Tag Archive for recycle

DART Misses the Bullseye with its Greenwashing Efforts…

Styrofoam fights come and go. NYC was stopped from enacting its styrofoam ban by good legal maneuvering by DART Corporation and by DART’s ridiculous claims that styrofoam food containers are easy to recycle.

The reality is that anything can probably be recycled from a pure chemistry standpoint. The point is, can it be sustainably recycled?

In this case, the answer is no. Styrofoam is essentially air and polystyrene. When recyclers move materials they need to move large loads by weight over the shortest distance possible with the material having the greatest value possible.

Styrofoam food packaging fails on almost all fronts. It does have a potential value, but shipping it to the midwest is not the solution.

Styrofoam beads in residue

It is also a significant contaminant as you can see in the photos posted. These photos are at a paper mill that makes new paper from old cardboard boxes. All that white junk is styrofoam packaging. Not really useful.

Styrofoam in pulp residue

Styrofoam food packaging is a product whose time has come and gone. It is not sustainable, it is harmful from an environmental standpoint and it wastes resources.

Any claims to the contrary are greenwashing.

Read the full article:
N.J. schools make efforts to ban Styrofoam food containers

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Is it Recycling or Scavenging?

The article in Craines NY Business outlines a young entrepreneur who is getting rich on the labor of the less fortunate while he is probably undermining years of recycling education in the City of New York. There are really two questions here.

The first is that the company its relying on people scavenging (allegedly) through the unseparated garbage of certain commercial and apartment complexes to find redeemable cans and bottles.

gray market recycling operationOn its face, there are problems here. The fact that people are not separating the materials in the first place is a violation of City law. The fact that he is offering property owners a service that essentially says don’t do more to separate your recyclables as required by law is probably a violation of City Law. The fact that he is operating a gray market recycling operation without a Business Integrity Commission License is certainly a violation of the spirit of the law.

I am all for doing what can be done to enhance recycling in all locations. Recycling creates jobs and in many programs helps to employ low skilled laborers in meaningful employment while they perform a valuable service.

Unfortunately, this program relies on people to whom this “entrepreneur” is not offering any job benefits…wages, health benefits,etc…On whose earnings he does not pay any taxes as an employer is required to do. His “employees” make no contributions to their future social security or medicare payments and the company makes limited contributions to the local economy.

In many poor countries scavengers scour landfills and garbage dumps for recyclable materials and sell them to people like this gentleman. Is this really how we want to have recycling work in this country?

Let’s think again.

Read the full article:
Conrad Cutler built an empire on recycling cans. But he’s putting a dent in city revenue

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Why doesn’t Dunkin Donuts use recycled paper coffee cups?

From the Dunkin Donuts Web Site:
Why doesn’t Dunkin’ Donuts use recycled paper coffee cups?
Dunkin’ Donuts is committed to selling fresh brewed coffee in containers that are safe for the consumer. Our foam cup is one of the strongest in the industry and it insulates better than paper cups we have tested. By using foam, we are reducing the added waste that occurs with double cupping, cup sleeves and/or extra napkins. In addition, foam cups are recyclable, paper cups are not, and we encourage you to check with your local/municipal-recycling program as to whether or not they will accept #6 plastic.

ARGH…Misinformation is such a nightmare.

I recently presented at my Alma Mater for a group of sustainability students and they asked what they could do on campus to make a difference in the solid waste generation on campus. I suggested that they try to get styrofoam cups removed from all food service, starting with Dunkin Donuts.

Well, I thought that I should look this up first…and the above misinformation is what Dunkin Donuts is espousing…

First, while it is true that paper cups cannot be recycled after they have been used, it is equally true that styrofoam cups cannot be recycled after they are used either. More importantly, very few programs exist to take styrofoam in any event.

Why? Well to answer the Dunkin Donuts people who are encouraging your community to subsidize their use of styrofoam by paying for a recycling program to take their product, which it can’t do in any event…the answer is…

It is not economical in any way to recycle styrofoam. Even if collected, it is so light that we would waste more energy moving this material than we could save.

Dunkin Donuts Styrofoam Cups

The Dunkin Donuts website is simply asking you and I to support corporate welfare by putting these programs in place.

I have a better idea…look at some of your more environmentally conscious competitors and learn.

As for us, why not forward this blog to 10 friends and start a petition to get DD to change?

Any takers?

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Zero Waste…Two views

We read a good deal about zero waste initiatives. Two different articles show how confusing this can be. Some generators divert as much waste as possible to resource recovery plants, thus avoiding landfills. Others are moving to technologies that recover more materials through more aggressive source separation and recycling; then using anerobic digesters to make gas for fuel.

Some combination of the methods makes sense. There are simply some materials that cannot be source separated easily. However, it does make sense to capture all that we can for recovery, recycling and energy generation before relying on the arcane technology of the landfill.

Zero Waste Landfill

When reading the two articles, note the difference in those companies that are changing the nature of the materials that they use…Ah, thinking about what will leave before you use it…Now there’s a solution.

Read the full articles:

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