Monday, January 21, 2019



It's simple, you may think you are helping the environment by separating what you think is recyclable into different bins, making sure that plastics go in the blue and that nothing that you believe can be reused or made new again goes into the black bin.

What if I told you that you've been fooling nobody but yourself this whole time. Well, at least up until recently, the things that folks think can be recycled simply can not. They're too contaminated with other non-recyclable items that it just creates a situation that 25% of the things we think are tossed into the recycling bin are simply chucked back into the big was dump in the sky.

Worst than anything else, China isn't putting up with our garbage anymore. Now that they're on the way to becoming a better economic powerhouse over us, they stopped buying our dirty recycling. So we really have run out of people to sell it to. So the default there is that it just gets dumped with the rest of the non-recycle stuff.

As it stands the majority of the recycling programs that run in our country are single stream. The whole separation of bins in sorting your trash went from 29 percent in 2005 to about 80 percent in 2014. So that means that just about everyone feels like they're doing something ethical when they sort out their garbage in terms of recycling. The problem comes in that when they collect those bins, the trucks smash the shit out of everything inside. So the plastic bottles in there get covered in a ton of broken glass that was also in there and the cardboard and paper is just otherwise made unrecyclable because of what it went through. Thus, even recyclable items just get tainted because of the whole situation. 

Thus the recycling rates, while going up in volume because people then put out more to the curb, also have far more contamination in it. Then you have folks who put in batteries and electronics. All of which CAN be recycled, but not through this method. You need to take those to a special drop off spot, which can often be found at local stores like best buy and fry's. So again, you just made everyone think they're doing something nice, and thus maybe scratches the itch of the niceness bar, but it just about fucks up the whole system.

I guess that came to mind today as I was driving and saw someone with a truck full of cardboard heading to the recycling center to get money for that ton of it he was hauling. Why was he doing it on that particular day? Because it was raining, thus he was essentially putting his finger on the scale when they weigh him in as wet cardboard is much heavier and still get accepted by some places when it is very light rain. The problem is that wet cardboard does not recycle good.

So while the advice of simply not recycle isn't the best. In fact, I still actually recycle a lot, I would say that you shouldn't feel content that you just dump anything that you consider recyclable into the specific bin as your contribution. It's a false sense of actually doing something productive and that sort of sucks. Do better. The future generations deserve better.

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