Recycling Problems

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Aristotleded24
Recycling Problems

Issues with volume, consumption, and shipping to third world countries:

Quote:

For decades, we were sending the bulk of our recycling to China—tons and tons of it, sent over on ships to be made into goods such as shoes and bags and new plastic products. But in 2018, the country restricted imports of certain recyclables, including mixed paper—magazines, office paper, junk mail—and most plastics. Waste-management companies across the country are telling towns, cities, and counties that there is no longer a market for their recycling. These municipalities have two choices: pay much higher rates to get rid of recycling, or throw it all away.

Most are choosing the latter. “We are doing our best to be environmentally responsible, but we can’t afford it,” said Judie Milner, the city manager of Franklin, New Hampshire. Since 2010, Franklin has offered curbside recycling and encouraged residents to put paper, metal, and plastic in their green bins. When the program launched, Franklin could break even on recycling by selling it for $6 a ton. Now, Milner told me, the transfer station is charging the town $125 a ton to recycle, or $68 a ton to incinerate. One-fifth of Franklin’s residents live below the poverty line, and the city government didn’t want to ask them to pay more to recycle, so all those carefully sorted bottles and cans are being burned. Milner hates knowing that Franklin is releasing toxins into the environment, but there’s not much she can do. “Plastic is just not one of the things we have a market for,” she said.

The same thing is happening across the country. Broadway, Virginia, had a recycling program for 22 years, but recently suspended it after Waste Management told the town that prices would increase by 63 percent, and then stopped offering recycling pickup as a service. “It almost feels illegal, to throw plastic bottles away,” the town manager, Kyle O’Brien, told me.

Without a market for mixed paper, bales of the stuff started to pile up in Blaine County, Idaho; the county eventually stopped collecting it and took the 35 bales it had hoped to recycle to a landfill. The town of Fort Edward, New York, suspended its recycling program in July 2018 and admitted it had actually been taking recycling to an incinerator for months. Determined to hold out until the market turns around, the nonprofit Keep Northern Illinois Beautiful has collected 400,000 tons of plastic. But for now, it is piling the bales behind the facility where it collects plastic.

This end of recycling comes at a time when the United States is creating more waste than ever. In 2015, America generated 262.4 million tons of waste, up 4.5 percent from 2010 and 60 percent from 1985. That amounts to nearly five pounds per person a day. New York City collected 934 tons of metal, plastic, and glass a day from residents in. 2018, a 33 percent increase from 2013.

kropotkin1951

They miss the obvious solution. I am so old and cynical I have to post stuff that shows these problems have been the same for decades. The Atlantic piece misses the problem so it misses the solution.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZesRAo5PBg

Aristotleded24

kropotkin1951 wrote:

They miss the obvious solution. I am so old and cynical I have to post stuff that shows these problems have been the same for decades. The Atlantic piece misses the problem so it misses the solution.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0ZesRAo5PBg

Nowhere do I see this more than with our attitude towards technological devices. It used to be that you had a landline that went into the same house. Maybe some people had different lines, but people were fine with that. Then tech advertisers convinced people that they all needed cell phones, and now multiple people in the same household all have their own individual cell phones. Why? Doesn't that seem like a wasteful practice? That to me seems to be part of the overall consumerist mentality that is driving up demand for resources that environmentalists have been speaking about for decades. Why, when you are driving somewhere to pick up your kid to take him or her home, do you need to text your kid when you arrive? Just say to your kid in advance, "I'll pick you up at such-and-such a time," no cell phone needed, and you save money not only on the devices but the data plans as well.

Aristotleded24

Why green energy isn't necessarily so

What I find noteworthy is where the article talks about all the resources necessary do to the renewable transition. Let's set aside for a minute the terrible human rights, labour, and environmental record of mining companies, which rabble.ca has long documented. With mining companies expanding their reach, that will bring more novel pandemic viruses like what we are currently experiencing with coronavirus.