I have often wondered this since recycling is so reported in the world as being important. Since visiting the local recycling drop off it seems few people actually recycle.
We have bags for our recycled rubbish which we place outside our homes on a weekly basis- there are lots of bags- i usually have a t least three
Recycling does make a significant difference. Nearly everybody recycles in my neighborhood. Recycled materials are re-used instead of going into landfills. We compost our organic food waste and put it into the garden.
Recycling is a mining operation, that rather than pulling materials from the Earth, pulls them from the waste stream. It may be a less intensive form of material acquisition, it hasn't really altered any of our patterns of over-consumption, nor has it really put much of a dent in our overall impact on the land.
It serves some purpose through education and awareness, but ultimately it has done next to nothing in terms of slowing down the machine that is devouring the world. I agree with Peelander. We need fairly significant shifts in fundamental consumption patterns and energy production. Recycling in practice is mostly business as usual.
Recycling may seem like a small thing but I read one interesting statistic that put it all in perspective.
Did you know that if every office worker in Australia used one less staple every day, it would save 3 tonnes of steel a year. And there's only 22 million of us.
I know that's not recycling, but it does illustrate why you recycling a handful of bottles CAN make a huge difference - because you're one of millions of people doing just that. True, there are millions NOT doing it - but just think how bad it would be if everyone gave up.
Recycling, in both ways, make us feel better while making a significant contribution to the stymieing of pollution.
Well, of course, if we don't perceive our recycling efforts as significant, why we would be feeling better? It is a just a concomitant.
Rambler: When they were first invented and developed, few people used horseless carriages..... Look how THAT took off, after a while...
Re-cycling is a sensible function and more/all people should do it, whenever they are able...
From reports I've read and seen on documentaries, recycling shouldn't be an option.
I recycle and have cut back on buying certain kinds of products and never buy a newspaper anymore. I don't know if I necessarily feel better, but I would love to see more blue bags out on recycling pick up days.
My refuse company recycles everything except food waste, napkins and paper towels, and to include yard waste.
There are lots of things that go to landfill sites that should be sent elsewhere. We are running out of possible options for landfill sites as I live on a small island (known as the UK).
Even though we get collections of materials that can be re-cycled the list of the things that they collect is not that great. I send almost nothing to landfill that can be put in the re-cycle bin, sent to a charity/thrift shop or can be put to make compost.
The kids of the future have enough of our problems to sort out without us making life even more difficult for them.
We have a large blue bin for recycling paper tin cans and plastic bottles, plus another smaller one for glass and yet another one for all food waste. One week, the recycling and food bin is collected, the next week general rubbish bin, food bin and glass.
I am a big believer in recycling and things are definitely so much better than they used to be. However, the downside of recycling schemes is when you turn on the TV to see a documentary showing you that all to often, large amounts of the West's recycling ends up on dumps in India (just one example), just sitting there, not being made into anything else and having used the earth's resources to be taken there.
Of course, recycling is also used in the way it should be, but sadly not always so. And the recycling of electrical goods is even worse, because it is often worthless and ends up in Africa where children scavange on dangerous and toxic tips, just trying to find something of value.
But I still believe in it and it still has it's good points.
Sending waste to India and China makes more sense than you might think. The huge container ships that bring goods to the West from these countries would return there empty-handed otherwise, so they might as well go back with *something*. And if there is a genuine market for our waste, then why not?
I don't think they recycle in China. That's part of why Bush wouldn't sign the last Geneva agreement. China exempted themselves from having to abide by rules regarding pollution and manufacturing.
They do recycle, they just do it privately. If Mr Yao and his ilk can buy waste cardboard, turn it into packaging/egg boxes or whatever and sell it on, then they will. And good luck to 'em, say I.
Absolutely, if there is a market for it. But I just remember seeing a programme on TV where they traced recycling from the UK to a rubbish tip in India. It definitely wasn't being used for anything worthwhile.
Perhaps they do use some of it, I don't really know, or maybe we all just have far too much rubbish to get rid of even with recycling. I think it makes us feel good to recycle, but just sticking something in a recycling bin does not always mean it will be used again. For us, though, it is out of sight, out of mind.
Actually, I live in a different county to my mother, who can recycle in her household bins any plastic she likes. In my bin I can only put plastic bottles, and even this is relatively new. At a recycling exhibition in the city centre a while back, I asked why Norfolk does not recycle all this other plastic, when we have one of the largest Green Party followings in the country. I was told that Norfolk only recycles items that can be used locally.
Yes, it seems pointless to send waste out to India if it's not going to be used. I wonder whether someone "real" is actually buying it, or if it's some weird government-to-government thing.
I confess I am baffled by our local council's recycling policy and I am very cynical about whether the stuff we take such care to sort out into those nice blue sacks actually ends up being recycled - I wouldn't be at all surprised if at least some of it went into landfill. The list of instructions they give you makes no sense - for example, it says plastic bottles can go in the blue sacks, but not anything else made of plastic. Don't those triangles with the numbers on the bottom mean anything then?
Anyway, the blue sacks will be a thing of the past as of next month - they're giving us wheelie bins in our road. Grrrr.
Yes, maddening isn't it, but I suppose it's too much to expect many people to read the symbols and low value plastics are quickly turned into no value plastics by too many contaminates.
Shameless plug here, I wrote a hub on recycling newspaper in the home, keeping it out of the system.
I like to recycle because it reduces the amount of trash I have to take out.
What makes you think the containers go back at all? Not sure if ther is a market for that. If there was China would charge us double.
Here you go:
http://www.worldscrap.com/modules/trade … p?id=14577
Mr Eric Yao is probably only one of many.
Reuse something like a grocery bag.
Repurpose something like making a denim jacket into a purse.
Recycle plastic and aluminum so it can be made into car bumpers.
Rebuy something made from recycled material and post consumer waste.
Buy water filters instead of bottled water.
Recycling is very much a matter of community involvement. In our community, we have a recycling program which is advertised, promoted, and works well. There are also penalties for not recycling.
Recycling makes a huge difference ... it takes the burden off trash collection and returns money to the community.
Yes, it does make a difference.
Sally - do you have a repurpose/resale shop? And this is one of the great sort of underground repurpose venues in the cycle of retail sales.
We have many thrift stores here, but that's not the point.
In our community, recycling (glass, plastic, metal, paper) returns money to our township budget without taking money out of the pockets of township residents. The companies that do the recycling make money. This is win/win.
There is lies the question I asked. Do we just talk about recycling like we are actually doing it? I am convinced that only a small amount of us actually recycle. I would also be interested to see if the rubbish we all drop off for recycling actually gets recycled.
You have to acknowledge that transporting, sorting, cleaning and processing things that are to be recycled and then made into new products wastes a lot more energy, fuel and water than it saves. I go out of my way to recycle and always have; I even make art of of broken items and turn old clothes into other things, etc. We recycle because we don't have enough space to just throw garbage around indiscriminately anymore, but there's no logical point to it if you're talking about energy and material conservation when you're not coming out ahead in some way in the end. It's like spending an hour working to get an hour of energy out of it; it cancels itself out.
The only way things are going to change is if energy starts coming from renewable sources from the beginning of every process, from the power plants. One person covering their roof in solar panels that may or may not even pay for themselves within ten years is completely inefficient; the entire grid is going to have to shift eventually.
As of right now it does waste more energy than saving, but what happens if everyone was to recycle?
No, take aluminium, recycling it uses only 5% of the energy needed to produce new aluminium.
Well that's good if that's really the case, but I doubt recycling things like glass and cardboard is so efficient.
No, not as efficient but still significant.
Paper about 40% more efficient than producing new
Glass about 5 - 30% ditto
Cardboard about 25% ditto
There are also significant savings in pollution, up to about 75% on paper and 20% on glass.
John - You forget to add the fact that recycling eliminates using new resources, like cutting down trees. So not only is it more efficient than producing new, it saves using the actual original resource.
The majority of people who put their items into a recycling bin, have no idea where it goes, including myself. There are 7 billion of us producing an unthinkable amount of rubbish. I personally doubt whether recycling is making any sort of difference, or whether it all just ends up in a landfill. It's sad, because the idea of recycling is an extremely good and noble idea, but at the moment I seriously doubt its effectiveness.
I found recycling to be an exercise that really did make a difference. My wife got into a recycling bin to try to save her favorite shoes that had been put in the bin by mistake.
I am amazed at how quickly those bins can swallow things that go into them by mistake...
A truck picked up the bin and took it away, along with her and her shoes and a lunchbox, plus all the other recycled goods and bads that had been stuffed into the bin! That was in 2003 and the bin hasn't come back again!
Do you think I should file a missing persons report, claim her shoes and lunchbox on insurance, or just recycle her car and other belongings, while considering myself lucky that my shoes weren't recycled?
Are you sure she didn't run away with the milkman?
In the UK the government imposes a tax of £58 ($US 92) on land fill which is a very strong incentive for local authorities not to divert recycled goods to land fill.
My issue is if the price of crude is effected by plastic production and gas usage. Would the
price of oil go down if demand of plastics is less?
No, it would probably go up as most plastics use oil waste that is not much use for anything else.
Oil waste? Plastics are made from the by product of superheating the crude oil in a process called cracking. The gas or other fuels are removed and the polymers and monomers are then extracted to make plastic. Depending on the type of plastic different chemicals are added.
What other use would be made of those crackings if not for plastics?
"Cracking" is the term given to breaking up the crude oil into separate mixtures of hydrocarbons, each with a different range of boiling points.
The lightest fraction produced by cracking is petroleum gas, containing low boiling point hydrocarbons like methane and ethane. These are very useful both for fuels *and* as monomers for making plastics (also known as polymers. Polymers = long chains of monomers strung together).
If you get back to economics then it makes sense that an increased demand for plastics would result in an increase in oil prices, since an increased demand for any commodity tends to push the price up. Conversely, reducing demand for oil by recycling plastics rather than creating them from fresh supplies of petroleum gas would hopefully reduce the price of oil.
But there are a lot of other variables that affect the price of oil too, so I don't know how much overall effect widespread plastics recycling would have.
That assumes that all the polymers produced from making petrol would be used up, in other words all products were in balance. If not, an increased demand for polymers would reduce the price of petrol whereas a reduction in demand would increase it.
I am talking about the relationship between the price of crude oil and the demand for plastics, not the relationship between the price of petrol (US English = gasoline) and the demand for plastics.
The fuel we know as petrol/gasoline comes mainly from the higher boiling point fractions of crude oil, rather than from the petroleum gas I alluded to earlier* (although admittedly some compounds used to make plastic do indeed come from the higher boiling point fractions). So the part of crude oil used to make plastics is by and large different from the part used to make petrol/gasoline, although there is some overlap.
In Britain at least, most of the price of petrol is down to tax, so an already tenuous relationship is weakened still further.
But getting back to crude oil, basically: the more demand there is for plastics, the more you can expect the price of crude oil to go up - assuming that plastics production makes up a reasonably large part of overall crude oil consumption. That would all change if (a) recycled plastic took over from "virgin" plastic, or (b) some other way was found to produce the raw materials for plastics (bacterial fermentation or biofuel crops, for example).
Think about it in very simple terms. It's a few months before Christmas, and a new "hit" toy comes on the market. The shops all run out of it, and you can't find this toy for love or money except for a few enterprising souls selling it on eBay. They can name their price. The sole reason for this is the parents out there desperate to buy little Johnny the latest must-have item for his stocking. Increase in demand = increase in price.
Come next spring and children have all moved on to the next toy du jour. Hundreds of parents, desperate to pay off their credit card, put this former must-have toy on eBay. Unfortunately nobody wants the toy any more, so the price crashes. Reduction in demand = reduction in price.
*see http://science.howstuffworks.com/enviro … ining2.htm
Please don't get too pedantic, that's my role
Whatever you like to call it the highest demand for oil products are in the lighter factions leaving an awful lot of plastics. If demand for plastics disappeared completely those factions would still exist and need to be disposed of at a cost.
Oh, there's plenty of other uses for those lighter fractions besides making plastics, believe me. If you use gas to cook with or to heat your home, that's one for starters!
When I recycle metals it makes me feel better because it puts money into my wallet that I did not have, and I do not report it to the illegal non federal government body known as the Internal Revenue Service, and that then makes me feel even better - as the less money I pay so that Obama can drop bombs from coward drone planes on little girls in Pakistan, the less culpable I am in those cowardly war crimes.
Cracking is a term used in refinement process. You crack the long chain of hydro carbons. You could only crack to make polymers or just make gasoline. Just easier to make multiple things at one time because of the heat required.
True I believe all should recycle for many reasons.
If demand for plastic did go down then the crude would be used for other petro products increasing the supply chains for all. There by reducing the price of all simple supply and demand curve.
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