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Is recycling utter rubbish?

Richard Tomkins

Richard Tomkins of the Financial Times asks, "Is recycling utter rubbish?", which turns out to be a more interesting question than it seems.  Recycling paper, for example, is a huge business because it's so cheap to do, but also involves dumping large amounts of dirty water after trucking heavy wads of raw material over to the plant.  If forestry is managed correctly, Tomkins argues, paper is an infinitely renewable resource and it may well be more effective just to burn the used stuff to begin with.  I'm iffy on this, but I agree on his points on glass: glass is made from incredibly common materials and it's quite possible that the break-even point on recycling versus junking may be negligible.  Then there's Tomkins' Top Ten list of things we should do - some of which is downright startling.

Number one on the list is to stop flying in airplanes - true, if impractical for some.  Two: ban the incandescent bulb - which is 100% correct.  3 is the shocker: switch to ready-made meals and McDonald's (McDonald's?!) as to reduce generation of individual waste plus have all cooking done at a centralized location. Which makes sense, in a twisted sort of way, and since it's coming from a top economist and marketer, surely bears consideration. Number 6, "lower your standards of personal hygiene" - shower once a week only and wash your clothes less often - is apt to have some up in arms and some embracers (but please, if you embrace showering less often, please don't so much embrace me). [via Treehugger] [GT]

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July 14, 2006 in Recycling | Permalink

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Comments

There's another potential environmental benefit to encouraging people to eat regularly at McDonald's. People will die faster of high cholesterol and heart disease, which, in a perverse way, will dramatically reduce our overconsumption of our natural resources. Still, there has to be a better way....

Posted by: panasianbiz | 18 Jul 2006 22:24:04

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