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[GreenYes] Re: Compact fluorescent bulb deposits

On Wed, 21 Feb 2007, retroworks wrote:
> Paying people deposits to bring in mercury which is sold in liquid
> form on the global market is evil, right?

Huh? People pay on the front end, they get their money back when they
return it. This is to encourage people to make the additional effort to
recycle/return something into a controlled system rather than to just toss
it into an uncontrolled system where none of it's components will be
recycled or reused and where it might wind up inadvertently in a system
such as an incinerator.

> To wit: If all of the mercury being recycled from lamps is going into
> the free market, and the accepted uses of mercury already have more
> mercury than they need (and are constantly reducing that amount), and

Supply and Demand... so what if we increase the supply of something
through this method? Are 'accepted' users complaining about the low cost
of aquisition of something they need due to a higher supply?

Perhaps we need to find more 'acceptable' uses that doesn't put this
material into a situation that would produce or expose a toxic risk to the

> the primary market for excess elemental mercury is alleuvial gold
> mining (using the mercury to draw flakes of gold from riverbeds and
> then burning the mercury off into the atmosphere), then we would be
> diverting mercury from regulated lined landfills and sending it to
> rain forests.

Are you saying that regulated lined landfills are a good thing? Uhm,
landfills, regulated or not, that is, any complex system has the
significant potential for future failure. A toxic soup of chemicals and
heavy metals as well as potentially recyclable material does not get any
better sitting in a landfill.

If the primary market for this is alleuvial gold mining, and that mining
process itself is not a problem, but the post-mining separation of the
gold from the mercury is the problem, then perhaps that is what needs to
be changed. However, to say that because end use X is a problem we
shouldn't do Y is silly. They use aluminum and steel to make all sorts of
military equipment; does that mean we shouldn't recycle our cans because
it might be used to kill and oppress someone somewhere?

> Perhaps we should have these programs mandate highly regulated
> disposal, like we do radioactive wastes, not recycling. If we were in
> charge of nuke waste, and had a choice between two recycling
> companies, and one stored/disposed of it, and the other "resold it on
> the world market", which would we favor?

Well, if the company just "stored/disposed of it" then they are not
a "recycling" company. If they could sell the radioactive 'waste' on the
world market, then they are selling it for the purpose of reuse somewhere,
in some hopefully 'appropriate' methodology.

> Europe is ahead of the USA on this one.... Just barely. Banning
> export of the recycled mercury just started being discussed in 06,
> that would cause a complete glut on the EU market, which will lead to
> the same outcome as the bans on export of nuke waste in the 1970s -
> Yukka Mountain for Mercury. Which is better than what we are doing.
> It seems to me that my friends in the environmental movement may be
> subsidizing mercury extraction the same way we blame government for
> subsidizing forestry, oil, and corn sugar.

A deposit/return program is not a subsidy.


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