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RE: [greenyes] Composting vs. Landfillling (glass recycling)


At 03:56 PM 12/27/2004 -0600, Young, Susan A wrote:
Along the same lines of justification....

I spent the Holiday week at my brother's house, in Austin, TX. He had some tough questions for me....as I'm the family "recycling expert." He showed me the Recycling Requirements from his hauler.....the hauler does not collect glass, because "glass is made from silica, the most common element on the earth...the vast majority of serious MRF injuries are from glass...glass degrades the value of all other recyclable commodities...and (my personal favorite)limited recycling resources should be spent on recycling non-renewable materials such as paper and metals."

First:

The 8 most common elements in Earth's crust:

46.6% Oxygen (O)
27.7% Silica (Si)
8.1% Aluminum (Al)
5.0% Iron (Fe)
3.6% Calcium (Ca)
2.8% Sodium (Na)
2.6% Potassium (K)
2.1% Magnesium (Mg)

(http://www.windows.ucar.edu/tour/link=/earth/geology/crust_elements.html)

Note, however, that this is only the "crust" or outer layer.

Taken as a whole, Earth's chemical composition (by mass) is:

34.6% Iron
29.5% Oxygen
15.2% Silicon
12.7% Magnesium
2.4% Nickel
1.9% Sulfur
0.05% Titanium

(http://www.esse.ou.edu/fund_concepts/Fundamental_Concepts1/Elements/Relative_Abundance_ES.htm)

So depending on whether one looks at just the outer layer or the whole thing (the core is mostly iron....) silicon is either 2nd or 3rd in abundance.

But, so what? Iron and Aluminum are abundant also. A more important issue for us is the resources embodied in the candidate for recycling and how much of these are saved in comparison to virgin material.

I think there has been something of a world-wide decline in recycled glass prices, and this has lead many program managers and designers to at
at last consider not collecting it. This is being argued about in Delaware and I posted a query to this list several weeks ago. Responses were varied.

The main public response here is that, after years of recycling glass, people do not want to be told it's no longer necessary. In my opinion part of the motivation here for such proposals is to confuse and divide the pro-recycling folk.

Having "educated" my family vociferously in the past on the benefits of recycling all commodities, whether renewable or not, my brother wanted to know why the commodity that he has the MOST of (glass) is now a banned recyclable, and what the heck all those greenies are doing by calling paper a non-renewable resource?

If I understand, this view comes not from "greenies" but from your brother's garbage collector.....

I am appealing to more learned, or perhaps up-to-date, recyclers for answers for him. I admit that when I'm in Bakersfield, CA, I'm perplexed that in a state with a 50% recycling requirement, there is no curbside recycling,

As well you might be.....

HELP, please! My family reputation is in tatters! I'd proudly told them about Minneapolis recycling successes in the past year....but now my family also doubts my professional expertise, since I'm not up on Progressive Recycling Thought!

Ask five people how to design a recycling program and you can expect about ten different answers.....

Alan Muller


Alan Muller, Executive Director
Green Delaware
Box 69
Port Penn, DE 19731 USA
(302)834-3466
fax (302)836-3005
greendel@no.address
www.greendel.org

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