Anyone care about Recycling?

DanielH

Woodpecker
I have a couple worm bins which I throw my kitchen scraps and any paper or cardboard I have into. They eat at least 25% of their bodyweight a day and they produce incredibly potent compost which not only is full of minerals, but also has plant growth hormones, natural pesticides (worms produce a chemical which slowly dissolves insect exoskeletons so insects will tend to avoid worm castings), and fights against plant diseases. Worm castings make plants grow bigger and healthier than any other organic product. This is really the only recycling I'm concerned with, as I believe a lot of America's health problems comes from eating horrible food and this plays a part in healing depleted soil while making us healthier in the process.
 
If people want to facilitate recycling, make life easy on the scrappers if there are any in your area. Leave things that contain a lot of metal outside of the dumpster if you can (if the dumpster is in an alley). If it does not disappear by a week later, then throw it in. If you have a small appliance or electronics that can not be repaired, before throwing it away, snip the cord off, coil it up, and leave it by the dumpster--some scrappers will recycle the copper in the cords. If you replace a copper line going to a sink, etc., then definitely leave that out.

I spent 17 years working in the metals industry, and we loved scrap. Customers paid for the fabrication cost of what we made, and we passed through the London Metal Exchange Midwest Premium per pound price for the material. That cost was assuming the material was coming from a smelter. So every pound of scrap we could buy was how we made money. Scrap was sold at so many cents a pound discount to prime. A good scrap buyer, someone who had contacts and could secure a stream of good scrap, was a valued employee. I wrote a program for one buyer to help him do quick checks if the scrap chemistry would work for what we were making that month.

Point is, recycling metals is the low-hanging fruit of recycling, and if you do not want to save up scrap metal and go to the scrap yard yourself, and if some poor guy is puttering down your alley in an old pick up truck looking for scrap metal every now and then, why not make life easy for them?
 

kazz

Kingfisher
I believe it is another form of control administered by oligarchs, China the Jews, it was the beginning, a 'tester' if you will to what we are seeing now, eg global warming etc. Do you think the elites care about recycling?

Just kidding, yes I recycle. :)
 

Advorsor

Sparrow
If the option is given to me (without having to go through hoops), I'll recycle. But if I feel like I am being inconvenienced/conned - no thanks.
 
It's useful if you don't pay for trash. If you have the space and can burn, set aside several trash cans, separate your recyclables, burn your trash, and run down to the nearest collection point once or twice a year. It's manageable for a family of 3 or 4 and you get a few bucks for the aluminum.

You get a tidy burn burn pit free of noxious plastic or hard to burn metal and save some bucks dumping your waste collection bill.
So what exactly do you burn then? It's illegal to burn rubbish without a permit in my country. If you were burning all food and cardboard for example, then it wouldn't be bad for the environment; but what exactly are you burning?
 
It's illegal to burn rubbish without a permit in my country.
Same in both townships I have practiced this. It's the main reason I like recycling as I imagine the neighbors would report if all my plastic got burned.

As to your question, I burn essentially whatever goes in our 13gal kitchen trash can. I also burn all paper and some non recyclable plastics like LDPE. I reason its good for the fire and gives me control over all my personal docs. Other waste streams are:
  • All food waste goes to a compost pile. Eliminating the food waste allows (sanitary) longer term storage of other wastes.
  • Pet waste/kitty litter is the hardest stream. I trench a short length out of the ground every few years and dispose there.
  • Reduce/reuse - Everything from planters, to my haz waste bottles for the shop/garage.
  • Electronics - I actually used to pick stuff up from other people's trash to break down and get some extra $$$ in college. Now that regs have tightened curbside disposal I just have a few personal electronics waiting next the other recycleables. Its free drop off at the collection facility.
  • Syrofoam sits and waits for a large project that will utilize a dump run.
Thinking about this for a minute, I legit can't think of anything lately that was an issue other than styrofoam and a section of wire spiraled dryer hose. Started doing this ~15 years ago and have had fines for tenant's misuse of paid trash collection on rental properties; never fined or had a neighbor complain for my program. I did have a little over an acre when I started. I put a 55 gal drum behind my garage and it was never an issue. Now theres a nice cinderblock containtainment that the kids did a project and mortared over with marbles and other decorative stuff. At ($30 a month * 12 months) - $40 in scalehouse fees a year, I've saved almost $5000 in that time. Got a big item? Haul it to the curb anyway and wait with 2 $10 bills the morning of trash day (they come by at 6 am like clockwork a bit before I leave). The collection guys don't care you aren't a customer and have been super chill the few times I've done this with furniture to avoid a dump run.

Total area for my "recyclables" is a small corner of an outbuilding. 6 43 gal trashcans, and a few sq ft of space for electronics and other random stuff. It was an old chicken coop addition originally off a larger building. Its too big for the number of chickens I have now so it got repurposed.

To counter the "it all goes to China/India then the sea" narrative our local waste collection touts they use an incinerator for lots of the recyclables (even plastics). They have some kind of ceramic catalytic toxic reclamation system after the incinerator. They claim it generates 100's of trillions of BTUs a year and equate it to heating about 20,000 homes in the area. Seems like weird math to me but they're proud of it.

Lastly, I've seen a rise in recycled plastic in skids in the manufacturing where I work. I think its the HDPE waste recyled. The trash company also has a work program for adults with disabilites that do our sorting I believe.

Jacob Robinson said:
Point is, recycling metals is the low-hanging fruit of recycling, and if you do not want to save up scrap metal and go to the scrap yard yourself, and if some poor guy is puttering down your alley in an old pick up truck looking for scrap metal every now and then, why not make life easy for them?
You guys made life sweet back in the day.
 
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Try using junk to repair or make things. Some examples I can think of:

-A friend of mine had a microwave wear out (the turn table literally wore through the track) and he was going to throw it out. I took it and a) discovered that although a different brand, it was identical inside to mine, so I stripped and saved almost all parts (the diode, capacitor, circuit board, microswitches, door latches, turn table motor, fan motor, etc.) b) saved the stainless steel cover and used a piece of it to repair a gas grill. c) took the transformer, cut off the secondary windings (and saved them for copper recycling), rewound it with heavy cable, then used mostly scrap parts to turn it into a home-made spot welder.

-Bought a pair of bag gloves a while back for hitting a speed bag. They came with steel weights. I did not like them and removed them. Used one of them to fix a vise that was missing a guide rod by turning it down on a metal lathe to the right diameter. Good as new.

-Had a pizza stone that came with a goofy metal rack. Stone was great for re-heating pizza and for baking bread. Rack was useless. Cut out a piece of it, bent it into a loop, then riveted it to a piece of leather to make a hammer holder for my tool belt.

-Had a lawnmower's plastic mulching attachment self-destruct. Used a the metal back of a junk PC to make a new attachment.

-Bought a Simpson VOM at an auction. A battery clip was missing. Cut up a used rifle cartridge (brass), hammered it flat, and formed a new clip with tin snips and pliers.

And how about not tossing stuff out just because they are old? We still have a VCR and still use it on occasion to watch movies we have on tape--it really is not that bad. In the workshop have a tape player and I play tapes I had in the 1980's, and a relative's collection he was throwing out twenty years ago--works fine for background noise. Have a record player (guess they are popular again) and listen to records from box-sets of big band music, etc. No need to figure out how to recycle something if it is never replaced.
 
There are different motives to recycle:

1. Out of concern of running out of materials, or out of concern that it takes more resources (energy, etc.) to create new materials than to reuse old materials and conserving energy is generally a good thing.

2. Out of concern of running out of landfill space. Or toxic effects of landfills.

Regarding the first issue, when cost or scarcity strikes, the market steps in and takes care of it. That is why aluminum, steel, copper, brass, etc., are all recycled via the private sector. Creating new aluminum, for example, might involve strip mining a village in Jamacia for bauxite, shipping it to an aluminua plant that uses caustics and natural gas for processing, then shipping to a smelter to turn into aluminum. It is easy to find smelters: just follow the power lines. If virgin material is used, a six-pack of drinks took 1.2KWH of electricity just to smelt the ~3 ounces of aluminum involved. In WWII the US mainly mined bauxite in Arkansas to make all those war planes and mess kits, and those resources are almost gone now, and metallurgical bauxite has been imported for years. Energy intensive to make: yes. Running out of virgin materials: in the US at least, yes.

But plastic comes from oil and more oil seems to be discovered every year. Do environmentalists want to recycle plastic so we will have the gasoline to drive cars longer? If recycling plastic uses less energy than making virgin plastic, no one has said so. Paper comes from tree farms, and if there was no need to farm trees those farms would be used for other purposes. The total acreage of trees would almost certainly go down, not up, if all of paper were recycled in a closed loop. Are we running out of pulp wood trees? No. Is there an energy savings? Some sources say yes, but new pulp has to be added to generate good quality paper, not all paper can be recycled, it is unsure if transportation of scrap paper is counted, etc. Regardless, it seems the supply of paper to be recycled is outstripping the demand in this regard, which is why the price for mixed paper is currently negative $2 a ton. By comparison, aluminum is positive $1,000 a ton.

Regarding the second issue, that of landfills, a lot of people point back to an incident in 1987 that started this. A barge with garbage left New York City for a landfill in North Carolina. I remember the media circus around it back then. Although NYC had exported trash for years, once the media got a hold of it, no state wanted to be seen as NYC's dumping ground. So the barge got dieseled around for months until it unloaded at an incinerator in New York. It was a case of the media creating a story on a slow news day, and political chest beating by politicians. But the implication seemed to be that the country was running out of landfill space--and it seemed like recycling could be the answer. But it was not, and is not, running out of landfill space. Nor are modern landfills meaningful heath hazards. Toxins do not leach out, and eventually the land is turned into grassy fields. About 1/4 of American landfills, as of several years ago, were turning methane from rotting organics into electricity, which would seem to fit the definition of a renewable energy source. You are more likely to suffer health effects from coal burning power plants in China (mercury in ocean fish, etc.) than from your local landfill.

It could be argued that we are less environmentally friendly along these lines today than we were in, say, the 1970's. Back then people did not throw electronics out--they had them repaired. They did not toss out Amazon Prime boxes every week into a bin that may or may not ever get recycled. More glass than plastic was used, and at least some glass bottles got reused. Less processed foods meant less plastic packaging (and healthier people). There were not billions of plastic bottles of water in sold in grocery stores. Where I lived, if you mail ordered it was probably through Sears, and they had a very efficient ship-to-store distribution network that did not involve delivery trucks going up and down every street and huge numbers of shipping boxes. There was less transportation of everything. The only things worse in that era were that cars put out more pollutants and power plants and oil refineries and such put out more pollutants. But on an individual level, we are probably worse than our grandfathers were to the environment, even with a recycling bin in the alley.

I think for most materials, the only way to do things better is to just consume less. Cut out processed foods in plastic containers as much as possible and stop ordering from Amazon. That, and recycle metals and repair what can be repaired.
 

HurricaneJP

Pigeon
Yes I recycle but what bugs me is when they don't break down the cardboard boxes and there is no room in the dumpster.
I'm sure it will all end up in a landfill or a barge somewhere eventually.
 

paninaro

Kingfisher
Yes I recycle but what bugs me is when they don't break down the cardboard boxes and there is no room in the dumpster.
I'm sure it will all end up in a landfill or a barge somewhere eventually.

The recycling rate for corrugated containers (boxes) is 92 percent. I'm pretty sure that includes business recycling also -- think of all the boxes used to ship goods to retail stores then they bundle those up and send them to recycling.
 

NoMoreTO

Ostrich
I don't care about recycling, but I do it. We have to put a paid sticker tag on our garbage where I live, recycling is free. So I participate. Also, find it easy with two cans.

Whatever happened to Reuse and Reduce anyway? I thought those were the key.
 

Hanibal

Newbie
Recycling is really useful for many materials like of course metal. It goes in a spectrum with metal, cardboard, glass, even cloth and construction materials being readily recycled. End of day - metal and cardboard are traded on international exchanges so makes lots of financial sense. Throwing them in landfill is insane. Plastic is an entirely different beast - and in many areas - I think it would be better of just incinerating as is done in Japan for example. Recycling it is a bit of a nonsense. Lots of energy applied, it gets weaker every time it is recycled, and when recycled - no one really wants it anyway - as you need to ship it to a producer - usually in 3rd world. Before plastic - landfills were actually designed to fill old mining holes - not as a way to dispose of rubbish.
 

grenade001

Sparrow
Recycling is really useful for many materials like of course metal. It goes in a spectrum with metal, cardboard, glass, even cloth and construction materials being readily recycled. End of day - metal and cardboard are traded on international exchanges so makes lots of financial sense. Throwing them in landfill is insane. Plastic is an entirely different beast - and in many areas - I think it would be better of just incinerating as is done in Japan for example. Recycling it is a bit of a nonsense. Lots of energy applied, it gets weaker every time it is recycled, and when recycled - no one really wants it anyway - as you need to ship it to a producer - usually in 3rd world. Before plastic - landfills were actually designed to fill old mining holes - not as a way to dispose of rubbish.
Japan is notable for having incinerators still relatively close to settlements.

Singapore incinerate a lot of their rubbish, and will step it up in the future, as their current landfill island will be full within 10 years.
 

infowarrior1

Hummingbird
I would support the re-conversion of plastic that cannot be recycled back into oil:

Even though I lean towards environmentalism. I don't believe too much in the carbon dioxide as pollution nonsense.

Plenty of landfill that can be turned into oil.
 
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