Sunday, February 11, 2007

Stirring up some controversy - Is recycling really Bullshit?

I am one of the recycling “sheeple” who hasn’t really thought much about this subject until seeing this video today.

Via: VideoSift

20 comments:

Jason H. Bowden said...

A lot of old, outdated ideas from the 1900s aren't going to make it through the 21st century. Religion will still be around, given man's existential situation. In contrast, primitivist and anti-rational economic ideas can only survive so long in a free, open, cosmopolitan society.

Delta said...

I've watched that video a long time ago and if I recall correctly they talk about how it costs more to recycle something than to produce it new in the first place, and hence conclude that it takes more resources and hurts the environment more.

While it's understandable that someone might think this, it overlooks the fact that markets are not good judges of what something is really worth. It's not the cost of producing something, but is inflated in order to sustain high levels of profit for those at the top of the company. Therefore, even if it's true that recycling *costs* more than producing something new, that doesn't mean that there is more waste generated in recycling the item. And that's the entire point of recycling, it's not to save money (which has no intrinsic value, it's simply paper), but it's to produce less waste and help maintain our quality of life on this planet.

Penn and Teller are fairly right-wing in many of their political views, so you have to keep that in mind when watching the show. They don't give the other side fair representation, and that holds for even their non-political episodes.

Jason H. Bowden said...

stardust--

As I've said before, you can't argue with radicals in terms of a cost-benefit analysis, because the rational, economic mode of argument is precisely what leftists are in rebellion against. Exhibit A: delta.

Price *does* measure the availability of natural resources and the demand of objects-- that is the entire lesson of 200 years of classical economics. As Bullshit! shows, if there really was a need to recycle most of the junk we're throwing away, people would be paid to collect it, like bums collecting aluminum cans.

And I haven't even begun to talk about the huuuuge amounts of hazardous waste recycling creates-- all for the sake of producing inferior, government subsidized goods. For example, recycling 100 tons of old newsprint generates 40 tons of toxic waste. Many of the EPA's worst polluting superfund sites are now recycling centers.

But the environmentalist wackos don't care. You see, recycling to them is not a means to an end, but an end in itself that can't be measured quantitatively. They are loaded with a bunch of liberal guilt for their sins, in this case, laughably, garbage-guilt. Worshipping nature gives them a religious sense of redemption-- and they will walk through glass, as your video shows, before they will let anyone take that away from them.

Stardust said...

And I haven't even begun to talk about the huuuuge amounts of hazardous waste recycling creates

Could you tell me how you think that recycling motor oil and not putting it down drains is bad, or that recycling fluorescent lightbulbs and batteries is more hazardous to recycle than to bury it in a waste dump? Do you have any good resources to back up what you are saying?

I am just beginning to research this myself. I am not willing to just take the word of a half of a magician team or the people chosen to be on the video. I am going to study this more in-depth on my own.(Using sources outside of blogland.)

Stardust said...

But the environmentalist wackos don't care.

You cannot say this, they very obviously do care otherwise they would not speak up their views about it.

Stardust said...

This video is a good to get the wheels turning, but does anyone have any good factual information or any credible resources about recycling that they can recommend? Like I said, I never really paid attention to what I was doing before and just "obediently" recycling so as not to get fined by my village for not complying with the rules.

Tommy said...

One argument you can make against curbside recycling collection is that is also generates pollution. Before communities adopted curbside recycling collection, you generally had the regular garbage picked up once a week. Now with a day for recycling collection, municipalities have to buy the trucks specifically for recycling collection, hire and pay workers to do the job, and those trucks of course require gasoline to run and like the trucks that collect the regular garbage, these trucks give off pollution when they are driving around. Then there is the pollution from the larger trucks that deliver the collected waste to be recycled to the recycling plants. Now, because I am hardly an expert in this area, I couldn't say whether what I describe above makes recycling worth it or not, but it is an element of the story that most people never consider.

You could probably argue from an environmental standpoint that there are certain items that it makes sense to recycle, while there are other items that do not make sense.

I think the main argument in favor of recycling is that it reduces the need for greater landfill space for our regular trash. Then again, in 50 to 100 years, we might have the capacity to store a lot of our waste on the moon and basically turn our satellite into one giant garbage dump.

Louie said...

Well since everything is pointless it follows that recycling is too. Moreover I personally detest those preachy holier-than-thou recyclers, who do nothing but sort their commercial booty into neat little piles. There are much bigger polluters out there and much more important problems to be overcome.

Stardust said...

From my reading thus far, nuclear and highly toxic waste seems to be the biggest threat to us all. Makes paper, plastic and glass recycling seem so trivial.

Jason H. Bowden said...

stardust--

Leftists do not care about the consequences of their actions. The entire history of the 20th century is a testament to this. They do care about being martyrs for their God, the State. What sucks is that they want to martyr everybody else along their road to perdition, which is always paved, of course, with shallow proclamations of their noble intentions.

Are we running out of space? Here is some truth about landfill capacity in the United States. As for whether landfills generally pose health risks, I refer you to this article by Jerry Taylor. Combined, both these links spell checkmate for your standard anti-humanist, anti-technology, anti-capitalism neo-hippie. There is a rationale to recycle in limited cases, but the $8,000,000,000.00 socialist monstrosity we have right now is total bullshit.

I know I'm not showing much charity for the other side of the argument, but I don't believe in Affirmative Action for stupidity, especially of the dogmatic, "O'Doyle Rules!" variety.

Stardust said...

Jason, can't you ever enter into a discussion without becoming so rabid? My gawd! Get a grip! Take a chill pill. I haven't seen even fundie xians get their panties in such knots as you do. I am still researching this topic and you are making wild far-out statements and ranting like a Baptist preacher! "You must be saved! You must convert!" Geesh!

I will read the two links you provided and will read anything anyone else wishes to provide links for, as well.

Krystalline Apostate said...

Jason:
As Bullshit! shows, if there really was a need to recycle most of the junk we're throwing away, people would be paid to collect it, like bums collecting aluminum cans.
I live in the S.F Bay Area. It's big business out here. I see people collecting cardboard boxes (I'm not talking about 2 or 3 here: it's not unusual to see some fellow w/ huge STACKS of the stuff tied down in their flatbeds), and it's a very common sight to see people fishing out bottles & cans outta garbage cans.
Oh, & the highways are WAY cleaner since the CRV law passed out here.
Leftists do not care about the consequences of their actions. The entire history of the 20th century is a testament to this. They do care about being martyrs for their God, the State. What sucks is that they want to martyr everybody else along their road to perdition, which is always paved, of course, with shallow proclamations of their noble intentions.
I beg your pardon, but I'm nothing like that at all, & I'll thank you not to lump me into a hasty generalization of that sort, please.

Tommy said...

KA, that's just the way Jason is. If you quote someone or make a particular statement, from that alone he will construct what he thinks is your entire life's story.

It's gotten to the point where he doesn't even need to show up anymore. I can type his right wing libertarian tirades for him.

JDHURF said...

Jason said:
Leftists do not care about the consequences of their actions. The entire history of the 20th century is a testament to this. They do care about being martyrs for their God, the State. What sucks is that they want to martyr everybody else along their road to perdition, which is always paved, of course, with shallow proclamations of their noble intentions.

I have to comment on this quote and its grotesque generalization. Firstly, one cannot generalize the entire left with the Marxist-Leninist left, you are clearly ignoring Proudhon, Bakunin, etc. Secondly, there is no inherent martyr complex within the left, you simply conjured that up and, lastly, the overwhelming majority of the left has no intention of martyring anybody else.

Furthermore, as much as I love Penn and Teller’s show Bullshit!, their show is hardly credible research material. They are ultra-rightist libertarians. They had an episode down playing global warming which, for their information, relied on the libertarian Cato institute and two controversial individuals who either deny or down play global warming. This is not science or rational argument, this is dogma.

Furthermore critiquing socialism in general through the policy of recycling proves that the individual doing so isn’t even pretending to be serious. If one is to discuss the egregious use of public subsidy and state intervention recycling should be towards the end of the list with military expenditures and private corporations at the top.

Stardust said...

Here is some truth about landfill capacity in the United States.

Are you "sure" that's the absolute truth?it's the Mail & Jobs Coalition of all things...PROMOTING JUNK MAIL!

What's the difference between creating crappy jobs via trying to do something productive and attempt to lessen garbage in landfills, or creating crappy jobs that fill my mail box full of shit from charities, credit card companies, scam artists, and a bunch of other BULLSHIT I don't want?

Mail and Jobs coalition states:
"Every major environmental and consumer organization uses the mailstream to raise money, gain members, promote causes and distribute information. Larger groups send out tens of millions of items annually.

Yes, it's a vicious "recycle" isn't it? ;)

I just want to point out that the Chicagoland area is A LOT cleaner now than when I was growing up and even cleaner than when I was in my early 20s. I don't know how anyone can say that enviromentalist programs have been a failure. I have seen the changes with my own eyes. Less trash around, it's just a whole "cleaner" way of thinking which makes people in general more conscious of what they do with their trash.

From my reading, there is still a big problem with toxic and nuclear waste which doesn't get the attention that paper, plastic and glass does because it is such a huge problem and there are all these ideas but no one seems to be able to agree what to do about it.

Krystalline Apostate said...

tommy:
KA, that's just the way Jason is. If you quote someone or make a particular statement, from that alone he will construct what he thinks is your entire life's story.
That may be so, but I quoted Feuerbach at him a while back, & he didn't accuse me of being a Neo-Marxist, so all is not lost.
jdhurf:
Furthermore, as much as I love Penn and Teller’s show Bullshit!, their show is hardly credible research material. They are ultra-rightist libertarians. They had an episode down playing global warming which, for their information, relied on the libertarian Cato institute and two controversial individuals who either deny or down play global warming. This is not science or rational argument, this is dogma.
That's an interesting comment.
I started researching after watching their 'Holier than Thou' episode.
They used Michael Parenti as a source on the Dalai Lama. So I poked about.
Parenti has a website - he's a leftie Marxist no less. But if you hunt down all the references on his website in re: the Dalai Lama - most of 'em don't exist (they Google - kinda - but have vanished.
http://www.michaelparenti.org/Tibet.html
I'm starting to look at P&T as the video equivalent of Wiki - good starting point, but by no means would I cite them as a final source.

Jason H. Bowden said...

stardust & all--

I'm satisfied with my case against recycling.

We can start a discussion about Bakunin another time. Many around here would find it too judgmental and generalizing to call anarchists 'anarchists', so it would be interesting to see how the discussion would proceed. I promise to start by calling Comrade Chomsky a neo-con freemarketer to build trust that no fragile emotions will be maligned.

Krystalline Apostate said...

Jason:
I promise to start by calling Comrade Chomsky a neo-con freemarketer to build trust that no fragile emotions will be maligned.
Oh, get stuffed.
You didn't hurt my 'widdow feewings'.
You Objectivists are all alike. Someone disagrees w/your assessments, you think they're effeminate weepers rushing for their Kleenexes.
I'm curious if you caught the subtlety behind that.

JDHURF said...

Jason said:
I promise to start by calling Comrade Chomsky a neo-con freemarketer

It’s clear to me that you either don’t know what you’re talking about or you have absolutely no intention of being serious; either way, I’m simply not interested.

krystalline:
I wouldn't waste any time or effort in responding to such spurious charges, whether they be the product of a genuine lack of information or of spite is irrelevant. For the former would take entirely too much time and energy to remedy and the latter is far too crass and petty to warrant serious discussion.

Brian Carnell said...

Using Michael Parenti has a source was ridiculous since Parenti's an outright defender of Communist totalitarian states (such as the China). This is a guy who wrote books in the 1980s defending the human rights record of the Soviet Union.

Parenti is so out there, after the fall of the USSR he took to calling Noam Chomsky a corporate stooge for Chomsky's observation that the world was better off without the Communist totalitarian state.