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ozglobal
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Is It Worth Sorting My Recycling?

Sun Apr 03, 2016 11:24 am

Honest question. I, like most of us, generate a huge amount of plastic waste from wrapping and packaging of supermarket goods and take away food, etc.

I am willing to make the effort to clean and separate all this dutifully if it really makes a difference.

However, recent evidence has shown that once plastic items have been contaminated with fat and other elements that are difficult remove, their recycling potential is almost nil.

Can anyone provide evidence one way or the other as to how realistic it is to render plastic containers that have been impregnated with fat and oil fully fit for recycling? Is it just a 'feel good exercise'?

Interested in the evidence.
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zkojq
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RE: Is It Worth Sorting My Recycling?

Sun Apr 03, 2016 11:39 am

Quoting ozglobal (Thread starter):
I am willing to make the effort to clean and separate all this dutifully if it really makes a difference.

I'm always happy to clean it properly so simply because it means that it won't smell.
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ozglobal
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RE: Is It Worth Sorting My Recycling?

Sun Apr 03, 2016 11:41 am

Quoting ZKOJQ (Reply 1):

Quoting ozglobal (Thread starter):
I am willing to make the effort to clean and separate all this dutifully if it really makes a difference.

I'm always happy to clean it properly so simply because it means that it won't smell.

Off course, if you're going to put in for recycling, this goes without saying. My question is rather in which cases is it not enough to render the plastic container "recyclable"?
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Francoflier
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RE: Is It Worth Sorting My Recycling?

Sun Apr 03, 2016 1:07 pm

Cleaning stuff for the purpose of making it more recyclable is often counterproductive.

The damage done to the environment by wasting fresh water and using detergents is often greater than the benefit brought by recycling whatever is being washed. Especially plastics.

The sad truth is that plastics are pretty nasty in most of their forms, and very often non recyclable as it is technically challenging and not economically beneficial to do so. Especially is a period of cheap oil.

Plastics packaging manufacturers are always happy to say their products are recyclable when in reality there are few existing structures and a very restricted market for the post-consumer material produced.

Paper, glass and metals, on the other hand, are easy to re-market as recycled products and have a value which make them economically viable to recycle.
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johns624
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RE: Is It Worth Sorting My Recycling?

Sun Apr 03, 2016 1:14 pm

I know that Patagonia makes some of their fleece jackets out of recycled plastics.
 
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seb146
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RE: Is It Worth Sorting My Recycling?

Sun Apr 03, 2016 3:22 pm

Every house here has two bins: One for general garbage and one for recycling. When the garbage truck comes around, both bins are emptied into the same truck. So, no, I do not sort.
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cougar15
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RE: Is It Worth Sorting My Recycling?

Sun Apr 03, 2016 3:44 pm

Germany has 3 or 4 seperate bins for seperation, HOWEVER it makes little sence, as all the more modern rubbish seperation plants do that job anyway, so there is a discussion as to the point of seperating at your (garbage) can. the plants are actually underutilized as a result.
Same with Glas for recyceling, we have 3 bins in the local neighborhood, one for green, clear & Brown, but when the truck comes to empty them, he tips it all together (mixed) again anyway. All this leads me to think that this was all a great idea 10-15 years ago, people wanted to do their part for the enviroment and duly seperated, yet with modern plants, that really is no longer required.
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Brick
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RE: Is It Worth Sorting My Recycling?

Sun Apr 03, 2016 4:15 pm

Quoting seb146 (Reply 5):

Every house here has two bins: One for general garbage and one for recycling. When the garbage truck comes around, both bins are emptied into the same truck. So, no, I do not sort.

Yep, that's the dirty little secret where I live too. All of this effort goes into separating and sorting all of the recyclable materials at the airport, universities, shopping malls, restaurants, work places, residences, and etc. At the end of the day it all goes into the landfill. But everyone feels good for putting their recycle bins out despite the fact it doesn't mean squat.

I pointed out to my neighbor one Friday morning how the garbage truck picks everything up and it all goes to the landfill, but she still insists that she carefully sorts all of her recyclables because if she doesn't we've got a vocal group of people that will demonize her for not doing so.
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aloges
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RE: Is It Worth Sorting My Recycling?

Sun Apr 03, 2016 4:30 pm

Quoting seb146 (Reply 5):
When the garbage truck comes around, both bins are emptied into the same truck. So, no, I do not sort.

Does the truck not have two compartments?
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SoJo
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RE: Is It Worth Sorting My Recycling?

Sun Apr 03, 2016 6:32 pm

Here in Salisbury, Wiltshire (UK) we have three separate 'bins'. An all black bin for general rubbish. black bin with blue lid for plastics and cardboard and a black box for cans, glass and paper. There are 3 different trucks that pick them up. All collected fortnightly on alternating dates. One week rubbish next week blue lid and black box. I do my bit      
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Tugger
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RE: Is It Worth Sorting My Recycling?

Sun Apr 03, 2016 6:59 pm

Quoting francoflier (Reply 3):
Cleaning stuff for the purpose of making it more recyclable is often counterproductive.

The damage done to the environment by wasting fresh water and using detergents is often greater than the benefit brought by recycling whatever is being washed. Especially plastics.

The sad truth is that plastics are pretty nasty in most of their forms, and very often non recyclable as it is technically challenging and not economically beneficial to do so. Especially is a period of cheap oil.

Here is San Diego you do not need to clean the items as they are cleaned at the facility. the water a resources there are themselves reused and recycled so as to waste as little as possible.


Quoting seb146 (Reply 5):
Every house here has two bins: One for general garbage and one for recycling. When the garbage truck comes around, both bins are emptied into the same truck. So, no, I do not sort.

Uhhh.... you do realize there are separate compartments in the trucks don't you? No I guess you don't.


Here is Sonoma info:
http://www.recyclenow.org/disposal/garbage.asp

Quoting Brick (Reply 7):
Yep, that's the dirty little secret where I live too. All of this effort goes into separating and sorting all of the recyclable materials at the airport, universities, shopping malls, restaurants, work places, residences, and etc. At the end of the day it all goes into the landfill. But everyone feels good for putting their recycle bins out despite the fact it doesn't mean squat.

I don't know the area you live in so I can't research the issue, but are you sure your service is also not using split compartment trucks?


Tugg
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VapourTrails
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RE: Is It Worth Sorting My Recycling?

Sun Apr 03, 2016 9:12 pm

We have three bins: one for household waste, one for recycling, and one for green waste. All colour-coded of course.  

The latter two are alternating fortnightly collections I am sure there are separate trucks for each of the three types, at least for the household and the rest. I think the council do it pretty well here, ratepayer so they should with what they charge moment.

When I lived out of town, and didn't have kerbside collection I used to take the recycle waste straight to the depot. It was all very systematic there. Separate glass, plastic, paper, etc. bins for each type. I don't know what eventually happens to it all when it is out of sight so to speak, but it is quite regulated here.

I don't always rinse containers out as we are advised it is not necessary, but to take the lids off, as they can't be compacted as easily.

This article says that the process of recycling is becoming expensive and that the value of recyclables is declining: http://www.bustle.com/articles/12564...-it-the-answer-might-surprise-you, Is Recycling Worth It? The Answer May Surprise You, Gina M. Florio, December 3, 2015.

It took us years to get into the habit of separating garbage, I wonder whether we will go full circle in years to come? It is such a way of life now to not throw it all together..
 
Brick
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RE: Is It Worth Sorting My Recycling?

Mon Apr 04, 2016 3:45 am

Quoting Tugger (Reply 10):
I don't know the area you live in so I can't research the issue, but are you sure your service is also not using split compartment trucks?

Absolutely it all goes into the same compartment in the truck that services my neighborhood.

I've also watched the maintenance staff at work carefully pull all of the bags from the different recycle bins throughout the office, place it in a single container, and then dump all of it in the main dumpster.
A noble spirit embiggens the smallest man...
 
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seb146
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RE: Is It Worth Sorting My Recycling?

Mon Apr 04, 2016 4:22 am

Quoting Brick (Reply 7):
At the end of the day it all goes into the landfill.

Ours goes to a separation center where some things are put in a land fill and other things, like paper and glass, are recycled.

Quoting Brick (Reply 7):
Does the truck not have two compartments?
Quoting Tugger (Reply 10):
you do realize there are separate compartments in the trucks don't you?

I have watched our truck. One compartment. The side arm loader lifts both bins to the exact same height and from the exact same side. Our trucks have only one compartment. Even if it had two, from the pics provided, it looks like it would still dump into one pile.
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teahan
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RE: Is It Worth Sorting My Recycling?

Mon Apr 04, 2016 9:54 am

Quoting seb146 (Reply 13):
I have watched our truck. One compartment. The side arm loader lifts both bins to the exact same height and from the exact same side. Our trucks have only one compartment. Even if it had two, from the pics provided, it looks like it would still dump into one pile.

In some places, the different bags are separated at the sorting center. It's a messy process I imagine but obviously some people conclude it's cheaper than sending out different trucks.
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aloges
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RE: Is It Worth Sorting My Recycling?

Mon Apr 04, 2016 10:07 am

Quoting seb146 (Reply 13):
Ours goes to a separation center where some things are put in a land fill and other things, like paper and glass, are recycled.

Which negates the need for different containers in people's homes.    Could it be one of those things where people wish to be seen as "doing the right thing" before everything else?
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MD11Engineer
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RE: Is It Worth Sorting My Recycling?

Mon Apr 04, 2016 11:34 am

No more landfills in the EU. Waste either gets recycled or incinerated (usually th heat is being used to run an electric power station).

We have four colour coded bins in our yard, collected on different days by different companies:
Yellow: Recycleable plastics and metal, though I collect scrap metal in my garage, as I have quit a bit of it due to my metal shop and forge, and sell it from time to time to a scrap metal dealer.

Blue: Paper and cardboard

Brown: Compostables, like garden waste and food leftovers, though I compost the garden waste myself and use the compost as fertiliser for my garden.

Black: Remaining unrecycleable waste. The collection of the first ones if for free, but we'll have to pay for each collection of the black bin.

There exists a bottle bank for empty glas bottles as well, sorted according to colour, and the collecting truck has different compartments.

Most drinks containers in Germany have a mandatory deposit on them, up to 25 cents. You'll get it back when you return the empties to the shop.

Jan
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seb146
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RE: Is It Worth Sorting My Recycling?

Mon Apr 04, 2016 5:09 pm

Quoting aloges (Reply 15):
Could it be one of those things where people wish to be seen as "doing the right thing" before everything else?

Probably. When I am at home, I just toss trash into the bin with the least stuff in it. When I am out, I toss trash in the appropriate recycling bin.

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 16):
We have four colour coded bins in our yard

Portlandia had a wonderful skit about recycling. Amber colored bin is for empty ink pens and chartreuse colored bin is for fruit rinds and all kinds of bizarre things. I tried finding it on Youtube but came up with nothing. So, if you have a few hours....
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Tugger
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RE: Is It Worth Sorting My Recycling?

Mon Apr 04, 2016 6:29 pm

Quoting seb146 (Reply 17):
Portlandia had a wonderful skit about recycling. Amber colored bin is for empty ink pens and chartreuse colored bin is for fruit rinds and all kinds of bizarre things. I tried finding it on Youtube but came up with nothing. So, if you have a few hours....

Seek and ye shall find!  http://gawker.com/5888204/in-portlan...s-very-important-and-very-specific

Tugg
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zckls04
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RE: Is It Worth Sorting My Recycling?

Mon Apr 04, 2016 7:07 pm

I'm probably one of the few people who would likely choose to separate the stuff whether or not it was all going into the same pile. I like having one gigantic box in my kitchen for recycling, because it's where I put most of my trash that doesn't stink. The stuff that isn't recyclable usually tends to be nasty-smelling stuff, so that goes in my bin with a lid. It's just easier. I also like having a separate green bin for garden waste, since I can just leave it by the back gate.

I know a lot of people think recycling is a massive inconvenience, but for me it just doesn't seem that far away from my preferred way of organizing my trash anyway.
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aloges
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RE: Is It Worth Sorting My Recycling?

Mon Apr 04, 2016 7:28 pm

Quoting zckls04 (Reply 19):
I know a lot of people think recycling is a massive inconvenience, but for me it just doesn't seem that far away from my preferred way of organizing my trash anyway.

I'm quite similar. Stinky non-recyclable stuff goes in the smaller bin with a lid, less stinky recyclable stuff such as plastic bottles goes into the other smaller bin with no lid and non-stinky recyclable paper goes in the third and larger bin. All of that goes in one drawer under the sink where it's out of sight. If I did it differently, I'd have to take the trash out more often and all of it would be mixed with coffee grounds and orange peels.

The point being: it's not even a slight inconvenience.

[Edited 2016-04-04 12:29:37]
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Raventech
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RE: Is It Worth Sorting My Recycling?

Mon Apr 04, 2016 8:45 pm

This reminds me Penn and teller's BS "experiment " on how far people would be willing to sort items for recycling

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SC3CZBDz7Wg
 
coolian2
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RE: Is It Worth Sorting My Recycling?

Mon Apr 04, 2016 11:18 pm

I used to recycle like crazy - I'd sort everything.

Unfortunately I currently live in a place where I don't have the same freedom (insane landlord, and I mean insane), so I pretty much just accept what happens.

I drive my partner crazy though. If it CAN be recycled, it shall be. This extends from her house to university.
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Zkpilot
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RE: Is It Worth Sorting My Recycling?

Tue Apr 05, 2016 12:08 am

Here in Auckland, NZ we have one large wheelie recycling bin (240L about 60 gallons) that all recycling goes into and is collected fortnightly (rubbish is weekly). It is then sorted by machine at recycling centres which is a lot quicker and more efficient than householders doing it or the guys on the trucks having to do it...faster for them to collect too.
However apparently a lot of the more difficult grades of plastic are crushed and bundled up and sent to China for recycling (I guess they need more plastic there to package things in to then export back to the rest of the world).
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mham001
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RE: Is It Worth Sorting My Recycling?

Tue Apr 05, 2016 3:55 pm

Quoting MD11Engineer (Reply 16):
We have four colour coded bins in our yard, collected on different days by different companies:

That in itself is wasteful.

Here, all recycle goes in one bin, collected by the same garbage truck going to conveyor belts where low wage Mexicans sort it all out.
 
MD11Engineer
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RE: Is It Worth Sorting My Recycling?

Tue Apr 05, 2016 4:17 pm

We don't have low wage Mexicans here.

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RyanairGuru
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RE: Is It Worth Sorting My Recycling?

Tue Apr 05, 2016 7:30 pm

Quoting seb146 (Reply 13):

If it is a side arm and not a rear load dumpster then I can almost guarantee you that it is a split compartment.
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Thunderboltdrgn
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RE: Is It Worth Sorting My Recycling?

Tue Apr 05, 2016 8:51 pm

Quoting seb146 (Reply 5):
Every house here has two bins: One for general garbage and one
for recycling. When the garbage truck comes around, both bins are emptied into the same
truck. So, no, I do not sort.

In my city most households have 5-6 differently coloured plastic bags.

They are loaded into one truck (and I think the same compartment) but when the waste is unloaded at
the recycling central, an automated process optically scans the colours of the bags and then
send them to different bays/containers depending on what colour the bag have.

Apparently Eskilstuna Energi and Miljö was the first facility in the EU to use the system with
6 different coloured bags, one for each type of waste, when they started with it in 2010.

http://i.imgur.com/3cmSGGK.png
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coolian2
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RE: Is It Worth Sorting My Recycling?

Tue Apr 05, 2016 11:26 pm

Quoting mham001 (Reply 24):
Here, all recycle goes in one bin, collected by the same garbage truck going to conveyor belts where low wage Mexicans sort it all out.

Wow, you're a piece of work.
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jetstar
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RE: Is It Worth Sorting My Recycling?

Thu Apr 07, 2016 1:17 am

For years in my town in Southwestern Connecticut, we had 2 different recycling bins, a blue one for plastic, metal and glass and a gray one for paper and cardboard, but a few years ago the town converted over to single source recycling and gave every home a wheeled toter and all the recycling now goes into this one bin and it is all sorted out the recycling center.

JetStar
 
offloaded
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RE: Is It Worth Sorting My Recycling?

Thu Apr 07, 2016 9:28 am

Quoting mham001 (Reply 24):
Here, all recycle goes in one bin, collected by the same garbage truck going to conveyor belts where low wage Mexicans sort it all out.

.... Donald, is that you?

Anyway, where I live in Portugal we don't have house to house rubbish collection. At the end of my road there is a general waste bin, a yellow bin for paper/cardboard etc, blue for metal/plastics, green for glass and an orange container for cooking oil. When plastic bags were free and I had loads of them I would diligently put the various types in different bags, but now I have a lot less bags whatever the majority of waste is, that's the bin it goes in.
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