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The waste of recycling
Boston Globe ^ | September 22, 2010 | Jeff Jacoby

Posted on 09/22/2010 10:15:22 AM PDT by reaganaut1

...

Most of the stuff we throw out — aluminum cans are an exception — is cheaper to replace from scratch than to recycle. “Cheaper’’ is another way of saying “requires fewer resources.’’ Green evangelists believe that recycling our trash is “good for the planet’’ — that it conserves resources and is more environmentally friendly. But recycling household waste consumes resources, too.

Extra trucks are required to pick up recyclables, and extra gas to fuel those trucks, and extra drivers to operate them. Collected recyclables have to be sorted, cleaned, and stored in facilities that consume still more fuel and manpower; then they have to be transported somewhere for post-consumer processing and manufacturing. Add up all the energy, time, emissions, supplies, water, space, and mental and physical labor involved, and mandatory recycling turns out to be largely unsustainable — an environmental burden, not a boon.

“Far from saving resources,’’ Benjamin writes, “curbside recycling typically wastes resources — resources that could be used productively elsewhere in society.’’

Popular impressions to the contrary notwithstanding, we are not running out of places to dispose of garbage. Not only is US landfill capacity at an all-time high, but all of the country’s rubbish for the next 100 years could comfortably fit into a landfill measuring 10 miles square. Benjamin puts that in perspective: “Ted Turner’s Flying D ranch outside Bozeman, Mont., could handle all of America’s trash for the next century — with 50,000 acres left over for his bison.’’

Nor do modern landfills — which are regulated by the Environmental Protection Agency — pose a threat to human health or the environment. They must be sited far from wetlands and groundwater, thickly lined with clay and plastic, covered daily with fresh layers of soil, and equipped for drawing off the methane gas

(Excerpt) Read more at boston.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Editorial
KEYWORDS: jeffjacoby; recycling
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I think Jacoby makes sense, but he's pissed off many Globe readers, judging by the comments section.
1 posted on 09/22/2010 10:15:24 AM PDT by reaganaut1
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To: reaganaut1

Union jobs. In right to work states those 3 man crews are replaced by a automated system on a truck.


2 posted on 09/22/2010 10:17:34 AM PDT by EQAndyBuzz (Remember March 23, 1775. Remember March 23, 2010)
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To: reaganaut1

Recycling is not about saving money or the environment. Never was.


3 posted on 09/22/2010 10:19:50 AM PDT by umgud (Obama is a failed experiment.)
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To: EQAndyBuzz
Use prison labor for sorting.

Or just burn everything that will burn as power plant fuel.

4 posted on 09/22/2010 10:22:21 AM PDT by hoosierham (Waddaya mean Freedom isn't free ?;will you take a credit card?)
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To: reaganaut1

I imagine on another note that if he Cap and Tax legislation gets through on any sort of relation to what is now concieved that all the heat generating recycling processes will have to be killed off due to carbon emmission standards.

I was talking to a fellow involved in cement making operations where they “clinker” the raw material to make cement. Where most of these operations have been concerned with fuel usage and certain pollutants in what they have built new in the last two decades the carbon standards are basically going to be unachievable for those idustries — no modifications will get them outside the limits they are confined to.

If you can’t clinker cement and you can’t fire brick, construction costs are going through the roof and these materials will be made in the third world for import only.


5 posted on 09/22/2010 10:23:18 AM PDT by KC Burke
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To: reaganaut1
I think Jacoby makes sense, but he's pissed off many Globe readers, judging by the comments section.

That's evidence that he's right.

6 posted on 09/22/2010 10:23:29 AM PDT by SamuraiScot
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To: reaganaut1
You wouldn't believe the rancor I got quite a few years back from so very many Freepers who were raised in the recycling religion.

It stunned me so much that I have saved the link. I can't wait for the day when we turn the corner and people start realizing what left wing symbolic cause recycling is.

http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-news/925961/posts

7 posted on 09/22/2010 10:23:42 AM PDT by ElkGroveDan (Now can we forget about that old rum-runner Joe Kennedy and his progeny of philandering drunks?)
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To: reaganaut1

As long as they charge me additional for recycling (in my part of Indiana we don’t have govt trash companies) I’ll let them take it in the regular trash.

I do donate alum cans and paper to the local church school.


8 posted on 09/22/2010 10:29:22 AM PDT by nascarnation
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To: ElkGroveDan

Saving a thread from 2003? That must have really ticked you off! I’m off to read it now.


9 posted on 09/22/2010 10:29:38 AM PDT by Patriotic1 (Dic mihi solum facta, domina - Just the facts, ma'am)
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To: ElkGroveDan

Other than scrapping metal and melting it down, I’ve never seen that much in recycling myself. I used to work (believing some midwestern liars/crooks) for an electonics and computer recycler/reseller. Most of it is so bogus and wasteful.


10 posted on 09/22/2010 10:30:47 AM PDT by wally_bert (It's sheer elegance in its simplicity! - The Middleman)
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To: reaganaut1

There are things that were recycled before recycling was “cool”; metals and paper/cardboard - it makes sense to continue recycling those.

Also glass bottles that were returned, cleaned and refilled.

Everything else - forget it.


11 posted on 09/22/2010 10:34:15 AM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: reaganaut1

Bookmark.


12 posted on 09/22/2010 10:34:56 AM PDT by Sergio (If a tree fell on a mime in the forest, would he make a sound?)
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To: ElkGroveDan

I read your thread from ‘03. Thank God. I thought I was the only one that felt this way. Garbage is garbage, trash is trash. I pay for collection. Collect it and STFU. You wanna dig around in it and tsk tsk about how irresponsible I am, be my guest. At the end of the day though, it’s $hit. Feel free to wallow in it...


13 posted on 09/22/2010 10:37:28 AM PDT by Paisan
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To: reaganaut1
I read the first screen of comments. Yup, he's not very well liked. :-)

Generally when you're on target, you catch flak.

He's right. Metals are recyclable - particularly aluminum, as its manufacture is such an energy-intensive process.

Glass is to a certain degree, but less than metal. Plastic and Paper.....well, they're recyclable in good times. When people and companies are willing to pay more money for a lesser product so that they can "feel good" about "being green". Otherwise, it just winds up in a landfill with everything else.

'Tis non-PC to point out that these things are more about FEEEEEEEEEEEELings, and less about reality, though.

In my old hometown, they sent out a specific list of what could and couldn't be recycled, and how to do it. Included were "tin cans, thoroughly rinsed". I draw the line at washing my garbage. Into the trash they went.

Guy I work with is an enviro-nut. His nose was seriously out of joint about his town...they discontinued recycling pickup because it wasn't cost effective. I naively told him, "Don't sweat it, there's a recycling pickup place up the road from where I live (would be 20 min or so from where we both work). I know the guy who runs it. I'll get you directions and ask when it's open."

Cow-orker's indignant response? "I'm not going to drive all the way out there to recycle!!!! They should come to ME." Thus proving that it's less about 'doing the right thing' and more about him. As I suspected all along. :-)

14 posted on 09/22/2010 10:38:25 AM PDT by wbill
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To: hoosierham

“Or just burn everything that will burn as power plant fuel.”

The greenies tried that one already. They found out they had to use natural gas to generate enough heat to run the generator and burn the trash. Seems waste paper (read newsprint) was unable to burn hot enough. Funny. Then mandated recycling of newsprint, killing a once stable but small market for used newsprint, then mandated buring it to generate electricity, only to find out that they built a gas fired generator that can also burn waste. Don’t know how this qualifies as “recycling”? Seems like my Grandmother burning the trash in backyard using kerosene. I guess we are modern now!!


15 posted on 09/22/2010 10:38:31 AM PDT by equalitybeforethelaw
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To: DuncanWaring
Also glass bottles that were returned, cleaned and refilled.

Sadly glass bottles are one of those things that it does not make sense to reuse. The cost to haul them back and clean them wipes out any savings you might get from recycling.

Also sometimes the cleaning doesn't quite work. That can result in the end of your company.

16 posted on 09/22/2010 10:40:02 AM PDT by Harmless Teddy Bear (The Doctrine of Nachofication: The belief that everything tastes better with melted cheese.)
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To: reaganaut1

Can it be? Have people started to realize that the emperor is wearing no clothes?

The rule of thumb is: if it doesn’t pay, it is not more efficient to recycle. It is not “greener,” unless there is actually a cost savings.

Economics actually makes it plain.

Penn and Teller have a great episode on recycling, if you can get over the torrents of profanity. Available on youtube.


17 posted on 09/22/2010 10:40:09 AM PDT by Persevero (Homeschooling for Excellence since 1992)
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To: KC Burke
these materials will be made in the third world for import only

And that makes even less sense, ensuring that it WILL be done. Third world industry is less efficient, more polluting, more inhumane. Transporting a load of bricks halfway around the world is also crazy.

18 posted on 09/22/2010 10:41:56 AM PDT by Right Wing Assault (The Obama magic is <strike>fading</strike>gone.)
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To: reaganaut1
an old woman in a conical Vietnamese hat, making the rounds in my neighborhood the night before our weekly trash pickup. She is out in all kinds of weather, checking the bins that residents have set out on the curb, helping herself to the aluminum cans

In the neighborhood where I make homebase when I am in in Việt Nam garbage is purely a private enterprise thing. There is a lot of modern packaging plastic and such so it is not all burned or buried or put on the fields as in the past. At Thông's house once a week a lady comes on a bicycle with a big sack tied to the front of it. She and Kim Anh haggle a bit over the pile of refuse and the lady offers a price for that which is resalable and that price is reduced by the disvalue of the nonsalable stuff that will also be removed. The deal is made and the trash is loaded up and goes away to be "recycled." Of course there are not the great piles of refuse that Americans produce because there is much consumption going on and everything that can be used for something else in the family is used.

19 posted on 09/22/2010 10:44:41 AM PDT by ThanhPhero (di tray hoi den La Vang)
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To: reaganaut1
I like George Carlin's take on the whole enviro-thingy.

The five cent version goes something like this;

Earth is a living organism that is capable of producing a great many things. However, Earth cannot produce plastics. So, Earth decided to change things ever so slightly so that man could rise to be the dominant species and produce plastics. Now that we have done this, Earth has introduced pathogens and diseases to our environment that will eradicate us, much like a body rids itself of toxins.

20 posted on 09/22/2010 10:45:54 AM PDT by Bloody Sam Roberts (A fearless person cannot be controlled.)
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To: reaganaut1

And despite PROPERTY OF THE CITY OF LOS ANGELES printed on the containers, just think of how many bums would be out of the pilfering business.


21 posted on 09/22/2010 10:47:43 AM PDT by onedoug
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To: ElkGroveDan

So recycling threads is good!


22 posted on 09/22/2010 10:48:50 AM PDT by ThomasThomas (Yes, I know)
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To: DuncanWaring

I think paper has overloaded the system. I have heard that the big cities have warehouses full of newspapers to be recycled with no takers. My father-in-law was a chemical engineer at a paper mill and he once said that old newsprint is a useful addition to the mix but at only a certain percentage. I don’t remember what it was but it was not half.I remember being surprised that it was so low. I had been zealous for recycling and finding out things like that dampened my enthusiasm.Now when I hear local pols hustling a recycling ordinance I know that they will have to raise taxes to pay for it.


23 posted on 09/22/2010 10:52:40 AM PDT by ThanhPhero (di tray hoi den La Vang)
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To: wbill
In my old hometown, they sent out a specific list of what could and couldn't be recycled, and how to do it. Included were "tin cans, thoroughly rinsed". I draw the line at washing my garbage. Into the trash they went.

My town didn't start recycling cans/bottles until they installed water meters on most of the homes. Then came the 'rinse thoroughly' newletters - Yeah, OK....NOT

24 posted on 09/22/2010 10:53:56 AM PDT by libertarian27 (Ingsoc: Department of Life, Department of Liberty, Department of Happiness)
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To: reaganaut1; Aardvark111; ACK ACK; Al Koa; Angel of Beth; another_bot_for_W; ApeNipples; axe2grin...

I see my hands' True Life Trivia
Low Volume Ping List
On? Off? Private Reply Please

Per popular demand I've registered at Cabelas but, again, really not necessary.

Two years ago I did a friend a solid by filling in as resident manager (janitor) at his condo complex in Kauai for a few weeks. My day started at 6:00 AM and after a few duties and much talking story I was in my unit listening to Rush by 9:00 AM and off to the beach by noon.

In the lobby was one of those "activities brochure racks." I saw, one day, this Twig Boy who was renting a unit for a week on floor 5 take a brochure. I thought nothing of it until the next day when I was emptying the 5th floor trash room and found the brochure that Twig Boy had taken in the paper recycling bin.

He took the brochure, weighting down the elevator with it as he brought it to his floor. Then, instead of taking it back to the lobby he puts it in the 5th floor trash room paper recycle bin and expected someone to drive it somewhere, ship it somewhere, drive it to a plant to be made into what it already is i.e. paper, reprint it, then move it thousands of miles to retake its place in some other activities brochure rack.

Of course, I dumped all the paper, glass, and plastic from their recycle bins into the trash dumpster as a matter of practice during my stint.


25 posted on 09/22/2010 10:55:43 AM PDT by I see my hands (Unintentionally not left blank)
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To: Persevero

“Penn and Teller have a great episode on recycling, if you can get over the torrents of profanity.”

Believe it or not, the notion that “recycling is garbage” was printed in the NYTimes more than 15 years ago:
http://www.williams.edu/HistSci/curriculum/101/garbage.html
It’s the sanitized version of the arguments made more colorfully by Penn and Teller.


26 posted on 09/22/2010 11:00:54 AM PDT by DrC
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To: Harmless Teddy Bear

I do recall once, forty-odd years ago, we came across a bottled drink that contained what appeared to be a stamp someone had cut off the corner of an envelope.

My dad just put the bottle in his closet as a curiosity to show to people.

Sadly, today, most people would look at that piece of paper and say “Winning Lottery Ticket!”.


27 posted on 09/22/2010 11:10:58 AM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: EQAndyBuzz
In right to work states those 3 man crews are replaced by a automated system on a truck.

Where I live, there's always cars parked on the street, so there's really no place to put a wheeled cart for the automated truck to pick it up. So, they usually have two guys on the truck, one driving, one to jump out and move the cart to a position that the truck can grab it. Then after they empty it, they leave the cart laying in the street. This is repeated three times on pick up day...one truck for trash, one truck for recyclables, and a third truck for yard clippings.

28 posted on 09/22/2010 11:11:08 AM PDT by shorty_harris
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To: ThanhPhero

“Now when I hear local pols hustling a recycling ordinance I know that they will have to raise taxes to pay for it.”

That’s the general progression - first it’s voluntary, then it’s mandatory, then they make you pay for it.


29 posted on 09/22/2010 11:14:42 AM PDT by PLMerite (Fix the clock. It's time.)
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To: Harmless Teddy Bear
The cost to haul them back and clean them wipes out any savings you might get from recycling.

I would think the cost to haul them back would be pretty low, as the distributor's truck has to go back to the bottling plant anyway.

I would also think that the cost of cleaning them would be less than the cost of melting sand to make new bottles.

30 posted on 09/22/2010 11:19:59 AM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: ThanhPhero

I’m surprised the various “thermal depolymerization” outfits aren’t going through paper and plastic bottles by the trainload, cranking out oil by the megabarrel.


31 posted on 09/22/2010 11:23:34 AM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: reaganaut1

To the left, recyclying is the foundation of environmental religion and economics. Anyone who questions the economics and net environmental benefits of recyclying is a heretic. To assert that the benefits of recylcing depend on the item recycled and the manner of recycling seems common sense except to the left. If the public questioned recycling, a pillar of the environmental movement would be shaken. Kids are brain washed about recycling from early childhood.

The left refuses to critically examine recycling programs. The practice of separate pickup and processing for recycling eliminate many of the benefits. Products like paper and plastics have dubious recycling net benefits as compared to alternatives. Trees are renewable resources so why should we focus on recycling. A rational look at recycling would emphasize decreasing costs change the cost-benefit ratio. The left has determined that curbside recycling is the only way to recycle. The left has determined the products to recycle.

Municipal budgets speak otherwise. Recycling costs are a substantial drag on municipal budgets. Individuals do not want to pay much higher garbage collection fees for dubious recycling benefits.

Hazardous materials are another story. They should not be discarded in landfills.


32 posted on 09/22/2010 11:25:05 AM PDT by businessprofessor
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To: Paisan
dont have time for the old thread right now, but the garbage/landfill dilema is a joke...

the local fill has been runnin daily, truck after truck full, everyday, all day, for 25 yrs that im aware of...

ground level height has increased a bit, but even the next 100 yrs the jets will still be taking off unimpeded...

33 posted on 09/22/2010 11:28:49 AM PDT by Gilbo_3 (Gov is not reason; not eloquent; its force.Like fire,a dangerous servant & master. George Washington)
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To: ElkGroveDan
"rancor"

I've been making similar comments for years. People fail to look at the big picture. I remember twenty years ago listening to a liberal geography prof. He did a study that came to the same conclusion as this Benjamin guy. And my geography prof was a lib, proponent of AGW. But at least he was honest.

34 posted on 09/22/2010 11:35:26 AM PDT by driftless2 (For long-term happiness, learn how to play the accordion.)
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To: wbill
"thoroughly rinsed"

I always chuckle about that one. My township has the same guidelines. These are probably the same people who gnash their teeth about water being wasted in flushing toilets.

35 posted on 09/22/2010 11:38:22 AM PDT by driftless2 (For long-term happiness, learn how to play the accordion.)
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To: umgud
Recycling is not about saving money or the environment. Never was.

Nope, it's about making yourself feel like a good person.

36 posted on 09/22/2010 11:48:17 AM PDT by Red Boots
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To: reaganaut1

We don’t have curb side recycling. We do have weekly trash pickup available. Our recycling center accepts sorted and delabled products.

We just collect it and drop it off when we happen to be going right by it - no extra trips. I recycle everything I can, I rinse the cans and stuff so they don’t stink while it is waiting. That way, I don’t have to use the weekly trash service. We use the cash received to buy Hubby’s work boots about once a year.

This also saves me about $30.00 per month which I use to pay for the internet and some telephone services. LOL.


37 posted on 09/22/2010 11:52:17 AM PDT by greeneyes (Moderation in defense of your country is NO virtue. Let Freedom Ring.)
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To: reaganaut1

Here in my little California community I call the blue recycling bin the “Sopranos Bin.” That’s because the recycling business, just like Tony Soprano’s garbage business in the TV series, is a racket. The socialists who run my town happily participate because they’re in on the “take.” Not only do they enjoy ever-increasing revenues (the recycling fee goes up about every year) but it allows them to grab more and more control over their “bosses,” the taxpayers. Most of the city’s “recycling” goes right to the landfill.


38 posted on 09/22/2010 12:18:09 PM PDT by Bernard Marx (I don’t trust the reasoning of anyone who writes then when they mean than.)
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To: umgud
It's all about people's feeeeelings

They feel good about themselves because they think they're doing something good. While the government laughs all the way to the bank.

39 posted on 09/22/2010 12:20:34 PM PDT by dfwgator (Rangers Magic Number - 6)
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To: Bloody Sam Roberts

“Why are we here? Plastic...a-hole!”


40 posted on 09/22/2010 12:21:51 PM PDT by dfwgator (Rangers Magic Number - 6)
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To: equalitybeforethelaw
“Or just burn everything that will burn as power plant fuel.”

The greenies tried that one already. They found out they had to use natural gas to generate enough heat to run the generator and burn the trash. Seems waste paper (read newsprint) was unable to burn hot enough. Funny.

The Germans managed to get that to work - the waste feed just has to include a certain amount of... plastic.

41 posted on 09/22/2010 1:14:13 PM PDT by Oztrich Boy (Pardon him...he is a barbarian, and thinks that the customs of his tribe ... are the laws of nature)
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To: ElkGroveDan

bump


42 posted on 09/22/2010 1:23:03 PM PDT by gibsosa
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To: DuncanWaring

melting sand is very cheap


43 posted on 09/22/2010 1:30:54 PM PDT by hecht (TAKE BACK OUR NATION AND OUR NATIONAL ANTHEM)
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To: reaganaut1

Much recycling is just feel good nonsense. Much glass/plastic doesn’t get recycled and in fact ends up in the dump.
The most green action is to not use disposables, and to have a home composter.


44 posted on 09/22/2010 1:35:19 PM PDT by hecht (TAKE BACK OUR NATION AND OUR NATIONAL ANTHEM)
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To: reaganaut1

Much recycling is just feel good nonsense. Much glass/plastic doesn’t get recycled and in fact ends up in the dump.
The most green action is to not use disposables, and to have a home composter.


45 posted on 09/22/2010 1:35:22 PM PDT by hecht (TAKE BACK OUR NATION AND OUR NATIONAL ANTHEM)
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To: ElkGroveDan

Well that was enlightening :-) Funny how lots of us bought into that crap a few years back, isn’t it.

When our city went to recycling, I really resented being forced to have two huge, stinky trashcans cluttering up the garage. We didn’t have to accept the recyling can but we HAD TO pay for it.

If one accumulated enough warnings for putting non-recyclables in the recyclable can - they would remove the can would still bill for it, and a second “regular” garbage can was very expensive.

Glad I moved.


46 posted on 09/22/2010 1:38:59 PM PDT by T Minus Four (Hey Glenn Beck: call Todd Friel!!! (Oh never mind, we know the answer now))
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To: hecht

Not as cheap as heating water.


47 posted on 09/22/2010 1:45:50 PM PDT by DuncanWaring (The Lord uses the good ones; the bad ones use the Lord.)
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To: DuncanWaring

heating, washing , sterilizing etc. also some glass has lead or other chemicals to give it pigment that prohibit recycling.


48 posted on 09/22/2010 1:48:22 PM PDT by hecht (TAKE BACK OUR NATION AND OUR NATIONAL ANTHEM)
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To: reaganaut1
Well, yes. Jacoby attacked the liberal religion. Recycling is a liberal religious ritual, maybe even a sacrament, dedicated in worship to the Great God of Me. By wasting resources in recycling, they are saying "Hey, look at how good I am! Worship Me!

Illustrated by the recent news (Not a joke) that a Lutheran ELCA seminary had a ritual of blessing for a compost bin. Case closed.

49 posted on 09/22/2010 2:41:57 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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To: hoosierham
Or just burn everything that will burn as power plant fuel.

By the time you get that past the green weenies of the local EPA, you will have to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to make sure the incinerator is "clean." Way greener to just dump it in a landfill and scrape a foot of dirt over it.

50 posted on 09/22/2010 2:44:52 PM PDT by hinckley buzzard
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