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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 5:57 pm
 


You didn't read the article, did you? Do you even know what "recycle" means?


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 6:20 pm
 


i've lived in enough foriegn shit holes to see that Canada has alot to be envious of regarding its waste management. i find myself consistantly comparing the places that I visit to Canada's system and walking out disappointed in these countries. Canada's system not perfect and maybe we should listen to the inefficiencies of our system in order to improve upon it and make it better. Regression is not the answer but improvement and forward thought in perfecting it is and there's still along way to go and alot to clean up.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 6:37 pm
 


BeaverBill wrote:
i've lived in enough foriegn shit holes to see that Canada has alot to be envious of regarding its waste management. i find myself consistantly comparing the places that I visit to Canada's system and walking out disappointed in these countries. Canada's system not perfect and maybe we should listen to the inefficiencies of our system in order to improve upon it and make it better. Regression is not the answer but improvement and forward thought in perfecting it is and there's still along way to go and alot to clean up.


It's not regression if we were tricked into recycling in the first place... now it's just taken for granted that it's the best thing for the environment, when that's not always the case. One situation that's too inefficient is domestic recycling, and that's what this study suggests.

Does that mean all recycling is bad? No.
Does that mean preventing pollution is bad? No.
Does that mean reducing our consumption of environmental resources is bad? No.
Does that mean you should go out and "take a shit in the parking lot" like the dog? NO.

I'm only arguing this because it seems to be better for the environment.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 6:38 pm
 


Blue_Nose wrote:
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.


The garbarge won't remain seperate from the water table if root systems break up the clay, or if there is anyother activity in the soil to disturb it.

Quote:
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.

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.


Golf courses, tend to involve quite a bit of earth moving in their construction which would disrupt the landfills as far as their imperviousness to the water table.

Quote:
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.


The idea isn't to remove necessary packaging, the idea is to reduce the unnecessary parts or excessive bits, or to when given the oppurtunity, use packaging which uses less materials with the same result.

Quote:
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.


I don't think that this is anything that would be disputed. But the idea to reduce excessive or unnecessary packaging isn't any less of a noble idea.

Quote:
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).




Quote:
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?


I've got decent amounts of metals for every trip to the recycling plant.

Quote:
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)


Certain types of plastic and glass are self sufficient in their recycling. Many beer bottles to my knowledge are simply cleaned and refilled. And I fail to see how that would be problematic to do. Or somehow pollute more then melthing sand into glass.

Quote:
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.




Quote:
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.


The pollution created by smelting ore is immense. Many heavy chemicals

Quote:
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.


If that is the case wouldn't it stand to reason that 5 trucks pick up 40 tons of trash and 1 truck picks up 40 tons of recycling. Rather then 6 trucks picking up 40 tons of garbage. Rather then as the author claims that all trucks will be operating below capacity.

Quote:
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.


Well suppose you need 60 tons of steel, recycling won't change the fact that you use 60 tons, it might change the source of some of the steel.

Quote:
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.


And I've used papers for weed control, but your uses of the items you can reuse on your own, more often then not run out before ones supply does.

Quote:
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.


If my experience has not been that almost all recycling programs are self sufficient, if not profitable (the things that cannot be recycled readily tend to not be, hence why only certain types of plastic are recycled)

Quote:
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.


Household recycling, in my experience, has significantly reduced my families garbage (from composting to bottle deposits, etc.) with no cost to my town. Perhaps it would be beneficial to adjust for externalities and reanalyze certain recycling of certain items. To claim that recycling in general is a bad idea, because a few feet of packed clay will serve as an impervious barrier to trash for decades to come is inane.


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PostPosted: Tue Jan 10, 2006 7:34 pm
 


Thematic-Device wrote:
The garbarge won't remain seperate from the water table if root systems break up the clay, or if there is anyother activity in the soil to disturb it.


That's why the engineers are "extra careful" when they design them.

Thematic-Device wrote:
Golf courses, tend to involve quite a bit of earth moving in their construction which would disrupt the landfills as far as their imperviousness to the water table.


That's not how the membrane works: the membrane is on the bottom, covered with the trash and soil. These aren't just holes in the ground; it's some engineering firm's job to make them imperveious, and that's what they are.


Thematic-Device wrote:
The idea isn't to remove necessary packaging, the idea is to reduce the unnecessary parts or excessive bits, or to when given the oppurtunity, use packaging which uses less materials with the same result.

We should all be driving Smart Cars and eating organically grown food too, but you don't see government inforced regulations for them.

Thematic-Device wrote:
I don't think that this is anything that would be disputed. But the idea to reduce excessive or unnecessary packaging isn't any less of a noble idea.

If nice packaging makes people buy them...

Thematic-Device wrote:
I've got decent amounts of metals for every trip to the recycling plant.

Decent is awfully subjective, but they might in fact be worth the trouble.

Thematic-Device wrote:
Certain types of plastic and glass are self sufficient in their recycling. Many beer bottles to my knowledge are simply cleaned and refilled. And I fail to see how that would be problematic to do. Or somehow pollute more then melthing sand into glass.

Bottles are returned seperately from normal recycling material for that reason - they're worth filling back up. Hence the $0.05.

Thematic-Device wrote:
The pollution created by smelting ore is immense. Many heavy chemicals


Again, we're not talking about metals specifically. We're talking about paper and plastic. The recycling process use harsh chemicals, too... sometimes more.

Thematic-Device wrote:
If that is the case wouldn't it stand to reason that 5 trucks pick up 40 tons of trash and 1 truck picks up 40 tons of recycling. Rather then 6 trucks picking up 40 tons of garbage. Rather then as the author claims that all trucks will be operating below capacity.


The same trucks can't always used for both garbage and recycling is the rational. The compacting trucks would not be able to be used for recyclables.

Thematic-Device wrote:
Well suppose you need 60 tons of steel, recycling won't change the fact that you use 60 tons, it might change the source of some of the steel.


Steel, again, not the issue. Even so, if that recycled material is harder on the environment to obtain, you're not doing anyone any favours.

Thematic-Device wrote:
And I've used papers for weed control, but your uses of the items you can reuse on your own, more often then not run out before ones supply does.

The rest goes in the garbage. Reusing is the best practice, for sure, but it's not going to take care of it all. It helps, that's all.

Thematic-Device wrote:
If my experience has not been that almost all recycling programs are self sufficient, if not profitable (the things that cannot be recycled readily tend to not be, hence why only certain types of plastic are recycled)

Your experience contradicts the studies that say that recycling costs 35-55% more than disposal. It might be profitable in some cases, but not the majority.

Thematic-Device wrote:
Household recycling, in my experience, has significantly reduced my families garbage (from composting to bottle deposits, etc.) with no cost to my town. Perhaps it would be beneficial to adjust for externalities and reanalyze certain recycling of certain items. To claim that recycling in general is a bad idea, because a few feet of packed clay will serve as an impervious barrier to trash for decades to come is inane.

No one said "recycling in general" is a bad idea.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 10:13 am
 


Blue_Nose wrote:
Well the US DOI predicted they'd run out of oil within 15 years at least three times in the 1900s. The tar sands wouldn't have even been possible a few decades ago, but we've developed more efficient and innovative methods of extraction. If you want to look at a limit states analysis of the environment, we've got more problems to worry about before we could actually manage to consume all the oil we can recover.


The US DOI is coorrect. We will run out of oil. The rate of consumption exceeds the rate of generation, ergo the total amount is decreasing, ergo we will eventually run out.

But yes, I agree with you--oil should not be our paramount worry. I'm more worried about the fish, myself.

Zipperfish wrote:
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.


Well, there are such studies cited in the report, as I've said over and over, but not likely those which include the other benefits you've mentioned (CO2, erosion control, etc). However, if the majority of paper from virgin pulp is from plantations specifically for this purpose, they aren't going to last very long if you switch to recycling - that private land is going to be used for something profitable.[/quote]

The studies cited in the report are primary economic, where the worth of the tree is simply what people will pay for it -- i.e. the wood. Economic costs do not account for the other services trees -- and the environment in general -- provide to us. Without these ecosystem services, we wouldn't survive on this planet, at least with present technology.

Unfortunately, these types of properties (e.g. the dollar value of soil stabilization or oxygen creation) are not easily quantifiable. The report states that forest size globally is increasing (based on Lomberg's Book, The Sceptical Environmentalist) while conceding that tropical rainforests are being depleted. But nobody really knows what impact it will have on us if the rain forests disappear. It's unquantifiable, for all intents and purposes.

There's an old science fiction writer's adage -- "Anyone could predict the automobile. It's predicting pollution and making out in the back seat that's the hard part."


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 10:17 am
 


Blue_Nose wrote:
Well the US DOI predicted they'd run out of oil within 15 years at least three times in the 1900s. The tar sands wouldn't have even been possible a few decades ago, but we've developed more efficient and innovative methods of extraction. If you want to look at a limit states analysis of the environment, we've got more problems to worry about before we could actually manage to consume all the oil we can recover.


The US DOI is coorrect. We will run out of oil. The rate of consumption exceeds the rate of generation, ergo the total amount is decreasing, ergo we will eventually run out.

But yes, I agree with you--oil should not be our paramount worry. I'm more worried about the fish, myself.

BlueNose wrote:
Well, there are such studies cited in the report, as I've said over and over, but not likely those which include the other benefits you've mentioned (CO2, erosion control, etc). However, if the majority of paper from virgin pulp is from plantations specifically for this purpose, they aren't going to last very long if you switch to recycling - that private land is going to be used for something profitable.


The studies cited in the report are primary economic, where the worth of the tree is simply what people will pay for it -- i.e. the wood. Economic costs do not account for the other services trees -- and the environment in general -- provide to us. Without these ecosystem services, we wouldn't survive on this planet, at least with present technology.

Unfortunately, these types of properties (e.g. the dollar value of soil stabilization or oxygen creation) are not easily quantifiable. The report states that forest size globally is increasing (based on Lomberg's Book, The Sceptical Environmentalist) while conceding that tropical rainforests are being depleted. But nobody really knows what impact it will have on us if the rain forests disappear. It's unquantifiable, for all intents and purposes.

There's an old science fiction writer's adage -- "Anyone could predict the automobile. It's predicting pollution and making out in the back seat that's the hard part."

Anyway, all that said, I don't really think we're that far apart on the issue. My problem is not with the writer's contention, but with his ideology framing his findings. I don't have any problem agreeing that a lot of recycling, as currently practiced, is highly inefficient and done primarily for political expediency..


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 12:21 pm
 


Zipperfish wrote:
Anyway, all that said, I don't really think we're that far apart on the issue. My problem is not with the writer's contention, but with his ideology framing his findings. I don't have any problem agreeing that a lot of recycling, as currently practiced, is highly inefficient and done primarily for political expediency..


I agree that the study is largely based on economics, but like you said, it's hard to economically quantify some environmental concerns.

I decided to ask some people about the issue... specifically, a former prof who taught a course on environmental concerns (not an engineer, but in oceanography, and "in the thick" of environmental actions in this region), the Regional Muncipality (I'm interested to see what kind of response I get from them). I'll let everyone know if they have anything to add...

I just think people should think a little more about what's actually happening... sure we're told that recycling saves the environment, but we're also told to stock up on batteries for Y2K, and duct tape for the next terrorist attack. I think sometimes these things are just handed out to give a false sense of empowerment to people who want to know what's going to happen.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 12:23 pm
 


Avro wrote:
Blue_Nose wrote:
You didn't read the article, did you? Do you even know what "recycle" means?


Oh I'm with ya buddy, I just went out and bought another garbage can and put my recycling bins in it.

I also bought a new chainsaw and I will go cut down every tree I have on my property up north and sell it for pulp.

Fight the power.


I'll take that as a no.

Stay away from those ammonia fumes, 'buddy'.


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 12:25 pm
 


BN, if you haven't already, you should read "State of Fear" by Michael Crichton. 8)


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 1:25 pm
 


Well, Avro, all I can say is that if you actually gave it a second thought that the hippie environmentalists have duped society based on bad science and policy, you might see the difference between what I'm trying to do, and "kill trees, kill trees".


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PostPosted: Wed Jan 11, 2006 1:44 pm
 


canucker wrote:
BN, if you haven't already, you should read "State of Fear" by Michael Crichton. 8)


You mean where he maintains that all special interest groups should have to disband after 10 years, because after that point they become more interested in self preservation than the cause they championed?


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