My world has been flipped. I had to take some time away from the books to absorb this article from the New York Times (1996). Brilliantly written, it took me on a journey of discovery that recycling is garbage, we’re not going to suffer a “garbage landfill crisis,” and that the solution to excess waste is beautifully simple and already practiced by places like Minneapolis, San Francisco, and Seattle.
Recylcing is Garbage, by John Tierney.
“We’re not running out of wood, so why do we worry so much about recycling paper?” asks Jerry Taylor, the director of natural resource studies at the Cato Institute. “Paper is an agricultural product, made from trees grown specifically for paper production. Acting to conserve trees by recycling paper is like acting to conserve cornstalks by cutting back on corn consumption.”
Fifty years ago, for instance, tin and copper were said to be in danger of depletion, and conservationists urged mandatory recycling and rationing of these vital metals so that future generations wouldn’t be deprived of food containers and telephone wires. But today tin and copper are cheaper than ever. Most food containers don’t use any tin. Phone calls travel through fiber-optic cables of glass, which is made from sand-and should the world ever run out of sand, we could dispense with wires together by using cellular phones.
By now, many experts and public officials acknowledge that America could simply bury its garbage, but they object to this option because it diverts trash from recycling programs. Recycling, which was originally justified as the only solution to a desperate national problem, has become a goal in itself–a goal so important that we must preserve the original problem. It’s as if the protagonist of “Pilgrim’s Progress,” upon being informed that he could drop his sinful burden right there on the road, insisted on clinging to it just so he could continue the pilgrimage to get rid of it.
Why is it better to recycle?
I also learned where the term “muckracker” came from. Good day, all around.