Skip to comments.Chuck out these green myths
Posted on 11/30/2007 11:18:26 AM PST by redrunner
The whole issue of recycling has been clouded by green ideology. The EU set it targets for increasing recycling back in 1999 without properly questioning whether that is always the best way of disposing of rubbish... Recycling your plastic bottles may make you glow with virtue, but if they have to be carted halfway around the world to be recycled, and then large quantities of energy are consumed in the recyling process, it is far from obvious that you are doing the planet a good turn.
Alternatively, your plastic bottle could be burnt in a power station, its stored energy used to generate electricity that would otherwise require fossil fuels, and the waste heat distributed to local public buildings and homes. This is exactly what happens in the case of the Eastcroft combined heat and power plant, which has been consuming nearly a third of Nottinghamshires waste since it opened in 1973. Further development on waste incinerators in Britain has stalled, however, thanks to the assumption that waste must be recycled at all costs.
In a retrospective attempt to justify the policy on recycling, ... recently asked the Technical University of Denmark to undertake a review of worldwide research on the debate between recycling and incineration and their respective contributions towards greenhouse gas emissions. The review has been quoted by green groups wanting to debunk the myth that recycling isnt all it is cracked up to be. But it fails to debunk anything. Of 37 studies into the issue of paper recycling, for example, six arrived at the conclusion that paper is better incinerated than recycled, and nine indicated it makes little difference environmentally either way. Of 42 studies into plastic recycling, eight concluded that plastic is better incinerated and two said there was little difference.
(Excerpt) Read more at timesonline.co.uk ...
I’ve read that only two forms of recycling have a net positive efficiency:
1. aluminum (principally beverage containers)
2. waste (principally plastics) that is melted/chopped and formed into such things as bus benches.
I have been trying to provide critical judgment to my daughters (8 and 11) about the environment. I will read them this article. The teachers and science material beat the recycling drum hard. The average citizen equates recycling and good. The lack of critical thinking on recycling and other environmental matters is shocking. The lack of critical thinking relates to the central purpose of environmentalism: thinking that you are doing something positive.
Our city went to recycling a few years ago and dropped off a nice new maroon bin for us to sort our glass, aluminium and paper.
Turns out it was going to cost the city MORE for the new program, while at the same time they were laying off garbage sorters as homeowners were taking care of much of their duties.
I immediately got out the power saw and cut the bin into smaller pieces and put the pieces into the neighbor’s nice new maroon bin.
Of course, greeniks don't give a sh!t about that.
Rebuildable items (alternators, starters, etc)?
Though this might be a different discussion.
I refuse to recycle. I won’t work for a recycling company without getting paid.
With current technology, the rest of it is done to make greens happy and companies look concerned.
Although, there was an interesting article in Pop Sci this month about a device that used microwaves to recover petroleum products from things like tires and plastics. Basically, it's just gasification. Technically, it's not recyling, but it's better than putting them in a landfill - might be interesting to see if landfills could be mined? Per the article, it was an energy efficient process, as well.
Struck me as interesting.
Not merely burned to generate electricity, but just about totally annihilated, as in plasma conversion of the trash stream:
The end products are a fuel (syngas, a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen) for powering an electric generation station, or other industrial use, and a glassy slag. One of the by-products is a huge heat generation point, which is in itself a potential power generation opportunity. And all with no residual radioactivity or storage problems with the slag, which may be recycled as aggregate for concrete or roadbuilding material, or which is actually a fairly high-quality ore for further processing to extract the various metallic elements. The process does emit carbon dioxide as an end product, but there is no conflict there - the CO2 supports the process of photosynthesis in growing plants, with the by-product being free oxygen, something that people use every every moment of their lives. Plus the carbohydrates formed, which provide enormous amounts of the very diet of these same people that are breathing up all the oxygen the plants are producing in daylight hours.
I recycle paper into heat.
Give your daughters a project. In my area, they are advertising that we should take our lithium batteries to a recycling center for “recycling”. I would bet that the “recycling” consists of sending the batteries to a hazardous waste facility, not really recycling.
I would bet your 11 yo daughter could really find out where they go.
That was a waste - those bins are the perfect size for storing various shed items. If they have drainage holes, you can use them to cover plants to protect them from bad weather. I'm using mine to hold garden edging, bags of bird seed and small tools.
Out here on the Left Coast we have one trash barrel for trash, one for recyclables and one for gardening trash. Three trucks come and pick these up once a week. All three go to the same dump site and all three dump their stuff in one big pile.
The Republicans put anything they want in any trash can. The Democrats carefully sort theirs into the three bins in order to make themselves feel good about how they are helping Al Gore.
In California we call this progress.
I’m sure tires are included. But the article I (dimly) remember reading, was limited to “household waste” items of the sort we citizens routinely are hectored to recycle, as opposed to bigger items like tires and steel scrap.
Mine are the perfect size to use as snow molds for the snow forts I have built for my kids over the last few years. Since they are tapered, the snow comes right out as one big solid chunk every time. Stacking the blocks three or four high is no big deal. I hope it snows enough this year to put them to good use.