When Recycled Glass Isn’t


In medieval days, some believers would engage in self-flagellation: inflicting painful wounds upon themselves for no other good reason than to enhance their perceived virtue and self-esteem. The modern equivalent all too often is “recycling.”

This point was brought home to me recently when I learned my local community has been “recycling” glass by incinerating it and throwing it in the landfill with all the other garbage. So in other words, all those people who are painstakingly washing the paper labels off their glass bottles are wasting their time. Their carefully prepped glass is ending up in exactly the same place as the bottles I carelessly throw in the trash.

The authority pays Allied Waste $2.3 million a year to pick up, sort and find markets for glass, discarded newspapers and magazines, empty milk jugs andother items recycled by Madison County residents.

Note what’s going on here. Recycling glass is not economical. There’s no market for recycled glass. The city of Huntsville has to pay an outside contractor $2.3M to take the “recyclables” away, for goodness sake. It would be far cheaper to kill the program and dump the glass and paper in the landfill.

So why doesn’t the city just save $2.3M annually and dump the paper and glass in the landfill (where it’s apparently ending up anyway)? Because a vocal minority feels so good about the irrational process of recycling they want to impose the cost and the inconvenience on the rest of us.

Certain recycling actually does make sense. Aluminum, for instance, is cheaper to recycle than it is to mine and refine from scratch. That’s why people will pay you for aluminum cans, instead of you having to pay them to take it away.

Want to learn more and be entertained at the same time? Don’t miss Penn and Teller explain why “Recycling is Bullsh*t” in this half hour program. Penn and Teller DVDs are available from Amazon.

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