Tag Archive for recycle

New Technology = New Opportunity.

We see that the issue of resource location will have a large impact on the future of renewable and clean technologies. Who controls the sources of elements such as Lithium and Cobalt as well as other metals can indeed impact the price and development speed of these new technologies.

lithium and colbaltThe Times report on this problem raises some elemental (pardon the pun) questions…but there are always options. In November, Reuters reported that recycling companies are developing new means of extracting metals from old batteries. This could be a critical source of such raw materials.

Of course our illustrious leaders have said that this is a priority…and their solution will be to destroy natural areas rather than mine existing sources through recycling…Sorry…that was mean…

This should be an opportunity..let’s not waste it.

Read the full article:
Metal recyclers prepare for electric car revolution
U.S. Launches Effort to Reduce Reliance on Imports or Critical Minerals
Limited free access; NY Times subscription may be required.

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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.

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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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