Tag Archive for recycling

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.
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Chaz Miller…Thanks for the Years of Service

Chaz Miller recently announced his retirement from the National Waste and Recycling Association…I had the pleasure of working with Chaz over the years and his retirement article is a good summary of his efforts.

chad miller recyclingChaz knows both the solid waste and the recycling industries. His comments on recycling’s problems have always been on point.

Whether or not Chaz and I agreed on an issue, you could always rest assured that his position would be well thought out and supported by good research. Indeed, in the “old” days, I used his articles in many a class as a starting point of discussions about solid waste and recycling.

Chaz is not leaving in a sense, just moving to the next phase of work.

Thanks Chaz.

Read the full article:
Onto the Next Stage

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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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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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