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Guru
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Recycling, a Way of Life

08/18/2014 3:31 PM

Recycling, as most Americans know it, means saving paper, aluminum cans and plastics to be placed at the curb-side trash for pick-up. Recycling goes much farther than this. In my area, we have a waste disposal site that accepts everything other than garbage and hazardous materials. I'm sure they also exist everywhere. These waste disposal sites are now know also as recycling centers. Automobile junk yards are now known as "auto dismantlers" and recyclers.

Recycling has become a big business. The advent of our "throw-a-way" society has created the recycling boom. Don't think for a minute it's to benefit the environment. It does, but more importantly, it is a big source of money. Almost everything made today was designed to be thrown away rather than fixed. Even a $200 TV set, once out of warranty, is no longer cost effective to repair. In fact, I would doubt there are people who could fix it. Manufactured goods like refrigerators, washing machines, etc are called "durable" goods. That means they are designed to last (I believe) 7 years. Their durability has kept steady. That I contribute to rising major appliance costs.

Just about everything you can think of is recyclable. That old computer and other electronics devices are broken down and materials are salvaged. Silver, gold, copper and even the plastics are separated and sold for future new products. Recycling is nothing new. That Japanese toy that appeared after the war could have been made from recycled tin cans from the U.S. The Chinese used to recycle bandages (I don't know if they still do). Even those notorious IEDs' use recycled explosives.

We will see much more recycling in the future. Automobiles have been recycled for a long time. A car goes to the crusher and eventually ends up back on the auto assemble line. Of course it could end up anywhere. A tree is a fine example of 100% recyclable.The bark is used for mulch, the wood for lumber, paper and even the sawdust is recycled for plywood products (MDF and particle board). Whatever is left, goes into generating power. Even plain old garbage can be considered recyclable. It goes into a land fill where it breaks down to produce new soil and further fertilizing it. Recycling is an integral part of life on this planet. Recycling goes on whether we realize it or not. Through recycling, our planet is self-sustaining, a very important point.

Life goes on despite our efforts to destroy it. All we accomplish is to slow down the natural recycling cycle, but through our recycling efforts, we may be able to help reverse the downward trend.

This probably should have been presented as a blog, but I am far from being an expert on such matters and it would be nice to hear what others have to say.

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Guru
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#1

Re: Recycling, a Way of Life

08/18/2014 4:41 PM

An independent contractor here burns the cities garbage. To produce steam for heating the cities buildings and electrical power. The ash goes to the land fill. A company I worked for did service work for them at the time. At the time the contractor was looking for a means to remove the aluminum from the ash. Not everyone recycles. A lot of places it's still voluntary. To some I can understand why. The cost of water. As every container needs to cleaned before it recycled. Which can increase the house hold water bill to a point that it maybe cheaper not to recycle. Seems like a Catch 22.

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Guru

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#2

Re: Recycling, a Way of Life

08/18/2014 4:44 PM

Who would be against recycling in principle? My only objection is on current times use of the term "recyclable". A more appropriate description would be self-destructible, in order to enforce its own recycling and by doing this, save the poor, poor planet. Well, if something is against planet health in that context, it's that exact thing, the so called programmed obsolescence. Funny thing is that self-proclaimed (environ)mentalists, think of it as a... blessing. Well, that "blessing" works fine for LIMITED time frames, but on the long run it ruins national economies that unconditionally apply it, beyond any possibility for peace-time economic recovery. Hate to say it but now you are seeing the first signs of this in US, and even those eastern countries that temporarily benefit from it, will follow. S.M.

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Guru

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#4
In reply to #2

Re: Recycling, a Way of Life

08/18/2014 5:47 PM

I agree with most of this.

"Save the planet" has always been the statement of fools and (excuse the phrase, no insult intended) the simpleminded.

"Save the humans" would be the correct mantra, if logic rather than emotion were employed.

This planet will take care of herself just fine, and will be here long after we are gone.

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Guru

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#3

Re: Recycling, a Way of Life

08/18/2014 4:48 PM

I wonder how much of it is cost effective? As I drop plastic packaging from consumer goods into my home recycling bin I suspect that the person sorting and the transportation cost far more than they will recover from my waste plastic.

Aluminum cans are probably the gold mine of home recycling. But, I think that they are only worth about 2 cents each. Thus, they probably are also not cost effective in a single stream system like my city uses.

Cars are a heavy item with some copper and many aluminum parts. They might average around one thousand pounds of steel. It would be easier for them to be cost effective.

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Guru
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#5

Re: Recycling, a Way of Life

08/18/2014 5:48 PM

I'd prefer to buy things that are designed and built to last a long time. It's hard to describe how much I hate the crap that is designed to break, with no way to fix it.

The recycling thing is likely another scam that is getting a few people rich with government subsidies.

http://science.howstuffworks.com/environmental/conservation/issues/recycling-reality.html

While we throw everything away and even cars are disposable to meet CAFE standards, it's kind of ironic that Cuba is still enjoying the fruits of our former manufacturing glory.

My 86 GMC truck is okay, but I wish I still had my 71 Chevy.

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Guru

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#6

Re: Recycling, a Way of Life

08/19/2014 7:31 AM

We have in India many repair shop who repair washing machines, ovens, T.Vs, computers and many other equipments. Equipments are used here for many years till they are completely dead. Here cost of repair is not too high as there is cheap labour available in plenty. I visited U.S in 1990, my brother had disposed off "Bell" land line phone. I brought it back to India and got it repaired, there was minor fault. Till date it is working very well no problems at all. A nice piece of engineering.

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Guru
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#7
In reply to #6

Re: Recycling, a Way of Life

08/19/2014 7:39 AM

In the US, not only is it hard to find parts for things, but due to intellectual property fears, even finding a decent repair manual is becoming impossible.

They don't want us fixing things, and if we insist, they want it carried out at an expensive "authorized" service center.

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Guru

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#8
In reply to #7

Re: Recycling, a Way of Life

08/19/2014 7:47 AM

You are right, same principle is being followed here by MNCs. But our Indians are smarter they get repairs done at other repair shops.

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Guru
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#9
In reply to #8

Re: Recycling, a Way of Life

08/19/2014 8:21 AM

Another trick they use here is to only sell parts to "authorized" shops.

It becomes not worth bothering trying to get something fixed, and it's intentional.

With all of our wonderful technology, and even with our "feel good" recycling programs, I think people would be amazed at how much more garbage, (per person), we are creating now than even 50 - 60 years ago.

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Guru

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#11
In reply to #9

Re: Recycling, a Way of Life

08/20/2014 2:47 AM

Not only that but poor customer is cheated as he has to throw away products even after few years usage. This is due to fact that company's machines keep running and directors are filling their pockets. I feel that good consumer product should work for minimum 10 years of course after periodical repairs.

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Guru

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#10

Re: Recycling, a Way of Life

08/19/2014 2:06 PM

An interesting read is "Landfill Leachates", where OSHA, The EPA and various other organizations of this type go into "Grey Area Mode".

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