The fallacy of American recycling

There you go, like a diligent little prole, taking time to separate out your oil, your plastic, your rubber, your paper, your metal, your cans, your glass, placing them with care and love into the applicable bins in your recycling glee. You do the recycling dance. You wear recycled clothes. Hemp ain’t temp.

Like a puppy, you absolutely know it’s going to a good home.

Except that it really isn’t going anywhere. Not then. Not now.

From NPR.org:

Recycling Chaos In U.S. As China Bans ‘Foreign Waste’

by Cassandra Profita

Like many Portland residents, Satish and Arlene Palshikar are serious recyclers. Their house is coated with recycled bluish-white paint. They recycle their rainwater, compost their food waste and carefully separate the paper and plastic they toss out. But recently, after loading up their Prius and driving to a sorting facility, they got a shock.

Stop. You know me. You know I can’t resist. How typical is it that Leftists recycling in Oregon Leftist Central, Portlandia, have recycled paint on their house, recycled rainwater, possess a compost pile and thirty different recycling bins. They’re damned near a parody of themselves.

But when they all piled into their Toyota Prius — clearly one of the most damaging cars on the planet when it comes to toxic materials, danger posed to emergency responders and overall ground rape — I knew they were more (of course) naive little GOWPs.

A Prius damaging to the environment? From NCPA.org:

PRIUS OUTDOES HUMMER IN ENVIRONMENTAL DAMAGE

The Toyota Prius, the flagship car for the environmentally conscious, is the source of some of the worst pollution in North America, and takes more combined energy to produce than a Hummer, says the Recorder.

Consider:

  • The nickel contained in the Prius’ battery is mined and smelted at a plant in Ontario that has caused so much environmental damage to the surrounding environment that NASA has used the ‘dead zone’ around the plant to test moon rovers.
  • Dubbed the Superstack, the factory has spread sulfur dioxide across northern Ontario, becoming every environmentalist’s nightmare.
  • Acid rain around the area was so bad it destroyed all the plants and the soil slid down off the hillside, according to Canadian Greenpeace energy-coordinator David Martin.
  • After leaving the plant, the nickel travels to Europe, China, Japan and United States, a hardly environmentally sound round the world trip for a single battery.

But that isn’t even the worst part, says the Record. According to a study by CNW Marketing, the total combined energy to produce a Prius (consisting of electrical, fuel, transportation, materials and hundreds of other factors over the expected lifetime), is greater than what it takes to produce a Hummer:

  • The Prius costs an average of $3.25 per mile driven over a lifetime of 100,000 miles — the expected lifespan of the Hybrid.

  • The Hummer, on the other hand, costs a more fiscal $1.95 per mile to put on the road over an expected lifetime of 300,000 miles.

  • That means the Hummer will last three times longer than a Prius and use almost 50 percent less combined energy doing it.

From Wired.com:

Go Green — Buy a Used Car. It’s Better Than a Hybrid

Chuck Squatriglia

DITCHING YOUR GAS guzzler is a great way to reduce your carbon footprint, but if you really want to do something about global warming, get a used car. You’ll be putting less carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

As Matt Power notes in this month’s issue of Wired, hybrids get great gas mileage but it takes 113 million BTUs of energy to make a Toyota Prius. Because there are about 113,000 BTUs of energy in a gallon of gasoline, the Prius has consumed the equivalent of 1,000 gallons of gasoline before it reaches the showroom. Think of it as a carbon debt — one you won’t pay off until the Prius has turned over 46,000 miles or so.

There’s an easy way to avoid that debt — buy a used car. The debt has already been paid.

Earlier Prius models use NIMH batteries — nickel-metal hydride. You may choose now between NIMH and Lithium-Ion in 2017. Tesla is running off Lithium-Ion batteries.

Lithium-ion batteries just won’t store the amount of energy required to be as useful as Musk promises, says Milnes: “Personally I think the Tesla factory producing hundreds of thousands more lithium-ion batteries is really short sighted because those batteries are just never going to hold the amount of energy we need them to.”

But wait, there’s more.

But even as Tesla’s batteries promise to reduce tailpipe emissions, more direct environmental concerns surround the current boom in lithium-ion batteries. As hundreds of thousands more of these batteries hit the market, the problems that come with lithium mining, battery lifecycles and recycling loom large.

In a 2013 report, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Design for the Environment program concluded that batteries using nickel and cobalt, like lithium-ion batteries, have the “highest potential for environmental impacts”. It cited negative consequences like mining, global warming, environmental pollution and human health impacts.

You might want to consider this as well:

Effects of Mining Lithium

Even though you will not be individually mining the lithium used in your batteries, you should still be aware of the environmental concerns of this process. The U.S Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted a study on the materials and production of a lithium-ion battery. The study concluded that mining these chemicals can cause the following:

  • resource depletion
  • global warming
  • ecological toxicity (Kaiser, 2013)

Some chemicals used in lithium-ion battery production are very rare and exist in tiny quantities. Rare metals are mined in China by passing bags of dirt through several acid baths, leaving behind the rare materials. “Those rare earths amounted to 0.2 percent of what gets pull out of the ground. The other 99.8 percent-now contaminated with toxic chemicals-is dumped back into the environment” (Wade, 2016).  Overall, almost every stage of the lithium mining process can lead to harmful environmental effects.

California says it wants to ban all but electric vehicles by 2040. One teensy-weensy problem: California doesn’t want to build any electric generation stations. Oopsie. And not everyone with an electric car can move to Texas.

Back to the desecration. How odd. GM stopped manufacturing the Hummer brand in 2009. The Prius and all other hybrids are still raping and plundering the environment. Leftists and dupes happily buy them.

Back to the original story.

“The fellow said we don’t take plastic anymore,” Satish says. “It should go in the trash.”

The facility had been shipping its plastic to China, but suddenly that was no longer possible.

Whoa whoa whoa. Hold up on that car wash. Did I just see that our recycling materials aren’t being taken locally — much less the United States — but are instead being shipped to China? Do you know how much more toxicity that one act adds to the environment? The cost of diesel? The cost of shipping? The cost of storage and transportation? The cost of additional ships?

And “trash”? All that must now go “in the trash”? I’m sure the Palshikar family envisions months of therapy in order to quell those horrific visions.

Check this:

The U.S. exports about one-third of its recycling, and nearly half goes to China.

For decades, China has used recyclables from around the world to supply its manufacturing boom. But this summer it declared that this “foreign waste” includes too many other nonrecyclable materials that are “dirty,” even “hazardous.”

That’s rich. After China having shipped dog food to the US “fortified” with, well, dog-killing melamine. But what the hell. Just good filler.

In a filing with the World Trade Organization the country listed 24 kinds of solid wastes it would ban “to protect China’s environmental interests and people’s health.”

Beijing, China, 2016. On a good day. This is an actual photograph.

Right. Because China is so terribly concerned with pollution.

The complete ban takes effect Jan. 1, but already some Chinese importers have not had their licenses renewed. That is leaving U.S. recycling companies scrambling to adapt.

“It has no value … It’s garbage.”

Wait wait wait wait wait wait. That cannot be. This is Utopia. How could possibly have been overlooked?

Rogue Waste Systems in southern Oregon collects recycling from curbside bins, and manager Scott Fowler says there are always nonrecyclables mixed in. As mounds of goods are compressed into 1-ton bales, he points out some: a roll of linoleum, gas cans, a briefcase, a surprising number of knitted sweaters. Plus, there are the frozen food cartons and plastic bags that many people think are recyclable but are not.

Right. Average stuff people throw away. Wait. Are you saying.  .  .

For decades, China has sorted through all this and used the recycled goods to propel its manufacturing boom. Now it no longer wants to, so the materials sits here with no place to go.

“It just keeps coming and coming and coming,” says Rogue employee Laura Leebrick. In the warehouse, she is dwarfed by stacks of orphaned recycling bales. Outside, employee parking spaces have been taken over by compressed cubes of sour cream containers, broken wine bottles and junk mail.

Are you saying that the American Recycling Utopia is a falsehood?

And what are recyclables with nowhere to go?

“Right now, by definition, that material out there is garbage,” she says. “It has no value. There is no demand for it in the marketplace. It’s garbage.”

For now, Rogue Waste says it has no choice but to take all of this recycling to the local landfill. More than a dozen Oregon companies have asked regulators whether they can send recyclable materials to landfills, and that number may grow if they can’t find someplace else that wants them.

Again I say: wait. This makes no sense. Weren’t and didn’t the Leftists all along tell us that recycling will save us? And by dint of that, as good little proles ourselves, didn’t we think it was going somewhere — other than the general trash heap?

Seems it isn’t it all.

Or: it went to China. China? You mean to say the Leftists weren’t in full control of the recycling chain in the first place, from collection bin to final recycled product? They certainly made us think so.

This made me wonder, of course: is recycling even viable? Does it even work? Or is simply another Leftist myth hammered into the skulls of those susceptible to this mush and/or bulled by local agencies to do so?

From TheFederalist.com:

Why Recycling Is A Waste of Time

by Bre Payton

“People who recycle should be ashamed of themselves for acting like scavengers when so much is possible to them under capitalism.”

The secret is out: recycling isn’t working, because it was never really supposed to.

The Washington Post reported that more recycling companies, including Waste Management, are turning away from recycling, as the enterprise has ‘become’ totally unprofitable. They place the blame on the (well-meaning) masses who acted like apes when they were given larger recycling bins.

The article explains:

By pushing to increase recycling rates with bigger and bigger bins — while demanding almost no sorting by consumers — the recycling stream has become increasingly polluted and less valuable, imperiling the economics of the whole system. . . Residents have also begun experimenting, perhaps with good intentions, tossing into recycling bins almost anything rubber, metal or plastic: garden hoses, clothes hangers, shopping bags, shoes, Christmas lights. That was exactly the case last year, when the District replaced residents’ 32-gallon bins with ones that are 50 percent larger.

While many are throwing shade at those big glue bins, the truth is, much of consumer recycling has been a waste of time all along. The article goes onto explain that glass probably shouldn’t have ever been recycled. It’s heavy and breaks easily, contaminating the rest of the materials in the pile. Most of it has no value, and often costs money to haul away. The stuff that is valuable is “trucked to landfills as daily cover to bury the smell and trap gases.”

There are numerous other articles on the subject. I was amazed that most of them said: “meh.”

The people above are part of what I term the Religious Left, an insular group taking all their environmental beliefs on faith, unwilling to budge or compromise on facts, trends and statistics, brooking no disagreement with their views and by which those in disagreement must be met with all remedies ranging from belittling to outright violence. Disbelief makes one an apostate and a heretic — not unlike the Borg or Islam.

Now you know where your trash is really going. To the dump.

Blue bins, here we come!

BZ

 

4 thoughts on “The fallacy of American recycling

  1. Recycling of certain materials is only economically viable if the source (the clean recycled material) is cheaper to ship to the recycler/processor facility than the cost of the raw materials.

    So, precious metals (to a point, e-waste is still very uneconomical) and certain strategic metals, some types of glass (if provided clean to the processor), some other things.

    Paper? Best recycling is to mulch it and add it to your garden.

    Most plastics? Feh. Some can be shredded for mulch, but most of it belongs in a landfill. Sure, some of it can be melted and burned for fuel, but that is specific types and they have to be clean, really clean to be ‘economical.’ Cleaning the plastic to proper levels is, well, not very green.

    ‘Green’ Environmentalism has never been about saving the environment. It has always been about control of people.

  2. And most large buildings are now doing ‘single source’ recycling… e.g. it all goes in the same dumpster… Quelle surprise!!!

  3. I remember saving aluminum cans not long ago.
    Our Trash here is picked up weekly, and taken to an open field approximately 40 miles from here where the Caterpillars pulling huge rollers over all of it. Then when the “refuse” is smashed down, a layer of earth is bull dozed over it, to fully cover it up. Their are other older fields there,, that have covered waste areas from years past.

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