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Recycling: Why I Hate It


Friday, March 01, 2013, by Faith Bussey, Opinion Arlington Editor

Your trash bill is about to go up, and you will soon have a shiny, new recycling bin delivered to your driveway. I hate recycling and not because I am an evil Conservative that hates the planet. I hate recycling BECAUSE it is bad for the planet and does not reduce consumption. Sounds crazy, right?

Recycling is not magic. Those plastic bottles don’t just turn themselves into a reusable container. Old glass doesn’t morph into new bottles. That newspaper doesn’t presto into toilet paper, and those aluminum cans don’t abracadabra into usable metal. They have to be heated, treated with harsh chemicals, and all that will ultimately contribute to pollution in the atmosphere wherever recycling plants are found.

When paper companies send their representatives into the design agency my husband works for, they explain that recyclable paper is very popular among some of the larger corporations. They go on to explain how this paper is made by dousing it with more bleach than any other type of paper. The paper companies know this is harmful to the environment, but the corporations and the governments are demanding that we save the trees. Newsflash: Paper companies have tree farms where they plant and harvest trees to make their paper. The rainforest is no longer in danger. FernGully isn’t going anywhere.

According to a Forbes’ article, Can Recycling Be Bad for the Environment? , “Every year, reports come out touting rising recycling rates and neglecting to mention the soaring consumption that goes along with them.”  People are getting sucked into a false sense of environmental responsibility because they feel they can buy more products as long as the products they buy are recyclable. Remember the fat-free craze of the ‘90s? People were told that as long as what they were eating had the fat-free label, they could eat as much as they wanted. Who was surprised after downing 3 boxes of fat-free Snackwell’s cookies that they hadn’t lost any weight? They might have even gained a few pounds. Just because the consumer feels better about buying something with the recycled label doesn’t mean they are actually going to make any progress in saving the planet. They might even do more harm than good. Using less is the key, not recycling more.

Which brings me to my final point.

When those in the Green movement talk about “Sustainable Development,” they are talking about projects that are supposedly less harmful for the environment, yet way more expensive for us puny humans. Ameliorating poverty is the real goal, an effort to redistribute wealth through government management of private property.

If they really cared about sustainable development, they would encourage people to consume less or re-use what they have, not recycle. They would talk more about family farms and local businesses that need our support to survive. They would do away with public-private partnerships where the taxpayers get left holding the bag if a project loses money or completely fails. They would do away with the kickbacks that municipalities receive when they sign a recycling contract. There is nothing sustainable about creating equal poverty in the name of environmental justice.

Recycling may have started as a good intention, but it has become a misguided religion paving the way to environmental hell. Freedom and personal responsibility are the keys to a healthier environment. If I am free to become self-sufficient, I will consume less without the misguided notion that I am somehow saving all of humanity. If local farms and factories were free of over-regulation, they could sell their products at a lower price and contribute to the overall prosperity of our City.

So, when that 65-gallon recycling bin gets delivered to your house, feel free to use it to start a compost heap for your garden. You can rig it as a dog house or a rat trap. You can use it to bag leaves or anything else your imagination can come up with, but please, for the love of the planet, don’t use it to recycle.

7 Responses to Recycling: Why I Hate It

  1. potentialresident

    March 8, 2013 at 8:24 pm

    Will I be required to buy those stupid big gallon recycle bins.

    • rawrunner

      March 8, 2013 at 10:41 pm

      Good news for you here. No, you do not have to buy it. The cost of the purchase is in the price increase.

  2. potentialresident

    March 8, 2013 at 8:21 pm

    Will I as someone who is planning to buy a condo have to sign up for this recycling program or will it be covered by the condo fees?

    • rawrunner

      March 8, 2013 at 10:39 pm

      There will be a price increase in June on the water/utility bill.

  3. sclinesr

    March 2, 2013 at 10:18 am

    Great article. I’m done recyclying for the reasons stated and it is nothing but a cash cow for the sanitation company, Mayor Cluck and the city council. It costs the homeowners and home renters 10 times more than what the city dump can sell recyclables for. It does not cost the business’ or apartment complex owners one dime because they do not use the city service that the rest of us are forced to use. And I mean forced. Do anyone recall this new system being brought up for vote? because there wasn’t one. And Mayor Cluck and the city council made sure of that.

    • buddy

      March 4, 2013 at 3:45 pm

      There was a vote by the City Council to approve the 10-year no-bid recycling contract with Republic Services. As I recall, the recycling contract passed with only two no votes. Opinion Arlington will soon add this item to our How Your Council voted page. Citizens need to be aware that those council members who approved the recycling contract will likely approve a similar contract with Republic Services for trash pickup, but only after the May election is safely in the rear view mirror.

  4. m

    March 1, 2013 at 6:57 pm

    Well stated!

    If the environmental whackjobs really wanted to save the planet, they’d be busy encouraging corporations that manufacture disposable goods to, well, make fewer of them.


    ‘disposable’ diapers
    ‘disposable’ pens
    ‘disposable’ lighters
    ‘disposable’ plastic cups and tableware
    single-use medical supplies

    the list is virtually endless.

    Remember the days of glass, reused soda and milk bottles? Paper cups? Cloth diapers?

    Immense amounts of trash are created daily by institutions that serve food with single-use containers. (schools, homeless shelters, etc.)

    Think of the money saved and environmental damage avoided by simply doing away with so much single-use, single-purpose stuff. Yes, more water would be needed to wash the items, but I don’t see how that would cost more in either monetary or environmental measurements longterm.

    As for our recycling cart, we haven’t decided whether to keep it, as we have no place to store it, or leave it a city hall prior to a council meeting. Its arrival will herald the end of recycling in our household.

    I have also noticed it’s large enough to hide a dead body or two….

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