Recycling is stupid Watch

Classical Liberal
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The recycling industry has grown, without question, in the last few decades. Almost all councils now insist on you sorting your rubbish in needlessly elaborate ways so that it can be recycled. Everybody left, right and centre thinks recycling is good.

Unfortunately, it turns out that recycling, at least that done by local services, is a massive waste of money and probably does more harm to the environment than standard landfill.

The first problem with recycling is that it is expensive compared to landfill: recycling costs 3 times as much as landfill, per unit of waste. Some might argue that this is worth it because we are running out of landfill. This is just wrong. We have more than enough landfill, we have become very adept at crushing rubbish down and hiding it from sight, so much so that hardly anybody has ever seen a landfill site.

The second problem is that it harms the environment. When we recycle things like plastics and paper, the waste needs intensive treatment to make it useful, which requires a lot of energy, which produces C02 emissions (our major environmental problem). In addition the recyclable waste needs to be transported back and forth from recycling plants (sometimes this takes trash from the UK to China and back).

Recycling paper reduces the amount of trees - something that reduces C02. This is because paper producers have a business model that is a lot like farming. They grow trees on big plantations, cut the trees down, and plant new trees. If the demand for new paper falls, because we start using recycled paper, then the amount of trees, required to services this lower demand, will fall.

Not all recycling is a waste of time, for example copper is so good to recycle that people will quite literally steal the copper wiring from peoples homes, or screw up trainlines to steal the cabling. There is a massive market for scrap metal because it is cost effective (because it saves resources) to reuse it, rather than use virgin materials. A good test for whether it is worth recycling something is if there is a private market for it.

In conclusion, I implore all of you to stop recycling because it's a waste of your time, waste of tax payers money and bad for the environment.

Sources:
J Winston Porter (Former EPA Administrator): "Landfill costs about $50-60 a tonne...recycling costs about £150 a tonne.
http://environment.about.com/od/recy...it_vs_cost.htm
http://perc.org/sites/default/files/ps28.pdf
http://perc.org/sites/default/files/ps47.pdf
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cant_think_of_name
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Before we go any further, do you have a source for any of this? I'm not criticising, it sounds legit but I'm just wondering where you're getting this from.
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Classical Liberal
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(Original post by cant_think_of_name)
Before we go any further, do you have a source for any of this? I'm not criticising, it sounds legit but I'm just wondering where you're getting this from.
Added some sources.
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Anythingoo1
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This is just like in school when they teach you stuff then you get older and they're like actually this isn't technically true and you're just like my whole life was a lie
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NathanW18
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(Original post by Classical Liberal)
The first problem with recycling is that it is expensive compared to landfill: recycling costs 3 times as much as landfill, per unit of waste. Some might argue that this is worth it because we are running out of landfill. This is just wrong. We have more than enough landfill, we have become very adept at crushing rubbish down and hiding it from sight, so much so that hardly anybody has ever seen a landfill site.
Maybe your links explain this, but I don't have time to read all of those sources. I read the first one and couldn't find an answer.

How long is this viable for? You say that there is more than enough landfill, but I'm interested in knowing how long that really means.
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DiddyDec
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Back to burning my rubbish then, not that I do that anyway.
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jalebii
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Wow this is pretty interesting...
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Axion
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"Recycling paper reduces the amount of trees - something that reduces C02"

I stopped reading here....
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DiddyDec
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(Original post by Axion)
"Recycling paper reduces the amount of trees - something that reduces C02"

I stopped reading here....
Why do we need to plant more woodland if we can recycle the existing paper and use the land for redevelopment?
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manchesterunited15
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(Original post by Axion)
"Recycling paper reduces the amount of trees - something that reduces C02"

I stopped reading here....
Why? It makes sense...
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pjm600
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(Original post by Classical Liberal)
The recycling industry has grown, without question, in the last few decades. Almost all councils now insist on you sorting your rubbish in needlessly elaborate ways so that it can be recycled. Everybody left, right and centre thinks recycling is good.

Unfortunately, it turns out that recycling, at least that done by local services, is a massive waste of money and probably does more harm to the environment than standard landfill.

The first problem with recycling is that it is expensive compared to landfill: recycling costs 3 times as much as landfill, per unit of waste. Some might argue that this is worth it because we are running out of landfill. This is just wrong. We have more than enough landfill, we have become very adept at crushing rubbish down and hiding it from sight, so much so that hardly anybody has ever seen a landfill site.

The second problem is that it harms the environment. When we recycle things like plastics and paper, the waste needs intensive treatment to make it useful, which requires a lot of energy, which produces C02 emissions (our major environmental problem). In addition the recyclable waste needs to be transported back and forth from recycling plants (sometimes this takes trash from the UK to China and back).

Recycling paper reduces the amount of trees - something that reduces C02. This is because paper producers have a business model that is a lot like farming. They grow trees on big plantations, cut the trees down, and plant new trees. If the demand for new paper falls, because we start using recycled paper, then the amount of trees, required to services this lower demand, will fall.

Not all recycling is a waste of time, for example copper is so good to recycle that people will quite literally steal the copper wiring from peoples homes, or screw up trainlines to steal the cabling. There is a massive market for scrap metal because it is cost effective (because it saves resources) to reuse it, rather than use virgin materials. A good test for whether it is worth recycling something is if there is a private market for it.

In conclusion, I implore all of you to stop recycling because it's a waste of your time, waste of tax payers money and bad for the environment.

Sources:
J Winston Porter (Former EPA Administrator): "Landfill costs about $50-60 a tonne...recycling costs about £150 a tonne.
http://environment.about.com/od/recy...it_vs_cost.htm
http://perc.org/sites/default/files/ps28.pdf
http://perc.org/sites/default/files/ps28.pdf
I'll post a full reply later today but for now I'll leave with this.

There's a reason the amazon has lost 750,000 sq km of rainforest in the past 30 years, and it's not because we do too much paper recycling.
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Snagprophet
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Dumbest thread ever.
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DeceitfulDove
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Pays my bills very well
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Rob da Mop
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Fully willing to believe that some recycling is inefficient, but the majority including glass, aluminium and paper has been shown again and again to be good for the environment.
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No Man
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Plastic recycling is also better than landfill, considering the amount of time it takes to degrade and what it degrades to.

Burning it might be a decent option too, if they come up with the technology to filter the harmful substances produced by doing so.

But recycling is a non-issue CO2 wise, since most CO2 is produced by power plants and road transport.
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Good bloke
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Of the three links given, one supports recycling and the other two are identical to each other and conclude with:

Informed, voluntary recycling conserves resources and raises our wealth, enabling us to achieve valued ends that would otherwise be impossible.
My conclusion is that the OP doesn't have much reliable supporting evidence.
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Classical Liberal
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(Original post by pjm600)
I'll post a full reply later today but for now I'll leave with this.

There's a reason the amazon has lost 750,000 sq km of rainforest in the past 30 years, and it's not because we do too much paper recycling.
The amazon is cut down for cattle grazing, not for paper.
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pjm600
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(Original post by Classical Liberal)
The amazon is cut down for cattle grazing, not for paper.
Oh sure, but it provides an good parallel to the 'use once and forget' ideology you seem to be promoting.
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Classical Liberal
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(Original post by NathanW18)
Maybe your links explain this, but I don't have time to read all of those sources. I read the first one and couldn't find an answer.

How long is this viable for? You say that there is more than enough landfill, but I'm interested in knowing how long that really means.
You get hysterical predictions from environmentalists that we only have a decade of capacity less. This is based on the prediction that we won't increase capacity, which is wrong. It is pretty hard to say how much capacity we have, because it depends on how good we get at landfill and how willing we are to build new sites.

The issue of landfill is a bit like the issue of fossil fuels, with regards to scarcity. The environmentalists claim we are running out fossil fuels and then it turns out they are wrong.

One of the nifty things about modern landfill is that it can be used to produce natural gas. Methane is produced in landfill sites, this can be tapped off and used for energy production. Landfill is responsible for producing 3% of the nations green energy, and all without subsidies.

(http://www.telegraph.co.uk/earth/bus...-are-full.html)

Landfill sites are not made completely useless by putting waste in them. Modern landfill sites are subject to strict environmental protection. The landfill site grasses over and is protected by trees, you can build golf courses on them.

In the end, if we do have too much landfill, the price of landfill will go up and recycling by comparison will cost effective. You'll notice when this happens because gypsies will start to steal your waste...
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Classical Liberal
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(Original post by pjm600)
Oh sure, but it provides an good parallel to the 'use once and forget' ideology you seem to be promoting.
No it does't
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