• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education skip experiences global resources cider press projects digital market permies.com pie forums private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Carla Burke
  • John F Dean
  • r ranson
  • Nancy Reading
  • Anne Miller
  • Jay Angler
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Nicole Alderman
master gardeners:
  • Christopher Weeks
  • Timothy Norton
gardeners:
  • Matt McSpadden
  • Rachel Lindsay
  • Jeremy VanGelder

When recycling isn’t

 
master steward
Posts: 6464
Location: southern Illinois, USA
2273
goat cat dog chicken composting toilet food preservation pig bee solar wood heat homestead
  • Likes 11
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I may have mentioned this before.  If you can, do take the time to find out what happens to recycling material after you drop it off.  I had a situation when, in my travels,  I was in the right place at the right time.   The short form is that a state official was commenting on the state placing recycling bins at all their rest areas due to public demand.   Of course, the state had taken no steps to handle the recycled material once they received it. Therefore, the state maintenance employees were instructed to discretely dump the contents of the recycling bins into the regular dumpster.
 
master steward
Posts: 14895
Location: USDA Zone 8a
4114
dog hunting food preservation cooking bee greening the desert
  • Likes 8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Sadly, it sounds like that is happening more than we realize:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/05/29/climate/recycling-landfills-plastic-papers.html

https://www.wusa9.com/article/news/verify/what-percent-of-your-recycling-goes-to-a-trash-landfill-fact-check-explained/65-eaae65b8-1b17-4e28-be4e-63ad7362c2d8
 
steward & author
Posts: 35561
Location: Left Coast Canada
12407
8
books chicken cooking fiber arts sheep writing
  • Likes 12
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm lucky to live in one of the few places that China still accepts plastics from (we are good at sorting) and the government and private sectors both put a lot of research and money into recycling because
1. Positive public opinion
2. Cheaper here to recycle many ingredients than to get them from nature.
3. The landfills are filling up and it costs more to toss it out than to sell it to a recycling facility.

So there are some really neat advances in recycling in BC

That said.

Poor sorting or cleaning can ruin a batch and cause it to get discarded.

Recycling has a lot of problems and was intended as a stop gap measure while we switch to more sustainable packaging and consumerism.

There is a reason they put it as the last R in the slogan,  Reduce,  Repair,  Recycle .  The others are far more important.
 
steward & bricolagier
Posts: 13818
Location: SW Missouri
9241
2
goat cat fungi books chicken earthworks food preservation cooking building homestead ungarbage
  • Likes 9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

There is a reason they put it as the last R in the slogan,  Reduce,  Repair,  Recycle .  The others are far more important.  


I think the one that few people put in there is most important.
Reduce, Repair, Reuse, Recycle
I tell people I'm the "reuse" part of that equation. The more I can reuse, the less that goes to the trash.
 
master gardener
Posts: 2852
Location: Upstate NY, Zone 5, 43 inch Avg. Rainfall
1056
monies home care dog fungi trees chicken food preservation cooking building composting homestead
  • Likes 9
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It is very true. The reduction of recyclable exports had hit where I live pretty hard. It is easy for the local community to implement single stream recycling when all of it ends up in a truck compactor with the regular trash. It forces a person to really consider their consumption and how those products are packaged if they want to be serious about waste reduction.

I need to make my own catchy phrase it seems...

Compost, Combust, Coconuts?

I'll have to keep working on it.
 
pollinator
Posts: 4418
Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
1180
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Around here, the recyclable stream has been severely curtailed, especially regarding plastics. People throw their blue bags in anyway, not realizing that half of their do-good effort is wasted, and just adds to the public expense as things are sorted down the line and half is landfilled. Not good, as it's trucked hither and yon which probably doubles the impact. It's mighty tough to avoid some of this waste, even though I try.
 
r ranson
steward & author
Posts: 35561
Location: Left Coast Canada
12407
8
books chicken cooking fiber arts sheep writing
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Pearl Sutton wrote:

There is a reason they put it as the last R in the slogan,  Reduce,  Repair,  Recycle .  The others are far more important.  


I think the one that few people put in there is most important.
Reduce, Repair, Reuse, Recycle
I tell people I'm the "reuse" part of that equation. The more I can reuse, the less that goes to the trash.



I like reuse in there.  We only had the three R slogan where I grew up, but I like 4 better.

I hope one day we won't need a big recycling industry.
 
John F Dean
master steward
Posts: 6464
Location: southern Illinois, USA
2273
goat cat dog chicken composting toilet food preservation pig bee solar wood heat homestead
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Even though I started our local recycling center, I seldom use it now.   I have found that if I  think more in the direction of reducing and reusing that there is less need to recycle.
 
gardener
Posts: 5042
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
956
forest garden trees urban
  • Likes 6
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I work for a university.
There are recycling bins everywhere, but they are all lined with a one use plastic bag,which is not part of what can be recycled at our local facility.
This makes me very suspicious that the contents are just going into the trash dumpster.

Until the true cost of disposal is built into the purchase price, landfills and incineration will dominate.
There is a way to recycle almost anything if the incentive is high enough.
During WW2 reusing everything was considered a moral imperative.
If we treated natural extraction as a moral impossibility that was like trading with the enemy, we would find ways to use what we have, rather than extract oil or gas to make a plastic do dad.

 
pollinator
Posts: 136
Location: Oh-Hi-Oh to New Mexico (soon)
26
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Local news got tricky and tracked it:
"CLEVELAND – An exclusive FOX 8 I-TEAM investigation secretly followed even more of your recycling. We put GPS trackers inside recycling and kept watching to find out where does it go.

The trail of our trackers is now leaving some people from yet another local community wondering why they make the effort to recycle.

We checked a public recycling drop off in Medina County. We placed the tracker in a bin on a Thursday, and the signal showed it got picked up on a Saturday morning. The tracker went to several others locations in Medina County before stopping at a parking lot, later Saturday morning. The signal does not pick up again until 2:37 a.m. on Monday, at which it shows the signal coming from a landfill."


https://fox8.com/news/i-team-secretly-investigates-recycling-in-more-northeast-ohio-towns/

So disgusting that they do this!
 
pollinator
Posts: 370
Location: zone 5-5
135
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Recycling has always been a scam.
They keep new plastic cheap enough to discourage it's use.
It was a scam dreamed up by big plastic to make people feel better about using plastic.

 Sometimes I think the landfills are just mines of the future.
All the plastic/resources stuck in one place, saved until they become valuable.
 Sort of long term recycling.

Our local landfill might be county owned.
So profits from selling these future resources can benefit the community.
 They were going to sell it to a private company.

I work toward keeping stuff out of the landfill , but have started putting plastic in the garbage, since I know that locally it just goes to the landfill.
The local recycling center stopped taking plastic.
My plastic use was pretty low already but this has me cutting it even more.
 
Posts: 117
Location: central Pennsylvania
14
5
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator


Until the true cost of disposal is built into the purchase price, landfills and incineration will dominate.
There is a way to recycle almost anything if the incentive is high enough.
During WW2 reusing everything was considered a moral imperative.
If we treated natural extraction as a moral impossibility that was like trading with the enemy, we would find ways to use what we have, rather than extract oil or gas to make a plastic do dad.



Totally agree!!  But there's either not the political will, or else the corporate "citizens" have bought off all the politicians.  Or both.
 
Timothy Norton
master gardener
Posts: 2852
Location: Upstate NY, Zone 5, 43 inch Avg. Rainfall
1056
monies home care dog fungi trees chicken food preservation cooking building composting homestead
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Something that is at least happening near me is there is now not enough space for landfills. Numerous ones have closed up, and the 'local' incinerator has been closed up. We are seeing quite a lot of startup trash service companies getting bought out by 'Big Trash' who now hauls it farther and farther while raising up the prices.

I'm lucky to where my local government has options for paid trash removal, but with limited disposal sites how long will that be sustainable?

We might not have a choice here shortly if we don't have a place to put our trash.
 
pollinator
Posts: 102
43
  • Likes 8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
JUST USE LESS!!!
 
Posts: 193
23
  • Likes 5
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There are many plastic items our curbside recycling does not take.  We take the reject items to a special recycling center that takes it.  For every pound of material we recycle we burn 2 pounds of fuel, Just an estimate.   Something to think about
 
John F Dean
master steward
Posts: 6464
Location: southern Illinois, USA
2273
goat cat dog chicken composting toilet food preservation pig bee solar wood heat homestead
  • Likes 8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi Steven,

I never made a dedicated trip to a recycling center.  I take material to recycling only when I am going to make a trip by the center for other purposes.  This is true of all my trips.  It is rare for me to combine less than 5 missions when I get in my car or truck.
 
Steven Rodenberg
Posts: 193
23
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Hi John,

We combine trips too.  The recycling center is in the heat of Cincinnati slums.  There is nothing that we can combine trips to that place.  It is only open a couple of hours on a selected 2 days.  It is wall to wall recyclers.  I don't know what is worse, Land fill or CO2.
 
Douglas Alpenstock
pollinator
Posts: 4418
Location: Canadian Prairies - Zone 3b
1180
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

craig howard wrote: Recycling has always been a scam.
They keep new plastic cheap enough to discourage it's use.
It was a scam dreamed up by big plastic to make people feel better about using plastic.


Personally, I don't entirely buy that argument. The problem is always the quality of the recycled material as it inputs into the next stream of products. The next stream will be a mix of new and recycled, to meet the specifications required by the customer. There are many cases where this works, and will continue to work at a massive volume. Bravo!

Unfortunately, I acknowledge your point -- in that lazy-minded consumers think they can achieve holy-halo status by throwing random unrecyclable material into the blue box. Think about what happens next -- trucked to a sorting facility, and the unrecyclable material is sorted out, and then it's trucked again to a landfill. For many materials, this might double the environmental impact of its disposal.  

If you don't take personal responsibility for what goes into the recycling stream, then you are the problem. My 2c.

 
pollinator
Posts: 164
Location: Ontario, Canada
54
cattle goat hugelkultur fungi foraging trees chicken fiber arts bee solar wood heat
  • Likes 7
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My brother always said that my mom invented recycling!  Growing up with both parents having gone through the 2nd world war and my father even surviving a concentration camp, everything was reused!  To survive you needed the 4 R’s that was just a fact of life. Everything was bartered or borrowed and things were used till they fell apart. I know this is the extreme, there was nothing to buy. No stores to buy it from and the aim was for these prisoners not to survive. Survival in these camps was based on thinking outside the box and constantly trying to outsmart the guards. Seeing a snake cross the compound and getting the children to safely kill them and harvest the meat to survive another day. One morsel of meat could save someone’s life from Beriberi which people were dying of daily. My father at 7 years old learned to trade with the locals and smuggle meat in his anus. He would pay the locals in whatever he could find.
A scrap piece of metal someone turned into a frying pan which they could cook their ‘found prizes’ in!  I still use that pan to this day!  A found piece of wood, someone whittled clogs for my Oma, which she tied to her feet with rags. Better than burning the soles of your feet when you had to stand at attention in the hot sun for hours on end. I have many such stories.  My father was so hungry he even ate grass to survive. So you can imagine that every button every thing a child could find was a treasure!  Oh yes one last story, my father had a terrible toothache and someone had built a foot drill with sticks and string and an old drill bit. So they cleaned out the infected tooth and filled it with the tar from the road. That fixed the problem till years later when Dad as a teenager went to the dentist who looked in his mouth in surprise!  He couldn’t believe it!  

Look what Denmark did with their mountain of garbage just look up Amagar Bakke mountain of garbage.  We can all learn how to problem solve this differently with different eyes,  make beautiful mountains that everyone can enjoy!  


 
Mary-Ellen Zands
pollinator
Posts: 164
Location: Ontario, Canada
54
cattle goat hugelkultur fungi foraging trees chicken fiber arts bee solar wood heat
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Correction it is spelled Amager Bakke
 
pollinator
Posts: 3773
Location: Kent, UK - Zone 8
665
books composting toilet bee rocket stoves wood heat homestead
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here in the UK recycling and general waste disposal are run by local councils.

The councils pay a punitively high rate for each tonne of material that ends up in landfill.  They have very strong financial incentives to do recycling properly. In practice that is a hybrid of biogas digesters for food waste, power generating incinerators for anything that won't compost and is not recyclable, and then recycling. Waste is collected in separate bins on different days, and most people keep their recycling waste "clean" enough to be processed.

There are strict clean air regulations governing incineration and they are incredibly clean burning and efficient, with exhaust scrubbers to ensure the flu gases are clean.

That said, there are limitations. Some items that are technically "recyclable" cannot currently be processed in an economical way. I'm looking at you tetra-pak. There are also consistent problems with households putting the wrong items in their bins. A typical example is thin-film plastics (bags, film lids of packaging etc...). These cause serious issues with the machinery used in recycling sorting - they get snagged on conveyor belts and gum up machinery. I watched a very interesting piece from the point of view of the recycling processor - they said that they have consistent problems with "recycling optimism". People feel that some items SHOULD be recycled, so they put them in with recycling even when they know that it isn't accepted. Thin film plastics are particularly bad for this - people shove them inside other plastic containers.

One of the end results is that their equipment spends more time stopped than it should, and they end up with backlogs of unprocess materials which then need to be diverted rather than recycled.

They were sending a very clear message. If you really are trying to do the right thing with your recycling, then follow the instructions!

Since I watched that I have become aware of a string of problems caused by inappropriate disposal of electrical items with lithium batteries. Disposable vapes seem to be the worst offender. The recycling plants - and the track drivers - are regularly having to contend with electrical fires as the batteries get damaged.
 
master pollinator
Posts: 492
Location: Wabash, Indiana, Zone 6a
224
hugelkultur monies forest garden foraging trees books food preservation bike bee writing rocket stoves
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
    Number of slices to send:
    Optional 'thank-you' note:
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I reject the corporate-led propaganda campaign to push the onus of "recycling" onto the end user. Remember when everyone used to get their soft drinks in glass bottles? Those older than me will remember the same about home milk deliveries. There was a give/take between the producer and the consumer. In other words, you were paid to return the container.

We should go back to that model with plastics.

Pry open the corporate wallets and they'll abandon single-use plastics like it was a virus.

And I repeat that in the interim, though I know it is a problem that we must address, I refuse to feel guilty for tossing SUPs in the garbage because I didn't ASK for my stuff to be wrapped in it, and they aren't recycling it anyway. Less than 7 percent of all recyclable plastics are recycled.

But I'm about to the point where I'll be able to implement the most powerful R in the waste stream alphabet:

REFUSE.

Refuse. Reduce. Reuse. Repurpose.

I have it on my heart to gradually replace as much of the plastic stuff in my house with regular and borosilicate glass. And let me tell ya, the glass they're making today is pretty tough and light. I mean Pyrex has been around for quite awhile, but there are more options available.

If enough people step forward and refuse to purchase anything wrapped in SUP, (yeah, I know, but it is theoretically possible)...

Producers will start scratching their heads and asking themselves, "where did all of my consumers go???"

j

r ranson wrote:

Pearl Sutton wrote:

There is a reason they put it as the last R in the slogan,  Reduce,  Repair,  Recycle .  The others are far more important.  


I think the one that few people put in there is most important.
Reduce, Repair, Reuse, Recycle
I tell people I'm the "reuse" part of that equation. The more I can reuse, the less that goes to the trash.



I like reuse in there.  We only had the three R slogan where I grew up, but I like 4 better.

I hope one day we won't need a big recycling industry.

 
I don't like that guy. The tiny ad agrees with me.
FREE Perma Veggies Book! - Learn how to grow the most delicious and nutritious food with the least amount of work.
https://permies.com/t/238620/perennial-vegetables/FREE-Perma-Veggies-Book
reply
    Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic