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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2006 7:25 pm
 


Thematic-Device wrote:
Proving that garbage is not carcinogeous does not prove that it is not poisonous. The two are different notions all together. A chemical does not need to cause cancer in order to kill wild life, nor would it in order to make the ground unusable for many purposes.

You haven't proved that landfills are poisonous, just to be clear, and they still aren't. The article I posted is a condensed version of the full report (to which I gave a link), so it's obviously not as descriptive.

From the original report:
Quote:
The EPA itself acknowledges that the risks
to humans (and presumably plants and animals) from modern landfills
are virtually nonexistent.


Landfills today are lined with several feet of compacted clay, combined with a "rubber" geomembrane which closes them off from the water table. The garbage is covered each day with a layer of dirt.

Thematic-Device wrote:
Furthermore landfill sites are typically unsuitable for construction because it creates a poor foundation. So it truly does remove the land from use./quote]
Removed from use if you're only concerned with building condos or shopping malls. Very much in use if you consider the parks, golf courses, etc, that go over the sites after their use.


Thematic-Device wrote:
Careful and necessary packaging to preserve foods flavor and freshness has a big difference from packaging designed for advertising. An aluminum can of tuna fish, does not benefit from a plastic wrapping surrounding it.

It's not only food - electronic equipment and other consumer products are also more susceptable to damage without protective packaging.

There is, obviously a certain level of excessiveness in some packaging, but such is the case in almost every aspect of Western culture; we are a people of excess.

But back to the food, the point was made (again, in the report) that packaged (processed) chicken generates less waste than if one were to pluck and gut their own chicken because the by-products (ie, the guts) are used for valuable products (like pet food), while at home, they would be merely disposed of.

I guess I should have made clear the distinction between household recycling and industrial/commerical recycling. It is much more feasible for large production industries to efficiently and usefully recycle their by-products than it is for households.

Thematic-Device wrote:
Paper is reground de-inked and repressed, into lower grade paper. This is not an issue. An paper is far easier to shred, then wood.

The question is whether the entire process of recycling paper (sorting, collection, transportation, sorting again, pulping, screening, cleaning, deinking, refining, bleaching, and rolling - not that simple) is more efficient and enviromentally friendly than using pulp wood. Those deinking chemicals aren't pretty, and neither is the waste (inks and adhesives).

Thematic-Device wrote:
This is a dodge of the issue. The fact that processes have improved doesn't mean that you aren't squandering the easiest to use of the resources. If you have processed copper, it is far easier to melt that and reuse it, then it is to smelt ore. It is pointless to forego the easiest resources first, it is even worse to take those easily accessible resources, and spread them around making them hard if not impossible to recover.

You're right; some things (like copper, aluminum, and steel, to name a few) are worthwhile to recover and reuse. But what household has a big pile of copper to dispose of on a weekly basis? It's the things that aren't worthwhile, like glass, plastic and paper, that are a waste of resources to recycle. Similarly, larger industries have a lot to gain from recycling their waste (demolitions, for example)

Thematic-Device wrote:
This is not the issue and is another dodge. There is no advantage to burying the paper, regardless of the abundance of trees.


Yes there is, if it means not wasting resources that could be put to more useful needs. It'd be like running a pump which consumes a litre of gas just to extract half a litre of gas - the results don't justify the expenditure. That's entirely the point of this report.

Thematic-Device wrote:
Recycling almost always removes the mining aspect of the equation. Requiring only sorting to be added into functions that would already be performed.


You're just simplifying the processes to suit your own argument. From the report:
Quote:
For example, the EPA examined both virgin paper processing and recycled paper processing for toxic substances. Five toxic substances
were found only in virgin processes, eight only in recycling
processes, and twelve in both processes. Among these twelve, all
but one were present in higher levels in the recycling processes (Office
of Technology Assessment 1989, 191). Similar mixed results have
been found for steel and aluminum production.


Sure, you don't see the big ugly mine, but you also don't see the truckloads of toxic substances being carried out the back of the recycling plant. The pollution is increased, its just less obvious.

Thematic-Device wrote:
I don't know where the hell the author lives, but in my state its that one truck will pick up 36 tons of garbage and 4 tons of recycling.

Well, in my province recycling day is one week, and the next garbage. It would depend on the volume of material being dealt with, I suppose.

Thematic-Device wrote:
Recycling is not about using less of a resource, its about using the resource repeatedly.


I always thought it was about using less resources, period. If 'using the resource repeatedly' means using an unproportional amount of another, you're not really helping your cause.

Thematic-Device wrote:
Ahh then perhaps the author could explain just what function a beer bottle serves me personally? I can readily explain the use of recycling, it gets cleaned and filled up with beer, or melted and reformed, and filled with beer. But an empty bottle serves me no purpose.

Well, lots of people bottle their own beer, to use your very limited example, but in general, people reuse plenty of things - plastic shopping bags for garbage bin liners, newspaper for pet cages, plastic bottles for water... Reusing materials is always more useful than recycling.

Thematic-Device wrote:
Recycling targets the things, we have no uses for, but that other companies can.

Yes, at the expense of other 'things', which don't contribute, and sometimes harm, the very thing you're trying to protect.

Thematic-Device wrote:
My Opinion of that school just went from none, to pretty damn poor.

Based on what? One of their professor's reports, which was prepared for a seperate organization (PERC), which you've misunderstood? I can hear the people at their admissions office crying from here.


Thematic-Device wrote:
Btw, the most profitable part of the US military has always been the aircraft graveyard, because of their recycling programs... But I suppose we should just dig a trench and push the planes into them...


Very good point... I want to stress again, for anyone who reads this, that the article/report attacks household recycling (the bin at your curb full of paper), not industrial recycling.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2006 7:30 pm
 


Thematic-Device wrote:
Care to explain how mining and smelting ore is easier then seperating your trash?


Over simplification and misdirection, again; the processes are more complicated than just seperating your trash (hint: the bin full of paper doesn't process itself), and the major contributors to household recycling aren't large amounts of metal - they're paper and plastic.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2006 7:45 pm
 


Zipperfish wrote:
Well, I'd like to see the math to back that up--this writer doesn't provide them.


The studies cited in the full report are likely your source for numbers... most are by the EPA and other government bodies.

Zipperfish wrote:
It could well be. I'm not all that familiar with recycling processes. But with respect to, say, aluminum, does it really cost more to recycle one (there are smelters in BC in Trail and Kitimat, I believe) than to mine the bauxite in the tropics, put it on a freighter to Vancouver harbour, send it by rail to Trail, smelt it, and then truck it to a manufacturer?


It's absolutely more efficient to recycle aluminum - that's why you get that $0.05 back, and you see homeless people digging in the garbage for empty cans and not plastic bags or paper.

Zipperfish wrote:
Yes landfills are sometimes used as parks (a particularly good use, since a park will ensure no future excavation that would disturb the underlying fill). But these have become parks through good management - -the grass doesn't just grow over them. Leachate issues, for example, normally continue long after the landfill is decommissioned.


In the report, he wrote:
All landfills produce leachate that must be dealt with. Modern “dry tomb” landfills minimize fluid going in (from rain, for example) by covering areas that are not currently operational. Moreover, any leachate is drained out via collection pipes and sent to wastewater plants for treatment and purification. These steps make modern landfills
what William Rathje has called “vast mummifiers,” in which little biodegradation takes place (Rathje and Murphy 1992, 110; Rathje 2001). Still, there is some decomposition that creates methane gas as a by-product. This is drawn off by wells on site and burned or purified and sold for fuel.


I didn't post the original report because it's PDF and it's too long, but it's worth a read. I just happened to come across the article I posted, which saved me a lot of paraphrasing.

Zipperfish wrote:
The entropy/environment thing is a pet project of mine. (Incidentally, you got it backwards -- low entropy=high organization=good thing, so we'd be issung "high entropy" warnings!)


My bad... Entropy is the hardest of the thermo laws for me to get my head around. It's a very good point, though, especially in dealing with alternative energy sources.

Zipperfish wrote:
As for your "real an significant effect" -- it all depends on your definition of significant, I suppoe. A thermodynamic outcome of climate change may well be the extirpation or extinction of polar bears. Is that significant. I've enver seen one, so is it significant to me that there are no more polar bears. It may be significant to the bears!

I've just never heard the thermodynamic argument before... I'm not suggesting that an extinction would not be significant, I'm just wondering if this overall increase (thanks) in entrpoy would have any noticeable effects.

Zipperfish wrote:
The bottom line is: I'm not dismissing out of hand what the writer is saying. I am saying that (a) he doesn't back up his contentions with science, and (b) he seems to be advocating a free market policy position adn then selecting factoids to support his point of view.

Ooops goota go!


I'd suggest reading the full report if you're in doubt/interested. I didn't check the works cited myself (this is just something interesting I came across), but the article obviously doesn't do it as much justice as I had thought.

I should point out that I am/was (haven't fully decided yet) an avid recycler... I'm arguing this because I care if recycling is actually hurting the environment, not because I'm lazy or careless. I figured if I put it up for debate, someone would knock some sense into me that I didn't see, because I found it hard to believe. That offer is still open :wink:


Last edited by Blue_Nose on Mon Jan 09, 2006 7:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2006 7:47 pm
 


Here is an example of recycling at work.

Buddy takes his wood chipper, adds hydraulic pump, connects hydraulics to log splitter, modifies log splitter to compress wood chips into brickets.

Ok now we have a chipper/compressor of wood.

Buddy calls all his neighbours to drop off their old Christmas tree's.
Buddy chips and compresses the Christmas tree's.
Soon he has enough brickets to last the winter.
More tree's arrive, Buddy now sells brickets at much less cost than standard cords.
Tree's recycled energy saved.

Cost to run chipper/compressor.....approx 1/2 gal gas per full cord.

Have not worked out the actual calories used and calories saved, but I think there has to be some sort of energy saving in the process.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2006 7:52 pm
 


PluggyRug wrote:
So... I wonder which oil, mining, logging consortium paid for that blog?
The truth shall set you free 8)


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2006 7:55 pm
 


PluggyRug wrote:
Here is an example of recycling at work.

Buddy takes his wood chipper, adds hydraulic pump, connects hydraulics to log splitter, modifies log splitter to compress wood chips into brickets.

Ok now we have a chipper/compressor of wood.

Buddy calls all his neighbours to drop off their old Christmas tree's.
Buddy chips and compresses the Christmas tree's.
Soon he has enough brickets to last the winter.
More tree's arrive, Buddy now sells brickets at much less cost than standard cords.
Tree's recycled energy saved.

Cost to run chipper/compressor.....approx 1/2 gal gas per full cord.

Have not worked out the actual calories used and calories saved, but I think there has to be some sort of energy saving in the process.


Sounds great to me... The Christmas tree recycling industry is booming here, too (basically the same setup), so it is worthwhile... you have the business profit as proof. Obviously all recycling isn't bad, and I would never suggest that.


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PostPosted: Mon Jan 09, 2006 7:59 pm
 


PluggyRug wrote:
So... I wonder which oil, mining, logging consortium paid for that blog?


This one
Quote:
PERC - Property and Environment Research Center is the nation's oldest and largest institute dedicated to original research that brings market principles to resolving environmental problems. Located in Bozeman, Montana, PERC pioneered the approach known as free market environmentalism, which is based on the following tenets.

Private property rights encourage stewardship of resources.

Government subsidies often degrade the environment.

Market incentives spur individuals to conserve resources and protect environmental quality.

Polluters should be liable for the harm they cause others.


ie, they're like the hippies, only smarter, do the necessary research, suggest economically feasible solutions, and don't resort to emotional rhetoric or spectacles to make a point.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 12:24 am
 


Blue_Nose wrote:
Sounds great to me... The Christmas tree recycling industry is booming here, too (basically the same setup), so it is worthwhile... you have the business profit as proof. Obviously all recycling isn't bad, and I would never suggest that.


I think the problem arises when a "do-gooder" municipal government embarks on an ambitious recycling campaign without first assessing the benefits of such a program.

Recycling is labour intensive. I'm pretty careful about what goes into my blue box and recycle bags, but I've seen other people who don't really care what they put in there. That means someone, somewhere has to sort garbage.

Personally I would privatize garbage collection. I don't see why teh governmetn does it. Maybe it made sense years ago, but these days there's enough waste disposal companies that they can handle residential; waste. Cut out the governmetn middle man. Residents would get a contract with a waste disposal company.

The company would realize its own efficiencies. Also, they would offer economic incentives to customers who sorted their owe garbage in ways that accomodate the company. People that don't want to sort, can pay a premium for the sorting service.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 12:41 am
 


I found the silly assumption in the orginal report (there usually is one in these kinds of papers):

Quote:
"In fact we are not running out of natural reosurces. Available stocks are actually growing"


I'm not sure what is more outlandish -- tha claim or the writer's expectation that people should accept this. Of course were running out of some natural resources. To say otherwise is preposterous. There is less oil now than there was yesterday, because the rate of consumption of oil far exceeds its generation.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 8:53 am
 


Well, I'm not sure what you're referring to with regard to "these kinds of papers", but the point he made is valid. As far as the things we recycle in our homes are concerned (that's what the whole thing is about), we aren't running out of natural resources. Last time I checked, we don't have a fossil fuel bin out at the curb.

Even so, we aren't really running out of oil or other fossil fuels anyway. We're constantly developing better management of how we extract it, refine it, and use it, not to mention alternative fuel sources which will slowly decrease our dependence.

We have bigger fish to fry before running out of anything comes into consideration, like fresh water reserves (those are going down, and more dramatically than most people realize) and pollution.
[hr]
Not sure if you read the report, but did you notice why household recycling originated? There was a garbage barge from New York that got rejected from its destination due to rumours of medical waste. It caused a big commotion, and environmentalists used it as "proof" that there was a garbage crisis, and that the landfills were full. Some later study (I think it was the EPA) said that landfills were indeed filling up, but their methods were flawed. This claim was solely based on the fact that the number of landfills in the US was declining, even though their total capacity was increasing. Thus, recycling was shoved into the mainstream.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 9:04 am
 


Could beer bottles be made thicker so they can b eused more the then five times. Thats glasses strenght and weakness, good to reuse, bad to recycle.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 12:40 pm
 


Blue_Nose wrote:
Well, I'm not sure what you're referring to with regard to "these kinds of papers", but the point he made is valid. As far as the things we recycle in our homes are concerned (that's what the whole thing is about), we aren't running out of natural resources. Last time I checked, we don't have a fossil fuel bin out at the curb.

Even so, we aren't really running out of oil or other fossil fuels anyway. We're constantly developing better management of how we extract it, refine it, and use it, not to mention alternative fuel sources which will slowly decrease our dependence.

We have bigger fish to fry before running out of anything comes into consideration, like fresh water reserves (those are going down, and more dramatically than most people realize) and pollution.
[hr]
Not sure if you read the report, but did you notice why household recycling originated? There was a garbage barge from New York that got rejected from its destination due to rumours of medical waste. It caused a big commotion, and environmentalists used it as "proof" that there was a garbage crisis, and that the landfills were full. Some later study (I think it was the EPA) said that landfills were indeed filling up, but their methods were flawed. This claim was solely based on the fact that the number of landfills in the US was declining, even though their total capacity was increasing. Thus, recycling was shoved into the mainstream.


Well a denial that the total amount of oil on the planet is decreasing may be comforting, but it isn't going to help in the final analysis. Sure they "find" new oil wells all the time, but not oil is created equal. The tar sands, for instacne, requires a lot of energy to recover. What happens when it costs a barrel full of oil's worth of energy to recover a barrel full of oil. (This is why some are proposing nuclear plants in the tar sands). It's that pesky thermodynamic limit again.

Again, I'll say that recycling should only be used when a proper assessment has been conducted to assess its efficacy. And again the paper linked herein is not such a study. I'd like to see, for example, an analysis of energy costs to recycle paper versus energy costs to chop down a new tree and convert it to paper. This analysis should account for externalities, such as the abaility of the tree to sequester carbon, to stabilize soil and to turn carbon dioxide into oxygen -- things which are not currently accounted for in many assessments.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 12:52 pm
 


Latest oil recycling discovery may be local to you!

KFC reported that now their chicken buckets are non-absorbent.
When all the nuggets have been eaten, drain out the oil and return to KFC. You will be rewarded with an upset stomach.

If too much trouble to return.....drain excess oil into car engine to reduce time between oil changes.


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