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Re: [greenyes] The environmental impacts of recycling glass
I don't know what you do with your rocks now, but the choice for glass is either the big garbage diesel or the big recycling diesel.  

Also, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to site aggregate mining sites in urban areas.  Thus, the cost to ship in virgin aggregate is increasing and the attractiveness of recycled aggregate is growing.  

Finally, the environmental impacts of aggregate mining sites are often riparian ecosystems, especially fish.  Thus, using only an energy analysis to deem what is "worthy" for recovery misses an important part of the environmental impact analysis, at least for Oregon and the Northwest.

On the same note, I believe similar analyses by the Union of Concerned Scientists or other organizations that try and prioritize our environmental actions based on an energy analysis only miss the larger point that we need sustainable ecosystems, in addition to sustainable energy sources and consumption levels.  

Yes, the energy saved from recycling paper and plastics are not at the same level as energy choices involved in buildings and transportation.  However, reducing excess telephone directories, recycling paper, buying recycled content paper and supporting FSC-certified paper can lower the demand for wood pulp coming from old growth forest ecosystems in British Columbia.  Switching from a car to a bike is great for energy and pollution, but is not really going to have as much impact on saving old growth forests as a properly targeted waste reduction program with environmentally preferable purchasing for paper.  


>>> <KirbGood@no.address> 4/14/03 8:54:52 AM >>>
Using the negative sort from glass recycling facilities as an aggregate may 
be reasonable.  The glass has to go somewhere and, properly processed, it has 
been shown to work as aggregate.  And it facilitates the portion that's 
recycled into containers.

Collecting glass EXCLUSIVELY to use as aggregate just doesn't pass the smell 
test.  I'm certain I generate at least 100 pounds of rocks a year out of my 
garden.  That's more than the average American generates of container glass.  
Should the city send a 40 ton diesel truck by to pick up my 2 pounds of rock 
a week?  Even as part of an overall recycling program, picking up rock 
door-to-door sure sounds like an environemental net negative.

Bob Kirby




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