing is ever thrown away, of course. We simply take it from one place and put it somewhere else. I’ve always thought that recycling meant that: take a plastic container, put it in the recycling bin (clean), melt it down, and make another. As for the non-recycling refuse, Florida is building mountains with it along I-95 and I-4. They’re hard to miss; they’re the only mountains in Florida. I’d always imagined that one day, very rich golfers and Hollywood elite would live atop them.

    Aside from building mountains, I have no solutions. I was unaware that China had been purchasing our refuse. Maybe the companies that manufacture plastic toothpaste tubes should be responsible for them, or we could return to the good old days when we used tooth powder that came in recyclable tins (they were good for storing buttons, too). Or we could stop cleaning our teeth. There are no easy solutions to complex problems, but maybe the president will create a Department of Trash and a Secretary to run it. That should solve the problem—or we could do as they do in England: throw it out along the side of the road.

    ReplyDelete
  2. From the way you desctribed living in Germany, Silver, it seems apparent the Germans never really got over being NAZI'S. I would HATE to live there, because I am a natural-born libertarian as far as my personal life and conduct is concerned.

    I make a point of living beautifully and graciously, but only because I WANT to, and am willing to make the neessary sacrifices to make sure I do. HOWEVER, I do NOT like being TOLD what to do with MY property by arbitrary ignoramuses with generally poor taste and worse judgment who happen to hold positions of authority.

    At any rate I, personally, am ANTI-PLASTIC., and would do whatever i could to make sure most of what we use is either bio-degradable, or permanently reusable.

    I also favor the French custom of keeping a supply of reusable expandable NET shopping bags to bring to the grocery store.

    I do care about "the beaches in Bermuda" being covered with plastic bags, and marine life being adversly affected by ingested bits of plastic waste material, and all that.

    BUT, I REFUSE to segregate my garbage. At my age and in my present condition it's a hardship I'm unwilling to bear, so EVERYTHING goes into ONE black plastic garbage bag, with very few exceptions.

    Back when i did a lot of gardening I used to compost all the uneaten food. No more, because I don't work outdoors now.

    I miss burning leaves we raked off the lawn in fall, they smelled wonderful as they burned away in the street in front of our house. aI also miss having my own incinerator back when I lived on acreage.

    I also miss bringing glass bottles back to the store to collect MONEY on each That was FUN.

    Two things disappeared in the nineteen-SICK-sties –– Good taste and Common Sense, and oh how we suffer for their lack!.

    ReplyDelete
  3. From the MSN link:

    For now, it’s still often cheaper for companies to manufacture using new materials than recycled ones.

    The dirty, little secret, huh?

    Looks to me as if all this save-the-environment-and-recycle is impractical -- and nonsensical.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Government nudges that include government money incentives perversely wreck the very market that we want to create.

      Government financial incentives = incentivize economically stupid behavior.

      Delete
  4. Please. The practice of recycling was adopted merely to make environmentalist believe that we were actually doing something to fight wasteful consumerism. They are "activists" NOT "thinking people".

    It's like our trash-to-steam "green" energy. Nothing burns dirtier than a bunch of wet scraps of recyclables... yet the Left counts it as a "green energy" source just so they can feel good about meeting their energy targets from "renewables".

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Oh, I don't know. Personally, I always thought the creators and producers of SOYLENT GREEN were really onto something.

      Not ONE SCRAP of organic matter should EVER be wasted! I'm sure we could easily learn to love Quenelles carrion, Ragout de corpse jeune et tendre Bourgeon, Salade aux cimitiere, and Cadaverburgers.Would certainly new meaning to Sole bonne femme, n'est-ce-pas?

      ];^}> heh heh heh!

      Delete
    2. Joe,
      Nothing burns dirtier than a bunch of wet scraps of recyclables.

      One of those inconvenient facts!

      Delete
    3. Why, AOW! Don't you want to help save the planet while preserving the shrinking availbility of REAL ESTATE for the LIVING by eating a steady diet of Cadverburgers?

      Don't WASTE it, EAT it!

      That should become our national motto.

      };^)>

      Delete
    4. ...all those artificial sweetners, ya know...

      Delete
    5. Franco,
      My carbon footprint is ridiculously low. So, I've done all I'm gonna do for the environment.

      Delete
    6. Maybe you should work for CIA. I hear that the Steele dossier and whole Russia-Russia investigation may have been John Brennan recycling CIA intelligence product... who knows, maybe you could UP that footprint a bit.

      Delete
    7. Nelie OHR? Gloriosky! What a hopeless Plain Jane SHE is!

      Definitely NOT worth recycling.

      Best consigned to OBLIVION asap.

      Delete
  5. Not to worry. According to our new Savant in Congress, it will all be over in 12 years...

    ReplyDelete
  6. Recycling won't go away.
    It a religion promulgated by the government.
    They will never renounce their belief.

    ReplyDelete
  7. FA - totally understand. I am about to close my compost bins. Put 30 years of healthy 'garbage' back into the soil.

    Many believe a lot of the rationing in WW2 was to remind people everyone had to do their part. How true is that? Not sure. But it's an effective campaign. Remember when boy scouts did newspaper drives? Then the bottom fell out of the market. I think one reason it's almost impossible to find all cotton casual tops anymore in places like Old Navy is that someone IS melting down all that plastic and dumping it back into our clothes. Why else would something as uncomfortable as polyester have found a resurgence in garments?

    ReplyDelete
  8. I have always been a proponent of recycling. It seemed to make sense, and hopefully the industry had figured out a way to make it pay.

    Wrong. Thanks for pointing this out.

    It seems that what we are really doing is paying other countries to dump our garbage into the oceans instead of doing it ourselves. The obvious thing for us is to get rid of the middle-men, but we would not have that old feel-good thing about protecting the environment.

    There are solutions, but I don't think we would be willing to pay for them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Bob,
      There are solutions, but I don't think we would be willing to pay for them.

      Ir would be interesting for me to know how many of my liberal friends would actually be willing to pay an environmental tax dedicated to the cost of recycling.

      Here in Northern Virginia, we do have an amount added to our real-estate tax for leaf vacuuming in certain neighborhoods so that leaves put at the curb are supposedly ground into mulch. I happen to live in one such neighborhood. There is nothing voluntary about the amount added, and I'd be interested to know if it's less expensive to have my leaf-raking service do the vacuuming and grinding. In my own situation, I don't really need the vacuuming service; the raked leaves could be dumped in my back lot, a wooded lot.

      Delete

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