30 December 2005


Overheard recently at work: everyone thought that recycling was a good thing until they realized that it costs more to recycle than to throw away. Yeah, that's why we recycle. To save money. Jackass. Recycling is A Good Thing because our society can consume both resources and land (as landfills) at a greater rate than the environment can provide. Ancient societies got in the same predicament and often disappeared because of it. American Indian tribes over-farmed forests and destroyed ecosystems in the west [ref?]; we could just as easily outpace what our current forests have to offer. And although there's millions of acres of "empty" land to use as landfill, how are you going to get your garbage there efficiently (i.e. affordably)? And the argument that recycling costs more ignores the full processing cycle that includes mining ore or harvesting lumber. Jeesh. Does this even need to be stated? It reminded me of another canard where someone tried to tell me that we shouldn't recycle glass because it's made of sand. Gah!

Obviously, I and a half-dozen or so random strangers were at the recycling center today.

[ posted by sstrader on 30 December 2005 at 11:35:12 AM in Culture & Society ]