Some recycling tidbits

Some interesting (at least to me) tidbits from an recycling article written by Natalie Ermann Russell of Simple Life and posted at CNN Technology. Click here to read the whole article, if you care about saving our environment. ;)Gary L. Parr

  • Office paper, which has long fibers, is worth a lot more than the “mixed paper” of cereal boxes, which has shorter fibers.
  • Plastic, glass, and metal containers are cleaned to remove food, but paper is not. Food particles can contaminate an entire batch, as the food (along with the paper) begins to biodegrade if it is left to sit.
  • All steel products, for example, contain at least 25 percent steel scrap, which requires 75 percent less energy to produce than “virgin” steel.
  • As for aluminum cans, recycling just one saves enough energy to run your TV for 2½ hours.


  1. I think we’re getting close to a leveling off point of the usefulness of voluntary recycling.
    There are those of us who actively recycle what our communities allow.
    In order to reach the next level, we need to spread this to the masses that don’t actively recycle.
    One reason people don’t recycle is that it is too easy to just throw the items in the trash. Guilting the masses into recycling isn’t going to work without incentives. It’s not that they don’t care. It’s that taking the time when we’re not working, taking care of our homes and kids, and taking time to keep ourselves healthy (fitness, play, hobbies, sleep), there is just no time to follow all of the rules of recycling and take that to recycling centers.
    This is what I think needs to be done to spread this to the masses:

    1) recycling technology needs to improve to decrease the rules and make it easier. For example, can’t we find a way to sterilize pulp so that food doesn’t ruin an entire batch? If one person screwing up ruins everyone’s efforts for a paper batch, are we going to get anywhere?

    2) Curb-side pick-up. All trash companies or communities need to pick up recycling as part of their service, not make it optional and charge extra.

    3) Trash pricing. Regular trash is too cheap. If it’s made more expensive to pickup trash than recycling, more people are going to recycle. The City of San Francisco gives you 3 bins: mixed recycling, compost, and trash (the black trashcan). Your trash bill is largely governed by the weight of your black trashcan.

    The basic idea: make recycling easy and required and make not recycling expensive.

Speak Your Mind