Archive for December, 2006

No, I don’t recycle, thank you

It’s true, I really don’t recycle. It isn’t because I want the Earth to be turned into a wasteland for future generations, it is simply because it’s not economically viable.

Think about it for a second, it if really made economic sense to recycle, people would be paid to do so and big industry would be falling over themselves to do it without being forced to by governments.

This is already true for aluminium, which is significantly cheaper to recycle than digging out bauxite and producing from ore, it’s twenty times more efficient in fact. Which is why there has been an aluminium recycling system for decades.

Paper, on the other hand, is certainly less efficient. The waste paper has to be pulped, treated with chemicals to remove the ink (producing waste), not to mention being transported to the recycling plant in the first place. So what about saving trees? The majority of paper is produced from trees grown specifically for paper production, in sustainable forests, and the demand for paper increases the amount of trees planted in the first place. So by recycling paper you’re actually discouraging forests.

Add to this the requirements for more man-power to collect and sift through the waste (you don’t really think that they believe what people put in the specific recycling bins do you? Of course not, it all ends up being largely sorted by hand) plus the additional collections and it soon starts to look less and less compelling as a means to save the Earth.

Naturally, if I was a gardener I’d be composting organic waste for the garden, but again, the benefits of this have been widely known for decades so it’s hardly a new thing.

I view the current recycling fad being forced onto people by governments as a means of making people feel good about ‘helping the environment’, while in actuality it’s the large subsidies being offered for recycling schemes that’s pushing it. Ultimately, we’re all paying for this, either directly through our taxes or indirectly by giving our time to go through the efforts to put waste into the designated containers in the first place.

The green lobby will no-doubt excoriate me for my opinion, but, frankly, they should be concentrating their energies on areas that make more sense economically, as they will, in the long term, improve our lot much more.


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December 9th, 2006


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