Tag Archive for recycling

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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A Bit of Good News for a Change

S-981 Electronics Recycling BillOn January 9, the Governor, in a complete surprise to all parties, signed S-981, the electronics recycling bill that has been passed, pocket vetoed and passed again.

This bill, now P.L. 2016-85 clearly makes the manufacturers of certain electronic devices, responsible for the cost of their recycling. It is a true producer responsibility law.

The signing of this bill is a good example of what can be accomplished when people engage in a democracy. Individual citizens, towns and counties united to send letters, pass resolutions and inundate the Governor’s office with encouragement to sign the bill. DEMOCRACY DOES WORK…

I have waited to write about this because as in many laws, the devil is in the details. The key here is what the NJDEP will do to implement the law. This is still a question.

My primary concern is that the manufacturers will try to undermine the law by trying to continue to underpay for the recycling service then cry to the legislature that they tried to make it work, but couldn’t. DEP has the tools to stop this, and I trust that they will do so.

We shall wait and see…but this is a good first step.

Read the full article:
PREVENTING THE E-WASTE STREAM FROM BECOMING A FLOOD

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Do you know where your e-waste is going?

e-wasteBloomberg recently reported that it probably found your e-waste…in a small town in Mexico being disassembled by workers who are unprotected from the Lead, Mercury or other toxic chemicals in the phones, computers or other electronics shipped there. And it is shipped there in spite of EPR (Extended Producer Responsibility) laws that say the manufacturers are responsible for this waste.

The problem is complex and simple at the same time. It is complex because EPR laws are riddled with loopholes that allow the manufacturers to skirt their responsibility. It is simple because the reason is simple. Manufacturers simply want to shift the costs to local governments rather than do what is right.

Government is not off the hook. How many local governments actually follow up on contractors that they higher to insure that the e-waste that they collect is processed in a responsible manner? Many turn a blind eye since they are also driven by the need to keep costs down.

This has to end. We do not have the right to risk the health and safety of poorer people because we do not want to pay $5 more or even $35 more for our electronic devices.

Read the full article:
We Found Your Last Smartphone, Next to Your Old VCR

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Synthetic Turf; Safe or Unsafe?

There have been a number of concerns raised about synthetic turf on athletic fields as to its impact on the health of the user. As we are in football season, it seems timely that we should look at this again.

First, understand that there is no absolute proof based on any known studies that can link any dangerous health effects to playing on synthetic turf. Also, it is true that synthetic turf does allow us to use recycled tires in the form of crumb rubber in the cushioning of the fields. But, the lingering questions of health must trump recycling.

Synthetic Turf

Notwithstanding which facts are correct, I still cannot understand why we rip up natural grass to put down artificial turf in our colleges, high schools and playing fields. Oh, I understand the cost elements and the durability arguments…I just don’t agree with them.

Study after study shows that we can grow natural turf fields using compost and proper aeration programs that:

  1. Reduce water and pesticide use.
  2. Hold up to heavy traffic.
  3. Allow people to play on real grass.
  4. Offer the added benefits of using living plants and creating a drainage area for water that is natural and effective.

So, why should we risk anyone’s health on an unknown when we can use a natural and effective alternative?

Read the full article:
Link Between Synthetic Turf Fields and Student Athlete Illnesses Considered

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