Recycling (is) Garbage

In 1996 John Tierney wrote in the NY Times Magazine about the failure of recycling.  His update in today’s column doesn’t change much of anything but the date. Steven Hayward at Powerline discusses and links to Tierney’s article in today’s NY Times Magazine. From an economics and carbon footprint standpoint you might break even recycling about 35% of your garbage:  metals, cardboard and some plastics.  And that depends on the price of energy. The rest makes no economic or environmental sense and likely does more harm to the environment.  Tierney ends with asking the question of how can you tout sustainability when you base it on something like recycling that is not at all sustainable.  Worth a read.


5 responses to “Recycling (is) Garbage

  1. In other words, John Tierney gets to recycle his column. So who says recycling’s a fraud, eh?

  2. I agree about recycling but in one very poor country what has been done with recycled materials is absolutely amazing. In Portugal there are people who live at a garbage dump. They find materials that are suitable for making musical instruments. I have seen nothing like what they have made. The young people’s orchestra that has been created has played at different world venues.

    This is a mere example of how recycling could or should be used. Despite this one story I agree that most recycling is a menace and not a benefit.

  3. It would be nice to see a quantitative analysis of recycling that wasn’t dominated by calculations of “carbon emissions”, and in the best case, wouldn’t have any. For example, I am still under the impression that recycled glass can be turned to gold simply because the melting temperature of glass is so much lower than that of its ingredients. But what other costs are there, I do not know.

  4. No need to wonder if recycling makes sense or not. Just look at your garbage bill. If you have curbside recycling, you will see a significant surcharge to pay for it. The on, and only, reason for this is because recycling is a money losing proposition for the most basic of reasons. The resources consumed in the activity of recycling are more valuable than the benefits provided.

    Mandatory recycling is a religious observance forced on a gullible population by the unholy alliance of Gaia worshipers and power mad politicians.

  5. Recycling extends the useful life of the landfill and provides employment for a lot of bozos with double-digit IQs. Oh, and assuages the collective guilt over the amount of stuff we throw away. Can’t think of anything else…

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