DailyDirt: Reusing Plastic Instead Of Throwing It All Away…

from the urls-we-dig-up dept

Disposable packaging adds up to a lot of trash. Sure, some of it gets recycled, but there’s a significant amount that doesn’t — and ends up polluting the environment in mind-boggling ways. In the not-so-distant future, we might have more plastic in the ocean by weight than fish. But it doesn’t have to be that way.

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Comments on “DailyDirt: Reusing Plastic Instead Of Throwing It All Away…”

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pixelpusher220 (profile) says:

The 'numbers' link is ridiculous

Only the bottom type of plastic even mentions that it’s number ‘7’, which the others are is an exercise left to the reader.

Obviously the first is 1, second 2, etc. but jeebus, using a link that says “these are what the numbers mean” without actually labeling the descriptions with the actual numbers?

Peter Williams (user link) says:

There's a better way!

Reusing plastic for making roads is the best way to deal with the rising plastic dump. Many countries have successfully tested plastic for roads’ construction. As per reviews, these roads lasts better, as it doesn’t allow water to seep in. In India, Jamshedpur such roads are already a big hit. Govt. of India is now promoting the same technology for construction of other roads too.

Andrew D. Todd (user link) says:

Recycling Is A Green Lie

Plastic is made from fuel, that is, from oil or natural gas. The simplest way to recycle plastic is to turn it back to fuel, more specifically, to burn it to make electricity. In fact, mixed trash, including plastic, but also paper and food scraps, should be used to run electric power plants, with metals and glass being separated out by giant magnets, flotation tanks, etc. This releases natural gas which would otherwise have been burned for electricity, and which can be used to make new plastic instead. Fuel is the single biggest thing in our material economy– it’s just not very visible, because special pipes have been built to carry it invisibly. You take the nozzle at the gas pump, and stick in in your car’s tank, and you don’t think about how much ten gallons of gasoline weighs. You probably don’t even own an Army-style gas can. This out-of-sight-out-of-mind quality applies with even more force to the electricity needed to run your air conditioner. The use of plastic for food packaging is tiny compared to the use of fuel, but huge compared to things like sneakers and prototyping materials.

Food packaging is always “comminated.” The package commonly has multiple parts, made of different plastics. There is a label or marking, which means ink. There are food residues. Recycling is extremely difficult. The people who talk loudest about recycling plastic are the people who don’t want you to be allowed to eat by yourself. They want everyone to eat in something like a school lunchroom, presided over by first-grade teachers, with everyone listening to recorded propaganda messages. They want to force you into their religion. It’s a bit like Orwell’s New-Speak, which was designed to eliminate the words in which opposition to Big Brother could be expressed. What bugs the recyclers about plastic food packaging is that it enables people to eat alone.

The recent business in which the Seattle garbage-men were going through people’s garbage for the benefit of television reporters is a form of this mentality. Garbage-men are threatened with technological unemployment with the spread of the dumpster. Once the mechanics are worked out, a mechanical arm can lift a thousand pounds of garbage at a go, vastly more than a human garbage-man can handle (*). The reaction of the garbage-men is to attempt to re-invent themselves as eco-secret-policemen. This reminds me of a story my father told me about a New England prep school, back in the 1940’s. Boys were punished for small misdeeds by being required to come in on Saturday and collect the school garbage. This did not work as planned, however, because, apart from the joys of getting to drive the garbage truck, they were able to inspect the garbage, count the whiskey bottles, and find out which masters drank a lot. Knowledge is power!

(*) Imagine a concrete pocket, built into the sidewalk, big enough to hold a dumpster below street level. There is a heavy lid, weighing maybe five hundred pounds, which people can walk on, which incorporates a conventional permanent trash can, but also a large door, key operated, giving access to a chute down which one can drop a big garbage bag. Local residents are given keys. A robot arm on the garbage truck lifts the lid, takes out the dumpster, empties it, puts it back, and closes the lid again. Something like this could be readily installed in a dense urban setting, where there are not parking lots associated with buildings.

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