Wednesday, July 11, 2018

The Waste of Recycling

When you perform rituals based on faith, that's a religion.  Recycling is a religion:
Californians dutifully load up their recycling bins and feel good about themselves. They’re helping the environment and being good citizens.

But their glow might turn to gloom if they realized that much of the stuff is headed to a landfill.

That’s because there’s no longer a recycling market for a lot of the paper, cardboard, plastic and other junk that’s left curbside...

Moreover, what used to be California’s — and the world’s — largest overseas market for recyclables recently shut its door.

“China doesn’t want our garbage anymore,” says Steve Maviglio, a political strategist who is advising the recycling industry. “It’s time we cleaned up our own mess"...

Eric Potashner, a government relations official for Recology, a curbside hauler that sorts San Francisco Bay Area trash for recycling, says, “There’s no market for a lot of stuff in the blue bin. What we can’t recycle we take to a landfill.”
But what about bottles and cans?
There’s continuing struggle with the popular beverage container recycling program that originated with passage of California’s convoluted so-called Bottle Bill 32 years ago...

But the program itself needs recycling. It’s not generating enough money, in many cases, to make recycling pay. Scrap value has dropped — especially for plastic. When oil prices tumbled, it became cheaper to make plastic bottles from all-new material than recycled matter.

Nearly 1,000 recycling centers have closed in the last two years, about 40% of the total, leaving consumers in many communities with no local place to leave their bottles and redeem their nickels.

California’s once-proud recycling program “is teetering on the edge,” says state Sen. Steve Glazer (D-Orinda). It was hit hard in 2016 when the state cut back on fees it paid to recyclers. The old fees served as recycling incentives.
Fees to recyclers?  Incentives?  You mean, recycling didn't pay for itself, it needed taxpayer input?  Sigh.

You know what's funny?  The people who read this and want to chastise me for being a horrible human because recycling is important, no matter what the facts say, those same people probably buy and drink bottled water way more than I do (which is almost never).

My pet peeve about our recycling program is that if I buy bottles or cans, I have to pay the CRV (California Redemption Value) for them.  Yes, I could save them, find a recycler, and take them to the recycler and redeem my money.  OR I could put them in the blue recycling bin next to my garbage--a bin that, incidentally, I'm required to have, and for which I have to pay extra.  It all just seems like a scam to me.

Maybe the CRV is like the pre-Reformation Catholic practice of selling indulgences.


Anonymous said...

When I was in San Francisco, a number of years ago, I went to the Ferry Place Market to get makings for lunch on the plane ride home. I started to take a plastic bag from the roll next to bins of salad greens, and the vendor asked if I was going to use the greens right away. When I said they would be in the hotel refrigerator until the next morning, he handed me a different bag, saying he would deny doing it, because the mandatory biodegradable bags started composting foods like baby greens and berries - within 15 minutes! Apples, carrots etc, were slower, but still ended up as compost. Virtue-signaling idiocy.

Btw, we are not visiting SF again. Neither is the meeting my DH attended, either.

Pseudotsuga said...

Have you ever seen the episode of the Penn and Teller show "Bullshit" in which they skewer recycling? What they the same thing you point out here.
In retrospect, it's all about feeling good, rather than actually doing good.

Ellen K said...

Even at virtue signally world otherwise known as @Starbucks, their straw ban ignores that their new cups probably have MORE plastic and that they still sell bottled water-a commodity we only buy for road trips. In fact bottled water is one thing that drives me nuts. Kids spend 2 or 3 bucks or more and leave open half consumed bottles to spill everywhere. I like the Penn and Teller where they get a petition to ban water under its chemical name. It more or less proves people don't know what they're talking about.