SHOCKER: RECYCLING PLASTIC IS MAKING OCEAN LITTER WORSE

From the GWPF and the “Great Pacific Recycling Patch” department.

Save The Oceans – Stop Recycling Plastic – video follows

London 28 June: An explosive report from the Global Warming Policy Foundation (GWPF) reveals that efforts to recycle plastic are a major cause of the marine litter problem. The report, written by public health expert Dr Mikko Paunio, sets out the case for incinerating waste rather than trying to recycle it.

 

* Most of the plastic waste comes from just a few countries, mostly in Asia and Africa.

* 25% is “leakage” from Asian waste management processes — the rest is waste that has never been collected, but is simply thrown into rivers.

* But European countries ship inject huge quantities of waste into Asian waste management streams, ostensibly for recycling. As much as 20% — millions of tons every year — ends up in the oceans and will continue to do so.

* Since the Chinese banned waste imports at the start of the year, shipments have been diverted to other Asian countries with even weaker environmental controls (Figure 1).

* EU recycling is therefore a major contributor to marine waste and increasing recycling will therefore simply increase marine litter.

Author Dr Mikko Paunio says

“It is clear that the European contribution to marine waste is a result of our efforts to recycle. However, several countries have already shown that they can reduce this contribution to near zero, by simply incinerating waste”.

Despite this success, the EU is trying to redouble recycling efforts and to close down the incineration route, mistakenly believing that this will reduce carbon emissions. As Dr Paunio puts it,

“The effects look as though they will be appalling. We can expect a great deal more plastic to end up in the environment, and in the oceans in particular. If the EU was serious about its war against marine pollution it should consider banning the export of plastic recyclate rather than banning plastic straws or taxing incineration.”

Figure 1: UK waste exports, 2017 versus 2018. Source: British Plastic & Rubber

Full paper (pdf): Save the Oceans: Stop Recycling Plastic

 

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Sheri

This is the result of finding a single boogeyman—CO2—and refusing to look in any other direction.

Robertvd

Progressives don’t care about the environment or children or immigrants or gender etc they just need tools/a boogeyman to gain more power. Like a cancer their goal is to grow but don’t understand that it will eventually kill the body. There are NO good cancers.
(posted on the wrong spot)

James Bull

Most products nowadays are considered consumables and are not made either to be repaired or easily recycled.
This extends to even very large and expensive items, the mindset behind this has come from manufacturers who see a route to increased profit from selling an endless stream of new goods that only have a limited lifespan, why mend your car when the parts cost almost as much as it is worth?
Governments don’t help by pushing more and more unnecessary regulation of a non problem CO2 while ignoring some very big problems.
As I keep saying the bureaucrats are only happy if the box is ticked not if anything has been done or not, if you can show you have a system in place to deal with the problem that’s good enough doesn’t matter if it works or not as long as you have a system.
Many UK councils collect “recycling in the full knowledge that it will end in landfill but knowing that if they have collected it as recycling they will get payed by the government.
RANT OVER

James Bull

Edwin

While working at an environmental agency a new regime came in who tried to implement a system of measurable results/ goals for every program. The blow back from staff, especially longer serving middle management, was profoundly amazing. They did everything possible to thwart any such system and at least three different systems were tried over a decade. When finally forced to do by changing the personnel rules, many managers, all with degrees in environmental science, could not define measurable goals for the programs they had supposedly run for years.

What I find disturbing is that many environmental problems, real environmental problems, are not being addressed, e.g., nutrient pollution in estuaries and bays but the environmentalists are now focused on CO2. Many of these “minor” problems proven solutions and compared to “fixing” CAGW are cheap.

HDHoese

I am not denying the point, but this shows a good picture for the developed countries and nutrients are essential just like carbon dioxide. Some rivers and estuaries are nutrient poor, pig sty types not as common as they once were; the estuarine thing is complex, popular view way behind the literature. Several of us would publish on this but don’t want to go through the nonsense especially given no climate/crisis link.
https://www.fraserinstitute.org/sites/default/files/environmental-ranking-for-canada-and-the-OECD.pdf

And guess what we don’t know or don’t know that we don’t know.
https://gizmodo.com/earth-has-many-more-rivers-and-streams-than-we-thought-1827179134
http://science.sciencemag.org/content/early/2018/06/27/science.aat0636
(“…an area 44 ± 15% larger than previous spatial estimates.”) Water creeps around, we just had a foot of it come down, lots of misunderstanding around (44 ± 15%???).

I’m not sure that it got anywhere but I once did some follow-up work on National Marine Fisheries recommendations for COE permits. This is a very necessary practice, but wonder how much is really done, some I know of worthless.

Dear James, The right wasy to deal with plastics is to burn the=m under pressure so that the flue gas can be sequestered underground, that takes car of all the vapors, and any metal that gets blended in with the feed, will be collected and recycled properly. We have developed a pressurized combustor that is estimated by a third party estimator to be less expensive than a conventional boiler. That is all that I can sasy about the combustor until we get the patent filed.

MattS

Yep, we have completely ignored real pollutants while being distracted by the CO2 scam.

Bob Turner

Not true. Burning brings its own problems – dioxin release into the atmosphere, toxic ash, … Clearly these problems can be resolved, and several countries have done so, but this involves building expensive high-tec installations and separated waste collection systems. Not all countries / governments are willing to make such investments and set up the necessary organization.

Mikko Paunio

As I wrote in my report the whole Swedish fleet of 34 waste incinerators emit 0,5 g dioxin TEQ per year. One deep landfill fire can emit as much easily. They are very common. This is new “Rolls Royce” serving metropolitan Helsinki 2 km from my home. Nobody is afraid this as it burns safely according to strict rules. I am amazed that in the UK the legend of dioxin coming from chimneys of incinerators cause cancer. https://www.vantaanenergia.fi/en/waste-to-energy-gives-a-new-life-for-rubbish/

paqyfelyc

WRONG. recycling is loosely related to CO2, only because both are ways to care about environment.
Recycling always looks like a good idea ; whether it actually is, much depends on the value of the thing.
Looks like it isn’t, for plastic.

“The 21st Century’s waves of change are being driven by technology, and not by the humanities. We need to put a human face on change and disruption.”

Anonymous

Tom Halla

The sheer waste of trying to clean products intended to be disposable, like food wrap, is certainly more than any benefit from trying to recycle the product. Absolute virtue signalling.

John Hardy

I agree Tom. Plus there is the idiocy of all the diesel burned in the reverse distribution change shipping the stuff to recycling centres and thence across the oceans

Robert of Texas

Personally I think we should concentrate on recycling CO2 by growing vast areas of crops… Oh… Wait…

Latitude

Liberals seems to be ground zero for unintended consequences ……..
..and yet, with that batting average…people still elect them

Phoenix44

because whilst being driven by their own selfish incentives (which they mistake for virtue) they think other people’s selfish incentives are simply evil.

Sagi

Just burn all the used plastic up, and let the trees recycle it. They will get it done.

HotScot

To be fair, I think we have all fallen foul of this unintentionally.

It’s like someone said on WUWT once, ‘if the solution seems simple, it isn’t’.

Recycling seems a noble quest, why wouldn’t it? Until this sort of detail, that’s deliberately concealed from us by our governments, is exposed by a scientist.

An honourable Greenpeace scientist (is there such a thing?) might have broken ranks and said something similar, but what profit would there be in that for an organisation with mankind as it’s principle enemy.

What sense is there in vilifying nuclear energy by slandering it with a reputation for danger, when, in reality, it’s demonstrably the safest means of electricity generation ever conceived by man. Unless, of course, there’s an ulterior motive.

So we sift our waste like dutiful citizens, only to find it’s transported offshore, to be dumped in a river on the other side of the world, and we still carry the can.

My hair shirt has worn very thin over the past few years. As much as it pains me, I have for some years no longer bothered to itemise my waste. It all goes in the same bin, and now, my beliefs have been justified.

The greens have a price to pay for their naive simplicity. It’s called ritual humiliation. The opportunity is coming soon, but there will be few to humiliate, they will all have scurried back to their rat holes. Your friends and relatives will all say they agreed with you, despite them having fought tooth and nail against you.

But we can all bask in the glory of having stuck to our scientifically sound beliefs.

We may not be 100% right, but I’m damn sure we’re much righter (is there such an expression?) than our alarmist brethren.

Hot Scot

I am not disagreeing with anything you write but no part of the discussion has yet focused on the overuse of plastic.

it very much has its uses but it is overused.

single use carrier bags is a good example but go into your local supermarket and your breakfast roll will have single use plastic bags to put them in. Ditto Vegetables. Your morning drink will come in a plastic bottle. Much of the stuff ends up in the streets ( I regularly pick up piles of discarded plastic) (The discarded McDonalds rubbish is another subject!)

Piles of plastic are stuffed in public waste bins or ion our recycling bins.

Food wrap and bubble wrap by the acre is regularly discarded.

So there is very much a case for reducing plastic and very much a case for using plastic in sensible ways

ozspeaksup

so whats stopping you from reusing tjhose veg bags for freezer bags, then as rubbish bags for low volume trash
stop buying the plastic bottles and buy cardboard packs instead
or better yet save a motza and buy one lge container and just fill it at home. in a metal or glass container;-)
THE single most stupid plastic waste is from the insane plastic wrapping used on pallets of anything!
for decades jute and hessian bags were fine and could be recycled or used as mulch
then the polyprop was seen as an answer except they didnt break down
so they went to ones that rot into shreds and scatter fine debris all over within months outside. OR stored in any light at all.
bloody useless if you want to keep something in a shed for a year or so.
the polyprop also slide when moved, as do the tough plastics for dog food /soil/ manure etc.
so they simply squirted a fine line of glue between sacks and it held yet was easy enough to pull apart when unpacking
then some moron created extra wide shrinkwrap on huge rolls
now?
theres massive layers of it all over a pallet
you can NOT Unwrap it to reuse- it has to be slashed and gathered up
i cant find any way to reuse it at all and im damned determined to recycle anything i can at home or elsewhere, just because i hate waste and wasted money.
in the last 3 weeks i have put one 1/4 filled bin out
because winter allows me to burn all the paperwaste plastics n crap usually i have to bin in summer. ive never bought a firelighter;-)

Phoenix44

Too simple as well I am afraid. Lots of research has shown that the production of jute is hugely damaging to the environment, just as cotton has destroyed the irreplaceable Aral Sea.

Single use plastic bags are actually resource-light, and many people re-use them. In various places where single-use bags were banned, the sales of bin liners simply increased by the same amount. And the big, strong multiple use bags use far more resources and need to last for ten years or so to be less damaging overall than single use bags.

A C Osborn

And they do.

Russ Wood

Yes – the few plastic bags we get in shopping become garbage bin liners (and are cheaper than the bought ones). When you are throwing wet waste away, you really DO need to line your bin. (BTW, did you know that the word ‘crud’ defined the icky coating that developed inside one of the old galvanised dustbins?) And as far as re-usable bags go – mine are made from recycled cloth-like material that isn’t washable. Result – only packaged goods go into them – anything else has to go into fresh bags to avoid contamination.

“An honourable Greenpeace scientist (is there such a thing?)”

Well, Patrick Moore comes pretty close although I’m not sure of his scientific qualifications.

Urederra

Honourable FORMER Greenpeace scientist…

Chris Wright

Patrick Moore has a Ph.D. in ecology, so he is a scientist. His correct title is Dr Patrick Moore. I have a huge amount of respect for him.
Chris

Hot Scot

Since posting my first comment to you I have been for a walk before it gets too hot.

amongst the plastic rubbish I picked up was one previously encasing ‘scottish salmon jerky’ ( for which I hold YOU personally responsible!) a plastic bottle and a plastic overwrap for hot cross buns (surely a crime against humanity at this time of year)

I observed piles of plastic waste in public bins and piles of clear plastic bags in which there was other plastic items, together with plastic overwrap and bubble wrap.

How much could have been avoided with a little thought and how much was better than the alternative?

That is surely the coming debate

(Mind you don’t get me started on the new trend for encasing takeaways from fish and chips to pizzas in very stout and large cardboard boxes which escape from every public bin as they cant be scrunched up)

tonyb

ozspeaksup

yeah cos the time honoured wapping in used papers wasnt hygenic enough for the snowflakes…mind you wrapping it in pixels noways wouldnt work either;-) lol

HotScot

climatereason

‘scottish salmon jerky’

Never heard of the stuff. Sounds revolting and not something any self respecting Scotsman would eat.

“The difference between Smoked Scottish Salmon and Scottish smoked salmon.
The latter has been deliberately used to cover the fact that the Salmon has been smoked in Scotland, but not necessarily sourced from Scotland.”

I suspect salmon jerky falls into the category of salmon from elsewhere passed off as coming from Scotland.

Bob

My question is how is plastic recycled is it melted down or shredded or what? I just can not comprehend why the US and Europe can not do their own recycling.

I think the real issue is to do with the need to sort the material BY HAND. These hands are much cheaper in certain countries so that is where the stuff goes. As labour costs rise in these countries the amount of recycling is reduced significantly or it may even escape into the environment.

“…escape into the environment” Gosh you’re so diplomatic! It sounds like the stuff that’s too tough to separate just gets dumped. We’re talking China and Asia after all!

Burn baby, Burn!

Yes, interesting observation. however if recycling is as profitable (or as worthwhile) as is claimed I would have thought that machines could do this unpleasant job.

old construction worker

“machines could do this” Recycling should become profitable. We now have the self learning robots thanks to someone at MIT. That turns labor cost into fixed and maintenance cost.

K P O'DRISCOLL

You would be looking at New York’s new recycling plant correct

Greg61

It’s the sorting, different types of plastic can’t be recycled together. I’m not aware of any technology to automatically identify and sort various polymers prior to grinding, remelting and making new pellets. Incineration really would be the most economical and smartest.

Darrin

We have a local company that specializes in making garbage/recycling material conveyor systems. They are working on automating the sorting but are still having issues with training the vision system to reliably identify between different types of materials. Not an easy task if you’ve ever worked with vision systems just due to the sheer variety of packaging, position in which it is presented to the camera and condition of the packaging. This all makes it hard to properly train a system that manufacturers themselves don’t run into. This why they are still using cheap labor to hand sort.

betapug

Melting and shredding use electrical power and “clean, renewable” electric power is too expensive, as South Australia (40% wind!!) finds out.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/2017-06-27/sa-recycling-business-power-bills-rise-causing-closure/8654638

ozspeaksup

we could….use gas if we werent selling most of it cheap to china n japan i guess?
solar burners could be used beats killing birds with em
and then theres fresnell lenses that can cut heavy steel and melt rocks

A C Osborn

It should be properly burnt, with all the correct controls and the heat used to make electricity and or supply heating.
Instead they cut down forests and burn those instead.

ozspeaksup

shredded or chipped then heated to thick goop n formed into moulds etc
theres some amazing reuse and machinery to make for it on youtube
chaps in india add sand or other fillers and make excellent path tiles garden edges etc guy in russia doing similar but more tech better product hard like pipes can be put into a garden chipper n used to fill potholes etc
milk containers etc can be melted in a home oven and used to form solid tubes you can then shape to make rollers shims etc from.
theres a talented kid making some nice handheld formworks for slingshots too;-)

Mikko Paunio

It is impossible as I wrote in my report to recycle plastic as at source, bring sites or in mechanical and biological treatment (MBT) plants sorted plastic is non-homogenous and filthy. It is only an environmentalists’ very expensive (to us) dream.

Well, well, you’ve asked the $10 million dollar question!

First we should not talk about recycling. It should be “recycling.” Or so-called-recycling.

We consider the act of dropping a plastic bottle into a so-called-recycling bin as “recycling.”

Conspicuously drop that bottle in the bin (people are watching!)–at work, on the street, at home–and others see that you “recycle,” and are good, and virtuous, and green.

But…wait…what is the cycle of actions that starts with that act of “recycling?”

In the fevered imaginations of the Green Cult, that bottle is magically whisked off to some sort of “recycling” processing plant (I saw it on Sesame Street–it must be true!). At the “recycling” operation, the bottle is processed and pops out at the other end as something new!

Magic! I’m a good person! Virtuous! Green!

Reality?

The bottle is collected by a fume spewing diesel truck. The truck dumps the bottle at a facility that separates the “recycle” trash–pulling out aluminum, and other actually recyclable materials. The rest? Dirty, wet, contaminated plastic is pretty much worthless, and impossible to “recycle” at any cost.

So? The bottle you “recycled” is now bundled up with other useless “recycled” trash. The bundles are loaded onto shipping containers. The shipping containers are trucked to a port. The containers are loaded onto ships. The ships burn fossil fuel to get to China. The containers are off-loaded. The containers are loaded onto trucks. The trucks take the containers to landfills. The containers full of bales of “recycled” plastic are dumped into the Chinese landfill.

So, your conspicuous act of Green devotion fills a landfill. Yes, the landfill is not in your backyard–it’s in China!

http://www.purewaterpeople.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/China-landfill.jpeg

“Religious rituals don’t need any practical justification for the believers who perform them voluntarily. But many recyclers want more than just the freedom to practice their religion. They want to make these rituals mandatory for everyone else, too, with stiff fines for sinners who don’t sort properly.”

Darrin

My company uses mostly recycled milk jugs to make its product. While the jugs are initially “Dirty, wet contaminated plastic” it is washed and turned into plastic pellets all right here in the US and Canada before being shipped (by rail) to our plant. Better yet, the PCR(post consumer recycled) plastic we use cost less than virgin plastic. Even better, the end product itself can be recycled.

I do agree it’s insane to ship off our recycled material to Asia. If there isn’t a market for it here I doubt there’s a market for it in Asia. Take care of disposing the material where environmental regs are better.

Darrin,

That’s fantastic! And that’s real recycling. And it makes economic sense. If we let the market work, and don’t impose insane “green” rules that allow the PC-Progs to demonstrate what good people they are, but destroy the environment, then real recycling will carry on as it used to (economically viable material will be pulled out of the garbage and reused/recycled.

How do you remove the milk jugs from the waste stream? And separate them from the “recycled” mixed materials?

That’s a quite energy/work/labor intensive operation isn’t it?

John in Redding

Never confuse a liberal with new facts. They are stuck on the idea that recycling is the perfect policy and don’t care that it is not working like is supposed to. They did their part and could careless it is all screwed up downstream of them.

Don

There is more plastic to be recycled than is need for recycled plastic. Plastic is not like metal which can be melted down, it is molecules going through chemical reactions. Metals are basically frozen mixtures of atoms which can be melted and resolidified. Atoms are the basic building blocks of the crystal structures in useful metals, casting and forging temperatures do not harm atoms – recycling is not harmful.

The. Basic building blocks of plastics are molecules of various lengths. Processing temperatures, solar radiation, weathering, chemical exposure all can damage the molecules. If the molecule is changed the plastic is changed. Some(most??) manufacturers mix virgin plastic with recycled plastic – just using recycled plastic leads to lower quality product.

Some countries pay their manufacturers to take western plastic to appease western politicians/environmentalists. The manufacturers take the subsidy and toss the plastic…

Actually most plastic is like metal that can be melted down

Its just not an element, so its likely to change chemical composition during that melt down

As you point out.

Burn it. Its the obvious solution.

Dr Deanster

Yep …. think of the GWs of electricity we could generate with all that plastic in the pacific. Mix it in with some coal, and be done with it.

A C Osborn

This, plus heat and save the Forests at the same time.

Urederra

Or bury it, and you can say that you are sequestring carbon. Cheaper and safer than pumping CO2 into the ground, and therefore less silly.

old construction worker

Or ground up to use in 3d printers.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Beijing

Virtually all waste save metal and ash can be reduced to methanol, and then used as an oil-product substitute to make anything you like. There are those proposing such a methanol economy as the answer to all junk. Food, plastic, fabrics, everything can be reduced easily to methanol.

Because it is such a flexible input material, and can be pumped, it is worth considering. Garbage separation is just inert v.s. carbon-based.

aleks

“The EU is trying to redouble recycling efforts and to close down the incineration route, mistakenly believing that this will reduce carbon emissions.” According to Dr.Paunio, annually over 10 million metric tons of plastic litter end up to oceans. Incineration of this amount will produce 30-35 Mt of CO2. In 2012, CO2 emission from burning fossil fuels and producing cement was about 35 gigatons, i.e. one thousand times greater. It makes sense, at least compare the cost of recycling and incineration processes.

The energy cost of recycling generally exceeds the energy saved.

I am almost completely skeptical about where all the carefully sorted stuff at the local tip ends up.

Landfill taxes and legislation against incineration makes waste disposals ludicrously expensive.

Supermarkets now do not give away plastic bags in the UK. Yet my plastic bin is overflowing – not with supermarket bags, but with supermarket PACKAGING.

My meat is wrapped in two layers of polythene. So is my fish. My vegetables get put in poly bags too, for weighing., Or come in prepackaged cellophane packaging. My milk comes in a polythene bottle. So do my cooking oils and my soft drinks. My coffee beans and tea bags come in sealed plastic bags. Any delicatessen items come in little plastic tubs, as does margarine.

I would say that the weekly shop contains around 200g of plastic of which about 5g used to be the supermarket shopping bag.

And don’t get me started on vacformed ‘blister packs.’

It took me HALF AN HOUR to get a set of lawnmower blades out of their packaging. Seriously, what is the POINT of ‘marketing’ lawnmower blades, in plastic packing? Do I go to the supermarket and select one over another based on packaging?

I have mild arthritis, and not enough sound teeth to tear open most vacforms. Even with scissors is not usually obvious where to attack it.

If people were really serious about plastics, they would simply ban them from all packaging and make people use cardboard instead.

And they would simply BURN the plastic to get some energy out of it.

Crispin in Waterloo but really in Beijing

“The energy cost of recycling generally exceeds the energy saved.”

I doubt that is generally true, just sometimes. If the produce produced (methanol) it can be used directly to create heat or rotary power needed to process the material. There is a huge amount of energy in things like plastic and tires.

Robert W. Turner

Incinerating waste for electricity solves how many problems? Good thing we have Democrats to prevent these things.

Robertvd

Progressives don’t care about the environment or children or immigrants or gender etc they just need tools/a boogeyman to gain more power. Like a cancer their goal is to grow but don’t understand that it will eventually kill the body. There are NO good cancers.

Urederra

The mythical island made of plastic that floats on the Pacific. Does it have a name?

If not, I named it Solyndra.

Vote up if you like. 😉

tty

In Sweden almost all waste is incinerated to produce area heating and electricity. But oddly enough the plants prefer imported waste from e. g. UK or Italy to the domestic variety.

The reason: there is too little plastic and paper in swedish waste because of recycling, so they either use imported waste or surreptitiously put part of the supposedly “re-cycled” plastic/paper back into the incinerated waste…

A C Osborn

This.

Michael van der Riet

A friend in the plastic industry was paid handsomely by government to recycle household plastic waste. The end objective is to turn plastic back into the pellets or “nurdles” from which it came. In the course of this, vast quantities of microgranules are created. These are the little plastic thingies that are apparently found in the living tissue of every creature on earth. Surprise.

John

In Australia, the supermarkets have taken it upon themselves to ban so called free single use shopping bags, to be replaced with much larger 15 cent re-usable plastic plastic bags which will take up a lot more space at the tip. I can’t see myself re using any of them due to convenience and health issues. So the problem just gets worse. Green lunacy.

Tim

Australian governments have been talking about the supermarket bag problem since at least 2010. And no federal laws passed that I know of.

+ When are the masses of ocean-going plastic going to be being addressed? Wait long enough and it becomes a global, nano-particle soup and impossible to deal with.

Darrin

I live in a liberal mecca that decries using our forest for anything but to hike in. This community was at the fore front of trying to stop the use of paper bags for “the trees” and using plastic bags instead. Now we can’t use plastic shopping bags because they are worse than paper ones according to our elected masters.

paqyfelyc

unexpected, so interesting. But obviously makes sense.
I recycle as much as possible, including plastic. I now have to think about it.

Mikko Paunio

Good as recycling is nonsense. Greenies want us to concentrate postconsumer waste although it is a tiny proportion of material flows in a modern society. For example in Finland we produce 100 million tons of trash but only 2.5 million tons in post consumer real. Greenies are trying to be alchemists with this 2.5 million tons of municipal waste. Nobody but crowny capitalists gain from this nonsense. Plastic is simply non-recyclable for reasons I explain there earlier.

Mikko,

Thanks for the interesting research you’ve done.
What do you think about the economics of pulling out the aluminium, ferrous metals and/or glass before incinerating this stuff…is it cost effective or is it better to try and recover the metals from the ash later on?

Why not just clean up the rivers before they reach the ocean. Surely we can find the technology and surely wealthy nations can afford to support the effort.

ResourceGuy

This is why we need many pictures, video, and documentaries on the massive waste around these river outlets in Africa and south Asia. You practically have to go there currently to get the story …and the smell.

Well, well, conspicuous well-meaning fraud in the name of “Green” virtue? How unusual! (/sarc)

First we should not talk about recycling. It should be “recycling.” Or so-called-recycling.

We consider the act of dropping a plastic bottle into a so-called-recycling bin as “recycling.”
Conspicuously drop that bottle in the bin (people are watching!)–at work, on the street, at home–and others see that you “recycle,” and are good, and virtuous, and green.

But…wait…what is the cycle of actions that starts with that act of “recycling?”

In the fevered imaginations of the Green Cult, that bottle is magically whisked off to some sort of “recycling” processing plant (I saw it on Sesame Street–it must be true!). At the “recycling” operation, the bottle is processed and pops out at the other end as something new!

Magic! I’m a good person! Virtuous! Green!

Reality?

The bottle is collected by a fume spewing diesel truck. The truck dumps the bottle at a facility that separates the “recycle” trash–pulling out aluminum, and other actually recyclable materials. The rest? Dirty, wet, contaminated plastic is pretty much worthless, and impossible to “recycle” at any cost.

So? The bottle you “recycled” is now bundled up with other useless “recycled” trash. The bundles are loaded onto shipping containers. The shipping containers are trucked to a port. The containers are loaded onto ships. The ships burn fossil fuel to get to China. The containers are off-loaded. The containers are loaded onto trucks. The trucks take the containers to landfills. The containers full of bales of “recycled” plastic are dumped into the Chinese landfill.

So, your conspicuous act of Green devotion fills a landfill. Yes, the landfill is not in your backyard–it’s in China!

http://www.purewaterpeople.co.uk/blog/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/China-landfill.jpeg

“Religious rituals don’t need any practical justification for the believers who perform them voluntarily. But many recyclers want more than just the freedom to practice their religion. They want to make these rituals mandatory for everyone else, too, with stiff fines for sinners who don’t sort properly.”

tty

“Dirty, wet, contaminated plastic is pretty much worthless, and impossible to “recycle” at any cost.”

It actually makes pretty god fuel. After all it is really just congealed oil.

Dr. Strangelove

The answer to the age-old philosophical question – why are we here? Plastics axxholes!

jmichna

I just cannot fathom how I managed to survive childhood when we were restricted to glass, brown paper and waxed paper containers for nearly everything… oh, and tinned cans as well. Glass is eminently recyclable… excepting those bottles that have deposit (and impressive two cents (US) when I was a kid… we’d scour the neighborhood collecting bottles to get deposit money for penny candy). Beverage companies would wash & sterilize the bottles and refill, or send the damaged/unusable bottles to the bottle manufacturer for recycling. Paper sacks were re-used when shopping, or for collecting kitchen trash. “Fast food” and all other forms of food carry-out were sold in paper, waxed paper, or (waxed) paper cartons. Twine and tape secured packages. Crumpled newsprint – and sometimes (unsalted/unbuttered) popcorn — was used as packing material.

The horrors! I’m amazed my siblings and I survived.

Paul Johnson

Is the real story here another third-world environmental scam? EU countries seem to be paying to “inject huge quantities of waste into Asian waste management streams” only to have them dumped into different oceans. Like “carbon offsets”, this looks like EU virtue signaling becoming a cash bonanza for third-world fraudsters.

WR2

It’s hilarious that the EU, the bastion of enviro-fascism, can’t think of a better idea for recycling than shipping it to southeast asia and pretending it will all turn out ok. Anybody that has visited southeast asia, such as Thailand or Vietnam, will know that the US has zero to do with ocean pollution. It’s hard to believe the EU was naive to this fact.

TRM

What is the west going to do with all their plastic now that China has stopped importing it? They have enough of their own now so ….

In the reduce, reuse, recycle scenarios it is only the first one that matters. The other 2 are for appearances only and after the fact kludges to the waste problem.

Plasma incinerators are a great invention. Mine the waste for what you can extract profitably and torch the rest. Even low level radioactive material from hospitals can be safely made inert in that process.

tty

“What is the west going to do with all their plastic now that China has stopped importing it?”

Burn it for heavens sake!

The plant in the image below (Gärstadverken) produces nearly all heating for a city of 130,000 inhabitants (1.4 TWh thermal) plus 300 GWh of electricity per year. All from waste – 88 tons per hour at full blast in winter.

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mwhite

https://news.sky.com/story/plastic-contamination-slowly-killing-human-race-warns-doctor-11416987

Sailing around the world in their plastic yacht with plastic sails and plastic ropes to warn us of the dangers of plastic.

mwhite

“As much of Germany’s nearly 30,000 strong fleet of wind turbines approach 20 or more years in age, the list of catastrophic collapses is growing more rapidly. The turbines are now being viewed by technical experts as “ticking time bombs”.”

http://notrickszone.com/2018/06/22/germanys-ticking-time-bombs-technical-experts-say-wind-turbines-posing-significant-danger-to-environment/

““Razor-sharp fiberglass shards flew 800 meters,” the Westfalen Blatt reported.

The debris from exploded turbine now poses a threat to the environment. The sharp fiberglass pieces injure grazing animals”

Lets hope they look after those turbine offshore???

tty

And fiberglass composites are really difficult to dispose of. They can’t be recycled or burned, are virtually indestructible, non-biodegradable and last virtually for ever.

tom0mason

Maybe that polyethylene stuff could be recycled…
https://worldindustrialreporter.com/new-autophage-rocket-engine-uses-its-own-structure-as-fuel/

So, engineers, if it’s good enough to power rockets, could it not be used to make vehicle or electric generator engines of some kind? We need more engineers with some ‘out-of-the-box’ thinking on this …

tty

Whoever wrote that piece doesn’t know much about rockets:

“Present-day rockets use tanks to store their propellant as they climb, and the weight of the tanks is usually many times greater than the weight of the useful payload.”

The only large rocket I know that “used tanks” was the German V-2. Just about the first improvement both americans and russians thought of was to eliminate the tanks and use the rocket structure as an integral tank. So unless they find some way to eliminate the rocket structure completely nothing will be gained.

And making electric engines and/or generators out of a non-conducting material will definitely need some way-out-of-the-box thinking.

Please contemplate this cut-away image of the Saturn V. It’s a bit of a challenge to store liquid hydrogen and oxygen without some sort of tank and insulation.

https://www.space.com/18422-apollo-saturn-v-moon-rocket-nasa-infographic.html

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Of course, the later Space Shuttle had solid rocket boosters that would have been more reliable had the rocket bodies not been shipped in sections.

And the external tank, complete with insulation that would have been more reliable if it stuck to the tank better, had, umm, two tanks inside, as mixing liquid hydrogen and liquid oxygen is best done in rocket engines and not premixed in the tank.

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Roger Knights

What we have here is a conflict between an ethic of ideal ends (“recycle!”) and an ethic of responsibility (“does it work?”).

M E

May I refer you to Adam Minter,s work? He details the recycling of plastic and other rubbish in China. They made new plastic items . Containers were sent from New Zealand by firms who collect recycling because they got a good price for it. China now prefers to use it,s own plastic rubbish in the main he claims. Non ferrous metals are still much in demand,as they always have been in other countries. He writes in Bloomberg and has written books including one called Junk Planet. ,People have made fortunes in recycling even old time rag and bone men who drove carts through British Streets. Councils sell off the rights to recycling collections in New Zealand. There,s money in recycling.

M E