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Why I don't recycle

  1. Jun 9, 2010 #1
    Outside of obviously toxic items like chemicals, electronics and batteries, I don't recycle my trash. I don't think the environmental benefit is worth the opportunity cost of my time (lost classifying and sorting trash). My time is better spent working, improving my skills, paying more taxes, and generating wealth.

    Also, given that:
    A) landfill space is inexpensive in North America AND
    B) within 100 years we should have robotic sorters (with RFD chips in packaging?!?) to separate trash
    - it makes no sense to separate trash manually now. Increasing economic growth by working harder so that we get to the point where trash can be sorted by robots would be a better use of everyone's time.
     
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  3. Jun 9, 2010 #2

    DaveC426913

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    We don't recycle because it is cost effective; we recycle because it will be cost-effective and we need to learn how to get there from here.

    Major change doesn't happen overnight; it often doesn't even happen in a generation. But next generation will grow up with it as second nature; just like they are growing up knowing how to type and use a phone. They don't know a world without it.

    We recycle for the future.
     
  4. Jun 9, 2010 #3
    You're time is better spent paying more taxes? You're dead wrong on that. Also, recycling means throwing away plastic bottles, aluminum cans, and paper products. You don't sort through it after you throw it away, you throw it away in the recycling bin from the start so that you don't have to sort it out later. I guess common sense isn't very common.
     
  5. Jun 9, 2010 #4
    What? No.

    For the future? This is nonsense.
     
  6. Jun 9, 2010 #5
    We don't recycle because it is cost effective; we recycle because it will be cost-effective and we need to learn how to get there from here.

    I don't find virtue in doing manual labor that can (and should) be automated.
    Trash recycling needs the same economies of scale that modern sewage systems have.
     
  7. Jun 9, 2010 #6

    DaveC426913

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    There are many detractors who point out that it is expensive and inefficient to recycle. If we simply went with what is or is not working right now, it would be not.
     
  8. Jun 9, 2010 #7

    BobG

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    Once in a while, a person's post and signature are totally in synch. :smile:

    Fortunately, my kids are grown and I don't have to worry about setting a good example for them. Plus, I can't believe the ex used the recycle crates to pack her stuff in when she left. I'm going to lose my deposit on those!

    I guess I still have those pesky grandkids coming around asking me if I recycle. I'll handle it the same way as when the kids asked where I buried their bird, their gerbil, and their pet goldfish.

    (Disgusting trivia: When my sister-in-law moved, her brother discovered a dead cat in her freezer. Evidently, the ground was frozen too hard when it died, so she stuck it in the freezer until the ground thawed. But, she moved in August!)
     
  9. Jun 9, 2010 #8

    DaveC426913

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    I think it should be automated too. But it isn't.

    If you were living a couple of centuries ago, would you be sitting in your own filth, claiming that you'll wait until we build sewers?

    Do you also believe that we shouldn't put any effort into fusion generators until after they become cost-effective?
     
  10. Jun 9, 2010 #9
    If it was too cold to bury the cat she could have just put it in the garage!
     
  11. Jun 9, 2010 #10

    BobG

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    At least the cat would have reminded her no later than June.
     
  12. Jun 9, 2010 #11
    Plastic, aluminum and paper are renewable. Landfill space is cheap. When the cost of these items rises to the point where it's profitable to remove them from the trash stream, it will be done.

    My time to put items (properly, according to my local G) in a bin is expensive. Therefore, the benefit is near zero to me. I guess economic literacy isn't very common.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2010
  13. Jun 9, 2010 #12

    russ_watters

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    Exactly: for me it is as simple as having two trash cans in my kitchen!
     
  14. Jun 9, 2010 #13
    It's "your".
    You're argument is invalid.
     
  15. Jun 9, 2010 #14
    Knowledge about disease and sickness would make living in one's own filth dumb. It would be cost effective to be clean even if doing so was horribly inconvenient. Avoiding the very (often fatal) consequences of becoming ill back then would be worth the effort.

    Fusion research is a valid scientific endeavor for governments - although I think fission will rule for another century or two.
    Automated trash sorting research is also a valid endeavor for governments.
     
  16. Jun 9, 2010 #15

    Evo

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    Some states don't even have landfill space, they have to pay to ship it to another state.

    This thread is pointless, you're obviously trolling.
     
  17. Jun 9, 2010 #16
    I don't think fusion power plants should be built until after they produce more power than they take in. Likewise, I don't think recycling should be mandatory until it's more cost efficient than throwing garbage out.

    You're conflating doing research with a finished product. Fusion is in the research stage, recycling is in the "out in the marketplace" stage, so to speak. You're quick to point out other peoples logical fallacies, so I'm sure you knew that when you made your post.
     
  18. Jun 9, 2010 #17
    :rofl: Zing!
     
  19. Jun 9, 2010 #18
    Then, why are you bothering to recycle if its expensive and inefficient! -it doesn't make any sense. In fact, it's a bad idea and a waste of money in that case.
     
  20. Jun 9, 2010 #19

    DaveC426913

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    So you only bother to make an effort if it is personally, directly beneficial to you directly?


    Not yet it isn't. It is only valid if we see it as in investment in the future.

    It certainly may be. But we're not there yet.

    What do you propose in the meantime? Sit on your duff and toss your plastic into landfills?
     
  21. Jun 9, 2010 #20
    I've done that - but not anymore. I live in a 600 sq. ft. apartment with my significant other. It's inconvenient and space inefficient for me to have a 2nd 'trash' can.

    Then there's the time to rinse things - or they can smell or attract bugs - 10 or 20 minutes per week.
    The environmental 'costs' are meaningless to me. We've been land filling with paper and plastics for 100 years - we can do it for another ~100 until we can sort the waste stream.
     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2010
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