Recycling news is big news. These days we’re recycling plastic, we’re recycling paper, we’re recycling glass, we’re recycling electronics. Anything and everything to keep the bottled water bottles and such out of landfills and in consumers hands. Trash disposal is out, recycling is in and we’ve got your latest news and commentary why.
Why We Recycle Mattresses, Sort Of 08.07.12
By Mark Lennon
Blue Ridge Pkwy views.
I had the great good fortune this spring to drive up and down long stretches of the Blue Ridge Parkway through North Carolina and Virginia. If you have never done that, you should; it is for sure one of the two or three most beautiful roads in the United States. You should drive it in the spring, before the leaves come out. Then it’s like winning the trifecta. You get long views over the mountains and foothills; you get the first blushes of greens clothing the mountainsides; and you get the incomparable bursts of white and color in the fruit trees and dogwoods and azaleas. You also get no people – you can drive for miles and miles and miles with this most beautiful road in America all to yourself.
Taconic Pkwy views.
Returning to New Hampshire from one of these trips, I had the equally good fortune to drive the Taconic Parkway up the east side of the Hudson River. Not the grand mountains and long views of the Blue Ridge, but just as beautiful in its own way. Rolling hillsides of orchards and woods and pasture, for miles and miles and miles. Rip van Winkle country, and for all the world little changed since his time. That drive was pointed toward Northampton, Massachusetts, where I was giving a talk, about mattress recycling of all things. Now mattress recycling is not the most thrilling of topics. Especially when you get to talking about bedbugs, then it gets to be sort of gross. But what I was reminded, driving those days, through those landscapes, is that it’s not really about recycling. It’s not really about mattresses. It’s not really about the “waste stream”. It’s about this beautiful rich country and this one-of-a-kind planet.
Blue Ridge views in less pleasant times.
Mattress recycling is about a way to live on this planet. It’s about a carry-in, carry-out policy toward Planet Earth. It’s about touching the Earth in our lives in a way that leaves it for others to enjoy after us. The Blue Ridge wasn’t always the Blue Ridge. There was a time when it was logged and scraped bare, when it was a desolate landscape of stumps and tangled and rotting brush. The beautiful Blue Ridge I drove this spring is all second growth; it is a landscape recovered from gluttonous exploitation. And we’re still exploiting, as bad or worse than ever. Drive just a few ridges west from the Parkway and there are the stumps not of trees but of whole mountains scraped off and shoved into the valleys next door, to reach a coal seam a few feet thick. There are hundreds of square miles of these flattened mountains and used-to-be valleys (Google “mountaintop removal mining”). Drive a little north into Pennsylvania and there are whole landscapes toxified by mine tailings.
PLEASE VISIT OUR SPONSORS
Every one has a story to tell, now you can tell yours. The Story of Your Life, is the affordable, professional way to leave your loved ones a legacy. Email us to learn more: LIfestory@comcast.net
2010 Recycling News Archives
Recycling News Publications
Not much fun, but much reward.
And that’s why mattress recycling is important. Recycling makes possible Blue Ridge Parkways. Not recycling produces mountaintop removal. Recycling makes possible landscapes like the Hudson Valley. Not recycling produces toxic mine dumps. It’s not about the mattresses, it’s about the landscapes. It’s about using the Earth gently, about preserving landscapes for others to enjoy after us, about leaving them the resources to enjoy the Earth as we have. The Earth provides plenty of resources for us to do that, if we use the resources wisely. That’s why we recycle mattresses.
Please click here to add your two cents. Or two bits.
Plastic, Plastic Everywhere
So Let’s Go Have a Drink 06.26.12
So Let’s Go Have a Drink 06.26.12
When viewed from an environmental perspective these days it’s easy to see much of America’s consumer culture as downright evil. What other explanation is there for a press release defending the virtues of plastic drink containers in a world that’s literally swimming in oceans of discarded plastic (see video above). So this week NBN abandons its normal restraint to tee-off on a press release that reads more like the death throes of an industry surviving solely through campaign contributions to feckless politicians looking for cover for representing current commercial interests over the future of the planet. (Whew!)This press release concerns Massachusetts’ stalled Expanded Bottle Bill which proposes a 5 cent deposit on non-carbonated drinks like bottled water. Numbered below are the slightly abbreviated arguments the bottle water folks are making against the bill. NBN’s rather pissed off answers to same follow in italics. The photos were taken last week along a salt marsh wrack line in northeast Massachusetts.
Look Close. See all the plastic?
Top Ten Reasons The Bottle Bill Is Bad For Massachusetts (1)The bottle bill is an unnecessary, new tax for consumers. The five cent fee that would be added…is a new tax at a time when the economy is still struggling. Proponents of the bill estimate that it would bring in almost $20 million a year from unredeemed containers. Who said anything about five cents? It should be 25 cents! That way we’d not only make sure no more bottles end up on our beaches, but those that are out there will be cleaned up in a hurry. It’s a lot harder to toss a quarter out the window than it is a nickel.
(2)The bottle bill hurts local businesses. Expanding the bottle bill would cost retailers, grocers and beverage companies an estimated $58 million each year in additional operating costs. That’s assuming they continue to sell bottle water at $5 a 24-count case. What would happen if the cases cost $10.25 and each bottle has a $.25 deposit? Nothing. That is still only $.41 cents per bottle and you can get $6.25 back. People will still buy these omnipresent bottled drinks no matter what fluid they contain. At the same time the retailers could take five cents of that .$.25 deposit to defray their costs for collecting and processing the bottle. (3) The bottle bill puts thousands of Massachusetts jobs at risk. An expanded bottle bill would impact 3,700 high quality beverage industry jobs in the Commonwealth. What about all the job opportunities cleaning up all the bottles already out there?
(5) The bottle bill has little positive environmental impact. Expanding the bottle bill would raise the state's recycling rate by a negligible 1/8 of one percent (0.12 percent). Forget the fact this stat was generated by folks vehemently opposed to this bill, does anyone doubt that a universal $.25 drink container deposit will put that figure closer to 100 percent. Problem solved. (6) The bottle bill is much more expensive than more comprehensive, effective recycling programs. The existing bottle bill costs three to four times more than a comprehensive curbside recycling program. If it’s costing money someone is making money, just not the people making jillions polluting the planet with plastic. (7) Expanding the bottle bill would distract the Commonwealth from more effective measures to improve recycling. Expanding curbside pickup, making it easier to recycle in public places and supporting comprehensive litter prevention programs are all better ways to improve recycling in Massachusetts. This is the only decent argument in the entire press release. Plastic pollution goes way beyond drink containers. The only answer is an expanded Expanded Bottle Bill that forces businesses that use certain types of plastic to buy that type back at prices that will make it worth harvesting and sorting.
Closer! No. We did not stage these shots.
(8) The bottle bill is unpopular. The bottle bill has failed repeatedly to earn support from lawmakers every time the initiative has arisen. That’s because the folks who paid for this top-ten list have bribed our lawmakers to keep voting against it. (9) The bottle bill is outdated. The existing bottle bill was approved nearly 30 years ago… Today, nearly everyone in the Commonwealth has curbside recycling pickup and access to convenient recycling. We’ve had 30 years of curbside recycling and still people are discarding empty bottles like there are garbage. However, we agree, there probably are improvements that could be made to the bill, like making the deposit a quarter instead of a nickel. (10) The bottle bill is ineffective. The bottle bill focuses on a very small piece of the waste stream. A very small part of the waste stream that never goes away. It just keeps piling up. So much so it’s becoming an integral part of the oceans and beaches we walk on and the fish we eat. This is very serious stuff folks.
This press release is offensive in its paucity and insidious in its message. It plays to consumer weakness at a time when we’re particularly vulnerable. NBN probably didn’t need to vent on this awful press release because this is an industry that will die under the weight of its own wastefulness. And in all honesty consumers are as at fault for plastic pollution as the industry profiting from it. But while consumers can argue ignorance, at least initially, of the accumulated cost of this awful industry, the author of this press release, O’Neill and Associates is profiting by promoting an industry wreaking havoc on our planet. Now that’s evil.
_ Your Trash Ain’t Nothing But Cash
The Question Is: Who is Collecting It? 11.15.11
The Question Is: Who is Collecting It? 11.15.11
_Once again NBN is indebted to the New York Times for reporting on a vital issue in a thorough manner only its resources and expertise allows. With that genuflection out of the way we will now tell you what the Gray Lady left out its 1,600-word article on NYCity recycling two weeks back: the prospect of lingering corruption in the city’s garbage hauling industry. Up until roughly 1995, the Mafia’s control of NYC garbage hauling was as blatant as the oil industry’s present-day control of the Tea Party. It was in 1995 that then Manhattan DA Robert Morgenthau blew the lid off the Mafia’s monopoly over the city’s carting cartels and turned the industry over to outside interests like Browning Ferris Industries and Waste Management Industries. But these two mega-corporations have their own checkered pasts and clearly are not playing by the rules in some instances either.
Why does the mob love garbage? There's cash in it.
_Years back NBN acquired original copies of the mob informant testimony in Morgenthau’s prosecution of the trash carting cartels. The testimony made clear to us that ridding the city’s garbage hauling industry of mob influence would be harder than clearing the subways of rats. Like the rats, the mob garbagemen were everywhere and entrenched. Dollars to donuts they still are, they just painted their trucks. A finsky gets you frosting they are the primary reason New York City’s recycling sucks today. The testimony showed the mob had extorted $250 million in 1995 dollars from Manhattan businesses through a monopoly on the market. That’s too much money to see disappear entirely just because two new companies have reportedly taken over operations from the mob. No doubt there was substantial savings from Morgenthau’s prosecutions, but not nearly as much as can still be realized if recycling ever really takes a foothold in New York and other cities across the country.
_This brings us to another element missing in the NYTimes piece and more generally in New York City law: residents’ recycling responsibilities. In a city clogged with garbage, wouldn’t it be logical to ask residents to take greater responsibility for what they throw out? Why aren’t residents compelled to sort cardboard, from newsprint from white paper? Why not tear the cellophane windows from your bill envelopes? Why not clean and separate every plastic item coming into your house according to the tiny numbers stamped on the underside of each? Because it’s a huge nuisance and there’s nothing compelling people to do so. Why is that? NBN suspects that powerful, possibly still criminal, interests are making huge profits by just hauling the stuff away to who-knows-where.