Author Topic: Is Recycling Dead?  (Read 338 times)

0 Members and 1 Guest are viewing this topic.

Offline Friendly Angel

  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 4561
  • Post count reset to zero in both forum apocalypses
Is Recycling Dead?
« on: August 06, 2019, 01:10:20 PM »
California has a CRV instead of a "deposit" on drink bottles, but none of the recycling centers actually pay by the container, they pay by the pound.  And most of them are essentially just trash facilities.  Going there to get cash redemption is not easy, fast, or enjoyable.  And the biggest operator of these places just closed all 300 of their sites.  China used to buy all this stuff but they're getting picky about the quality of recycled waste and so a lot of stuff people think they're recycling goes to landfills anyway.

What's the answer?
Amend and resubmit.

Online 2397

  • Frequent Poster
  • ******
  • Posts: 3117
Re: Is Recycling Dead?
« Reply #1 on: August 06, 2019, 02:00:20 PM »
Or has there actually been any meaningful recycling going on in those cases? Shipping it to whatever country has poor enough environmental standards for someone to make a profit from it, until the country decides they don't want to be the West's landfill anymore.

Maybe if you have to send your trash across the world you're doing it wrong.

Online daniel1948

  • Happy Man in a Boat
  • Reef Tank Owner
  • *********
  • Posts: 9608
  • I'd rather be paddling
Re: Is Recycling Dead?
« Reply #2 on: August 06, 2019, 03:50:07 PM »
Maybe if you have to send your trash across the world you're doing it wrong.

Ya think? ;D

I gather that recycling aluminum is still profitable.
Daniel
----------------
“You say you love your children above all else, and yet you are stealing their future in front of their very eyes.”
-- Greta Thunberg

Offline Desert Fox

  • Poster of Extraordinary Magnitude
  • **********
  • Posts: 19645
  • Hopeful Non-Theist
    • Kitsune's Web Page
Re: Is Recycling Dead?
« Reply #3 on: August 06, 2019, 04:11:30 PM »
Maybe if you have to send your trash across the world you're doing it wrong.

Ya think? ;D

I gather that recycling aluminum is still profitable.

Most metals are still worth recycling - I recycle scrap iron as well.
"Give me the storm and tempest of thought and action, rather than the dead calm of ignorance and faith. Banish me from Eden when you will; but first let me eat of the fruit of the tree of knowledge."
— Robert G. Ingersoll

Online Harry Black

  • International Man of Mystery
  • Global Moderator
  • Poster of Extraordinary Magnitude
  • *****
  • Posts: 17006
Re: Is Recycling Dead?
« Reply #4 on: August 06, 2019, 04:36:52 PM »

What's the answer?

Not privatising things that exist for the public good.

Recycling is not a commodity, there is no reason for it to be tied to the profits of a private company.

Offline amysrevenge

  • Baseball-Cap-Beard-Baby Guy
  • Too Much Spare Time
  • ********
  • Posts: 6087
  • The Warhammeriest
Re: Is Recycling Dead?
« Reply #5 on: August 06, 2019, 05:53:37 PM »
I heard about this on a podcast or something (I don't remember the reference, so that makes me an expert) that recycling overseas (ie. the industrial process of recycling) was juuuuuust slightly more profitable than recycling here, which in a capitalist system makes it entirely impossible to recycle stuff here.  So since we can't recycle overseas as much anymore, means no recycling.

(It's a thing that grinds my gears about unrestrained capitalism.  Externalities are effectively zero cost, so something that is profitable with low externalities compared with something that is slightly more profitable with large externalities will never happen, even though it is profitable.)
Big Mike
Grande Prairie AB Canada

Offline jt512

  • Frequent Poster
  • ******
  • Posts: 2773
    • jt512
Re: Is Recycling Dead?
« Reply #6 on: August 06, 2019, 07:37:49 PM »
California has a CRV instead of a "deposit" on drink bottles, but none of the recycling centers actually pay by the container, they pay by the pound.  And most of them are essentially just trash facilities.  Going there to get cash redemption is not easy, fast, or enjoyable.  And the biggest operator of these places just closed all 300 of their sites.  China used to buy all this stuff but they're getting picky about the quality of recycled waste and so a lot of stuff people think they're recycling goes to landfills anyway.

What's the answer?


In California, if there is no recycling center within a half-mile of a supermarket, then the supermarket will be required to redeem CRV-beverage containers for cash.  The supermarkets in our neighborhood all display a sign indicating that they will do this, though I have never seen a single customer return a beverage container to a supermarket.  I don't either, but I always recycle my bottles, cans, paper, and plastics.  Our city gives each resident a recycling bin in which tp put all recyclables without sorting them.  The bin is picked up weekly.
Ich verstehe nur Bahnhof.

Offline lonely moa

  • A rather tough old bird.
  • Stopped Going Outside
  • *******
  • Posts: 5043
Re: Is Recycling Dead?
« Reply #7 on: August 07, 2019, 03:01:37 AM »
Recycling in NZ is experiencing a bit of a comeback.  There seem to be financial opportunities.
"Pull the goalie", Malcolm Gladwell.

Offline Alex Simmons

  • Well Established
  • *****
  • Posts: 1077
Re: Is Recycling Dead?
« Reply #8 on: August 07, 2019, 06:12:19 PM »
Australia has experienced the same issue, much of our recycling was shipped to China. No more. How it was handled varies by local government area. My local council didn't have anything going to China, they used all domestic recycling facilities. The recycled bundles sent to China were constantly being devalued because of contamination (e.g the paper bundles would have too much plastic, or wax, or oil or other contaminants and this made much of the bundle useless for paper recycling as the extra level of processing wasn't worth it). The lower the "purity" of the substance being recycled, the less valuable it becomes.

In my state they have recently introduced the Tomra "reverse vending machines" - which accept cans and bottles (aluminium, glass and plastic). You feed the machines items one at a time, it scans it and either accepts or rejects it. You get 10 cents for each item accepted. This is working pretty well and sorts out very quickly what is and is not accepted. It provides for a low level of contaminants in the items collected making them sufficiently valuable.

You can choose to have the value of your returned items credited to any of a list of charitable organisations, or deposited directly into your PayPal account.

Offline CarbShark

  • Poster of Extraordinary Magnitude
  • **********
  • Posts: 12564
Re: Is Recycling Dead?
« Reply #9 on: August 07, 2019, 09:09:48 PM »
Australia has experienced the same issue, much of our recycling was shipped to China. No more. How it was handled varies by local government area. My local council didn't have anything going to China, they used all domestic recycling facilities. The recycled bundles sent to China were constantly being devalued because of contamination (e.g the paper bundles would have too much plastic, or wax, or oil or other contaminants and this made much of the bundle useless for paper recycling as the extra level of processing wasn't worth it). The lower the "purity" of the substance being recycled, the less valuable it becomes.

In my state they have recently introduced the Tomra "reverse vending machines" - which accept cans and bottles (aluminium, glass and plastic). You feed the machines items one at a time, it scans it and either accepts or rejects it. You get 10 cents for each item accepted. This is working pretty well and sorts out very quickly what is and is not accepted. It provides for a low level of contaminants in the items collected making them sufficiently valuable.

You can choose to have the value of your returned items credited to any of a list of charitable organisations, or deposited directly into your PayPal account.

In California we built a fairly robust recycling industry. Then it became a little more profitable (a few dollars per ton) to ship to China and the local industry starved. It's possible that it will come back.
and Donald Trump is President of the United States.

I'm not a doctor, I'm just someone who has done a ton of research into diet and nutrition.