Even the Times gets the Words Wrong, but the Message is Correct…We need better Recycling

The fact that recycling market news is making the NY Times is great. The fact that reporters still get the words wrong is even more telling. Throughout the article on recycling markets becoming more restrictive in China, and the impact that these restrictions will have on the U.S. recycling program, the intermixing of the word waste with items like paper and plastic highlights part of the problem.

The thinking that secondary materials are waste is exactly why we do not sort them properly in the first place. Recyclables are COMMODITIES…THEY ARE NOT WASTE. Waste is the contamination that we have been sending to China because we are unwilling to properly sort our materials.

recycling markets

Of course, if we were able to regulate the manufacture of products to make them more recyclable, there would be less confusion about what to recycle and this would reduce the problem as well.

In the meantime, remember that recyclable materials are commodities. Proper language is important.

Read the full article:
China Limits Waste. ‘Cardboard Grannies’ and Texas Recyclers Scramble.
Limited free access; NY Times subscription may be required.

Share

Let’s View Water as an Investment

We lose 30% of our treated water to leaks, we don’t replace lead pipes and we put off necessary rebuilding improvements. The questions raised by Jane Kenny and Mark Mauriello are both on point and very telling.

water cycleWith the legislature covering hearings on our infrastructure needs, it is important that they consider the “One Water” approach…that is, look at the water cycle from start to start. Yes, that’s start to start.

Water is a cycle. We have a finite quantity that must be used over and over again. Yet, throughout history, we have treated water for drinking as a separate issue from used water. It is time to rethink the world of water in a more holistic fashion.

We have a chance to make an investment that is shown to return more than 200% for every dollar spent, improve cleanliness of the water we drink and save energy at the same time.

Let’s do it.

Read the full article:
Fixing N.J.’s water infrastructure is not a cost, it’s an investment

Share

We Are Missing a Real Opportunity to Help Our Fellow Citizens in Puerto Rico

The disaster that Hurricane Maria visited on Puerto Rico, as terrible as it is, offers us the opportunity to create a model of sustainability. The question is, will we take that opportunity or simply recreate a system that is not sustainable.

sustainability hurricane mariaIn a recent Op-Ed, Richard Branson and Amory Lovins offered an idea that I have been taking about to many. Instead of rebuilding an archaic fossil fuel power system that can be destroyed by storms, is expensive to maintain, causes a financial drain on the island’s economy and leaves its residents at risk due to the whims of an indifferent administration, we can spend the money that must be spent on developing a resilient renewable energy infrastructure.

This infrastructure should be a combination of solar and wind powered systems where every home has some relationship and tie in to that structure. Either independently…solar on each home, or a combination of that and more centralized wind systems where they are feasible. In addition, the use of micrograms should be strongly considered…especially where wind is the source.

I have not done the full cost, but I would propose that it may well be less expensive when life cycle analyzed to build this decentralized system than to try and use the current model.

We should not squander this opportunity.

Read the full article:
How to Keep the Lights On After a Hurricane
Limited free access; NY Times subscription may be required.

Share

Let’s Ignore Climate Change to Make it Go Away

epa quiet climate changeCan you really believe that the EPA is now gagging scientists and preventing them from speaking at conferences that discuss climate change? I suppose when we have an administrator that is a shill for polluters, it should come as no surprise that this would happen.

Whether or not you agree with anthropogenic causes as the reason for climate change or not, can there really be harm in discussing the science and what might be done to mitigate the damage at a conference?

This is getting out of hand.

Read the full article:
The Latest: EPA Scientists Won’t Speak on Climate Report

Share