The Religion of Recycling

Posted On: Wednesday - March 1st 2023 7:16PM MST
In Topics: 
  Treehuggers  Economics  Environmental Stupidity

This post could be considered a follow-up to a 5 /y/o Peak Stupidity post with, IMO, one of our best titles, Toward Sustainable Stupidity. After clearing up the proper use of the word "sustainable", in that post we discussed the sustainability of recycling of garbage.

The point was, the decision to recycle should be based on economics, not feel-good virtue-signaling or some bull about "saving the planet". Said economics may include quality of life factors as pollution, unsightly messes and such do detract from value of property. When it comes to recycling of the various materials in our garbage, much of it wastes money, as it's not profitable*. We are not running out of room for landfills**. It's more like the (understandable) NIMBYism of not wanting to be near a landfill causes them to be located farther away from the population, causing higher garbage transportation costs. Sure, if doing something useful with that cardboard is cheaper than trucking it way out there, then you do the least expensive thing, if you actually care about the taxpayers and not so much about Greta.

Recently John Stossel published a short article, The Recycling Religion, on his Stossel TV website.

I have nothing bad to say about John Stossel. I remember him from my TV watching days in the mid '90s. Since I've seen him and read some of this stuff, he's always been a great Libertarian. His digs against the stupidity in government have been entertaining as they hit their mark. That kind of stuff doesn't get on TV today. The ctrl-left doesn't want it on, but the diverse America of today doesn't seem to care about that anyway, as opposed to "give my people our due, government!"

As a follow-up to that old Peak Stupidity post on recycling, Mr. Stossel's article goes even farther. He's into sentence-sized paragraphs, for some reason, so I'm just grouping them together in the excerpt:
The ugly truth is that many “recyclables” sent to recycling plants are never recycled. The worst is plastic.

Even Greenpeace now says, “Plastic recycling is a dead-end street.” Hoffman often trucks it to a landfill.

Years ago, science writer John Tierney wrote a New York Times Magazine story, “Recycling Is Garbage.” It set a Times record for hate mail. But what he wrote was true.

“It’s even more true today,” says Tierney in my new video. “Recycling is an industry that uses increasingly expensive labor to produce materials that are worth less and less.”
Now, see, that hits home even for me. Due to certain family members' shunning of one thing the Romans did for us, we have been compacting and (thinking we were) recycling water bottles for years now. Has that been all for nothing? Probably.

This news about more of our trash going into, well, the trash, than I had thought pisses me off too. In my case, Green is not my religion, and recycling is not my sect. The planet itself doesn't need saving. I'm with George Carlin on that one - "The planet's fine. It's the people that are fucked!"

It's wastage that I really don't like. I grew up around some people who experienced Great Depression 1.0. They lived "waste not, want not". To me, it's just a shame all those plastic bottles were produced for one use. If one can make playground base material, decking, or whatever else out of it, I like the idea.

However, I'm not for the taxpayers footing a boondoggle. These boondoggles have the benefit of making those for whom Recycling IS a religion feel so much more holy and better about themselves. I don't want that to be on my dime.

PS: There was a 2nd big point in that old post on "Sustainable Stupidity". That was that any population increase, which in this country is due to immigration alone, works against any actually sustainable environmental policy. As the Environmentalists said in rebuttal though, "blah, blah, blah, I can't hear you!!"

* I will write a short post soon about what does pay off by its recycling and what doesn't, noting especially the highly-recycled automobile.

** Go to bing maps and just try to spot one. I'll give you 1/2 an hour.

Saturday - March 4th 2023 5:23PM MST
PS: Thanks for the DIY/composting/home energy links, Mr. Smith. That stuff was big in the 1970s period in which people also extolled the rural independent lifestyle I think we have a lot more reasons than back then to do these sorts of things.

Mr. Clampett, yes, the metal actually pays off, Aluminum household products - cans for the most part - have probably always been worth recycling. I'll have a post coming, and thank you for reminding me, about one of the most recycled products ever, yet the treehuggers don't mention them much - cars.
Jed Clampett
Thursday - March 2nd 2023 1:45PM MST
PS I take in cans when there are about ten bags worth and it takes a few months to accumulate with no soda pop drinking.
If you get a 55 gallon contractors bag and smash the cans to fill it to the brim, it will bring in about $50.
A large water heater used to get about $100 but they have come down and that price includes the copper attachments.
If the war in the 404 escalates, all could go up in value.
There used to be drive up self-serve parking lot recycle bins in the 1980's but people quickly figured out all scams and cheats.
Adam Smith
Thursday - March 2nd 2023 9:48AM MST
PS: Good morning, everyone...

The Power of Compost:


Mr. Alarmist, I'm under the impression that the cement industry has been burning tires in giant kilns for years...

It's the best way to dispose of used tires!


I think methane digesting and composting are perfectly legitimate ways to dispose of kitchen scraps, yard waste and such. Unfortunately, these technologies are unlikely to be practical or cost effective in urban settings.

I do suppose if Mr. SafeNow's municipality can somehow collect the contents of all the "brown trash tanks" and feed it into giant methane digesters they could indeed produce impressive amounts of useful methane. But, of what use will that methane be when they ban gas stoves and furnaces? (I thought they hated methane and carbon dioxide?)(Do they not realize that BioGas™ is methane and carbon dioxide?)

They're sending mixed messages‽

The Alarmist
Thursday - March 2nd 2023 5:30AM MST

27.3887 -80.3938

The Alarmist
Thursday - March 2nd 2023 5:17AM MST

O-M-G ! I missed the obvious joke there: Did you see that girl’s jugs?
The Alarmist
Thursday - March 2nd 2023 4:40AM MST

Re California, on the Crazy-Hot matrix the state has in my lifetime gone from the Fun Zone, possibly Wife Zone, to the Danger Zone, and is on its way to the No-Go Zone, i.e. full-on crazy and losing its looks
The Alarmist
Thursday - March 2nd 2023 4:33AM MST

Yeah, in my corner of the EU, we all have Bio bins. I don’t know if it is for biogas per se, but the local communities do sell compost.

I saw an interesting use of plastic in firing cement plant kilns. It burns nice and hot. I think more than a few places in the EU are burning much of their recycling along with garbage, as I’ve seen several large mountains composed of ash.

I think there is now more burn capacity in the EU than there was ever during the war, so useless eaters beware... I don’t think Soylent Green is on the WEF menu of the future.
Thursday - March 2nd 2023 12:59AM MST
PS: Biogas, huh? I don't think California would appreciate my biogas. As for the yard waste, that stuff goes on our own garden after some composting time.

Somehow I think California will not continue being the political trendsetter that she used to be. People in other States don't like insanity. It's not a good look.
Wednesday - March 1st 2023 11:01PM MST

There is a brand new law here in California. You are supposed to scrape-off the food leavings from the plate - - a bit of gravy, the peel of an orange, etc. - - and dispose of it in the brown trash tank that contains the garden waste. The idea is that the olive pit contains precious “biogas” which can be recovered in the processing plant. So far Mrs. SafeNow seems to enjoy this bio-gas a kind of complicated hobby, perhaps an obsessive-compulsive thing.
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