Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Image

Smart Trash Carts Tell If You Haven't Been Recycling 622

Posted by samzenpus
from the clean-up-or-pay-up dept.
Starting next year Cleveland residents face paying a $100 fine if they don't recycle, and the city's new high-tech trash cans will keep track if they don't. The new cans are embedded with radio frequency identification chips and bar codes which keep track of how often residents take them to the curb. If the chip shows you haven't brought your recycle can out in a while, a lucky trash supervisor will go through your can looking for recyclables. From the article: "Trash carts containing more than 10 percent recyclable material could lead to a $100 fine, according to Waste Collection Commissioner Ronnie Owens. Recyclables include glass, metal cans, plastic bottles, paper and cardboard."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Smart Trash Carts Tell If You Haven't Been Recycling

Comments Filter:
  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @02:57PM (#33333454) Journal

    Here's the episode: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzLebC0mjCQ [youtube.com]

    In brief: Most of the items we separate don't get recycled because nobody buys the trash (i.e. there's no market for used paper or used milk jugs). Precious metal like aluminum and copper is the only thing they succeed in selling. But the rest? The city then has no choice but to dump the goods in the landfill anyway.

    • by 5pp000 (873881) * on Sunday August 22, 2010 @03:04PM (#33333498)

      From TFA:

      Cleveland pays $30 a ton to dump garbage in landfills, but earns $26 a ton for recyclables.

      I wouldn't think Cleveland would spend money on "smart trash carts" unless there were some truth to this claim.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Gazzonyx (982402)
        The question is... how often does this have to catch someone not recycling before it breaks even for them?

        Some of these "smart trash cans" will never be profitable, but will be a loss for the city and for the environment (more e-waste for the landfill).

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by flappinbooger (574405)
          I tried recycling. Our city has the giant city provided trash cans that are compatible with the automatic pickup arms, and we're also provided with a recycling tub.

          It seemed as though my trash wasn't compatible with some mysterious set of recycling rules.

          Week after week the trash truck would take my trash but the recycling tub would sit, a violation sticker stuck to the side, a different reason each week why they couldn't take my recyclables.

          Now it all goes in the regular can. No rejection tags now!

          R
          • by icebike (68054) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @06:27PM (#33335100)

            They may get contracts, but recycling is largely a huge failure as many cities/companies end up land-filling the recyclables along with the trash.

            There is no real market for most this stuff except cardboard and metals. (Its already in the form it will be recycled into).

            If recycling pays, as the slogan claims, you would expect some trickle back to the consumer. You would expect some waste-bill reduction. Instead we see punitive measures designed to enforce feel good regulations.

            It doesn't pay, its almost always tax payer funded, and the separation process could be automated at dump sites for less money than duplicate pickup runs and enforcement actions.

            If ever anything needed a good coat of technology this is it.

            • by dgatwood (11270) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @09:50PM (#33336422) Journal

              There is no real market for most this stuff except cardboard and metals. (Its already in the form it will be recycled into).

              Not true. Glass is generally profitable to recycle, and is in significant demand.

              Similarly, PETE (#1) plastic and HDPE (#2) plastic are also generally worth recycling. In some cases, #5, too. Most of the other stuff... not so much.

              Either way, though, even if the city just dumps it in a landfill, that's still better than you dumping it in a landfill. When they dump it in a landfill, they're creating a huge pile of segregated plastic. If we get to the point that we're short on petroleum and it makes sense to find every shred of plastic we can for recycling, those piles will be a gold mine. Your random bottle in the middle of your trash will still be worthless.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by KiloByte (825081)

        They do spend money (not theirs, taxpayers') to make it look they do care for the environment, which brings votes. They don't give a flying damn about doing something that actually works.

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by JimBobJoe (2758)

          to make it look they do care for the environment, which brings votes

          I love Cleveland. The city has a few nice, up and coming neighborhoods.

          But most of the city is suffering badly. It has lost hundreds of thousands of people to the suburbs. The remaining population is largely poor, uneducated and hard-up.

          They don't give a damn about the environment, they have much bigger problems. This has nothing to do with votes.

      • by mysidia (191772) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @06:04PM (#33334918)

        non-Recycling fines sound like a great revenue opportunity for the city

    • by cptdondo (59460) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @03:07PM (#33333518) Journal

      Depends on where you live. Some places don't have easy access to landfills anymore and it's cheaper to subsidize recycling than to landfill.

      And some places just believe it's the right thing to do and pay the costs anyway.

      • by Mashiki (184564) <mashiki@gmai l . c om> on Sunday August 22, 2010 @04:12PM (#33334096) Homepage

        We have recycling and easy access landfills(Ontario, not Toronto). Over half of what people recycle, ends up in our landfills anyway because it's cheaper to dump it, than it is to recycle it.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by John Hasler (414242)

        And some places just believe it's the right thing to do and pay the costs anyway.

        If it doesn't at least break even it is consuming more resources than it saves and is "the right thing to do" only with respect to political correctness.

    • by B5_geek (638928) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @03:09PM (#33333532)

      I work for a waste collection company. We collect and SELL over a THOUSAND tonnes of paper products every month.

      Things might be different in your area but here our multi-million company is quiet profitable from it.

      Paper/Cardboard is like any other commodity. the price fluctuates.

      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        >>>We collect and SELL over a THOUSAND tonnes of paper

        It's possible new businesses have developed since 6 years ago, when P&T filmed that episode. At the time it was cheaper to grow new trees and make paper, than to deal with the expense of cleaning used paper and disposing of expensive, environmentally-hazardous chemicals. Maybe the equation has changed now?

        Still I think it's worthwhile to watch the episode. Questioning your assumptions is a good thing. (ex: Most people assume Betamax di

    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 22, 2010 @03:15PM (#33333586)

      That show (in general, and that episode in particular) are about as much proof of that assertion as something your cousin's friend's older brother said. Penn and Teller don't give you evidence, they insult things instead. (Check out their argument about subsidies. There are many pros and cons to be stated for such things, but they don't really do either. They give Teller a gun to rob Penn and then throw the cash around. Logic in action, Bullshit style!)

      Seriously, I wanted to like this show, but it's total crap. It's entertainment rather than education. It's bullshit itself.

      On the other hand, a quick Google search yielded this: http://environment.about.com/od/recycling/a/benefit_vs_cost.htm [about.com] (and many other links). A balanced view. Recycling isn't always the answer and it's certainly not the only answer, but it's not bullshit, either.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by vlm (69642)

      It is certainly a "feel good" action. Doing the right thing is sometimes inconvenient or expensive, therefore something inconvenient or expensive must be the right thing to do. Exactly the same mindset as security theater.

      However... One thing recyclables have going for them is they're typically pretty non-toxic, etc. SO IN THEORY a waste disposal company could save money by throwing out really nasty semi-toxic "expensive" garbage in an expensive landfill, like used diapers, food waste, etc. Then relativ

    • by mspohr (589790) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @03:26PM (#33333686)
      This is a myth.

      Of course, lots of resources on the web about this as well as "garbage recycling deniers" but a good summary page is here: http://www.uos.harvard.edu/fmo/recycling/myths.shtml [harvard.edu]

    • by RevWaldo (1186281) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @03:31PM (#33333732)
      Penn and Teller are cool but keep in mind they're also stooges for the Cato Institute, which offers it's own mixtures of truth and bullshit.

      This show is admittedly and unrepentantly biased, which makes it a poor source of reference.

      Supposedly their last episode will be entitled " 'Bullshit!' is Bullshit! ", explaining all this. We'll see.

      .
  • by healyp (1260440) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @03:05PM (#33333510)
    The only smart trashcan I've ever seen was Oscar the grouch. Considering how "smart" the power meters(and authorities) are in most cities, this will probably be a flop.
  • by KDN (3283) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @03:11PM (#33333546)

    Ticket for not taking out trash, ticket for taking out trash too early, ticket for not taking containers in early enough, ticket for too much weight in trash. Is this really helping out the environment or just a hidden way to increase taxes? I do note that their metric of success is how many tickets they issue.

    • Not revenue from the fine -- revenue from selling the recyclables.

    • by rm999 (775449) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @03:22PM (#33333662)

      Have you ever visited a place that has poor/no trash pickup or where people leave their trash out all the time? It's not an environmental thing, it's an aesthetic and sanitary issue. Garbage attracts animals and disease. Trash piling up on the streets is ugly.

      Also, as the article states, "Cleveland pays $30 a ton to dump garbage in landfills, but earns $26 a ton for recyclables." Garbage removal is a shared resource, so the costs should be spread fairly. I guess the fairest thing would be to weigh everyone's garbage, but I doubt anyone would be a fan of that.

    • by guruevi (827432)

      You could always incinerate your own trash. Or not buy recyclable goods.

      • by FSWKU (551325)
        All fine and good unless you live in a place similar to mine. Incinerating your own trash is illegal. Oh yes, and to make sure you're not tempted to do so, the convenience of weekly trash pickup is mandatory. And the sole company that services my area seems to change every couple of years.
    • by sackvillian (1476885) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @04:59PM (#33334476)

      Environment or revenue generation?

      Both, of course. Generally speaking, we can only get the former when it allows for the latter as well.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dunbal (464142) *

      Is this really helping out the environment or just a hidden way to increase taxes?

      Guess

  • by parallel_prankster (1455313) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @03:15PM (#33333584)
    I have to throw trash down the chute into a central container for my entire apt complex and I know a lot of places here have that mechanism. How are they going to figure out then whose trash is it? Also, what if you take your trash out yourself and not use trash services. I know a lot of people who do that - saves 20$ a month.
  • by Velox_SwiftFox (57902) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @03:17PM (#33333608)

    I'm wondering how long it will be until my recyclables are considered public property even if I don't put them in the recycling bin.

    "I'm sorry sir, it is now illegal to sell your aluminum cans yourself, you must by law dispose of them in the bin to subsidize the cost of disposing of the non-recyclables, and the part of the "recyclable" stuff that we lose money on."

    • by Rene S. Hollan (1943) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @03:26PM (#33333682)

      Well, in other news, it is illegal to collect your own rainwater in Washington state. You MUST pay for city water. Dunno about digging a well. It all has to do with "disrupting" the watershed."

      • Citation needed please. I know a few people who have rainwater collection systems in the state and .
      • by pspahn (1175617) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @04:11PM (#33334086)

        Colorado's water laws are probably similar.

        It isn't so you "have to purchase city water", it has to do with how water rights work. Because Colorado supplies water to something like 18 states, often the water that fills our rivers is already owned by someone who lives in Kansas, Arizona, or wherever. Water rights are based on age, the oldest rights are the best rights. When someone with water rights needs water, they make a call for that water and it gets released from a reservoir. If people collect their own rainwater, they are reducing the supply available to those who already own water rights.

        I don't necessarily agree with this concept, but that's how it works. Out of all the things I would do if I could travel back in time, the first thing I would do is buy as many water rights in Colorado as I possibly could.

  • Silly (Score:5, Informative)

    by cdrguru (88047) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @03:30PM (#33333718) Homepage

    Recycling, in limited forms, is reasonable. But for the most part it is a PR game and has no real impact on anything.

    Post-consumer materials, like plastic, is almost never recycled because of the contamination issues. A water bottle can be recycled but if one neck ring from a cap gets into the mix the entire batch is worthless. As of yet, this level of sorting and handling removing neck rings and caps can only be done by hand - at union wages for the most part. This eliminates any reason for recycling water bottles or milk containers - it costs maybe 100x what the recycled materials would be worth to sort them to that level.

    Paper is one of those iffy items. If you have a source of clean paper and can sort out coated papers from uncoated (magazines from newspapers, for example) recycling it makes sense and the pulp from processing uncoated paper can be used in a large variety of materials. Unfortunately, getting coated paper into the mix changes things enough that it can only be used in a few applications. So we are back to a very complicated sorting scheme if it is post-consumer. Another problem with post-consumer is "dirty" paper. Food waste mixed in or other contaminates again seriously limits the utility of recycled materials, so much so that it is almost always just dumped.

    So anyone talking about post-consumer paper recycing is almost always dealing with clean products like newspapers that can be sorted or office materials that often do not need to be. They aren't talking about taking a mix of papers from curbside recycling efforts because the costs to process that are large and the markets for the output very restricted.

    Metals, especially aluminum, have been profitable for quite a while. So much so that there are machines that can sort out the metal containers - by type - quickly. Glass containers can be cleaned and sorted but the value is far less there because of different types of glass being mixed in and the general impracticality of sorting it.

    So what happens to curbside recycling materials? I seriously doubt anyone is hand-sorting and dealing with contamination issues like neck rings. A sorting machine to pick out the metal bits is easy and should be a part of any recycling effort. Glass is probably a big question mark. Paper? Almost certainly it is dumped.

    When people had to sort their own stuff it gave the impression of it being more valuable, but the contamination issues were still there preventing most of the stuff from being used.

    While Penn and Teller's presentation on this may be a bit dated, from everything I see they are still mostly right. It is a feel-good program for both people recycling and for municipalities. The limited amount of materials that are recovered from the recycling stream do earn enough to make it almost - but not quite - worth doing. But the PR value is priceless.

    • Re:Silly (Score:4, Insightful)

      by blincoln (592401) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @04:11PM (#33334090) Homepage Journal

      I've heard comments like this before (including from representatives of cities where recycling is required). Why are materials other than paper not handled along these lines:

      - Shred/chop/smash the material.
      - Run the small pieces through a rinse to take care of e.g. unrinsed bottles.
      - Vibrate or centrifuge the material so the it's sorted by mass.
      - Skim off the different types of plastic (or metal, etc.) in layers.

      ? I'm no expert, but I would think that sorting by mass would be a pretty accurate way of separating the types of raw material. Isn't that more or less how junkyards handle metal recycling of old cars?

      • Re:Silly (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Tacvek (948259) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @04:43PM (#33334364) Journal

        That sounds like a very sane idea. The layers will be imperfect, and some materials with have similar densities, so will end up mixed in a single layer.

        There is a relatively easy solution for that though, namely heat the resulting mixture up slowly. At various points the different components will melt, and can be drained out, and end up in different containers based on the type.

        The biggest problem with such a system though is that all glass colors will get mixed, so you will end up with odd color glass, which could really only be made into brown glass. A similar issue would occur with colored plastics.

    • Re:Silly (Score:5, Interesting)

      by tthomas48 (180798) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @04:22PM (#33334212) Homepage

      This sounds great, and I'm sure Penn and Teller are very smart, but if it costing Cleveland less to recycle than it is for them to dispose of the trash, then isn't that the market working perfectly? So what if 90% of the stuff that gets put in a single-stream recycling bin still ends up in a landfill? That's still 10% less than was going in before, and the city could make money off of it.
      Libertarians and conservatives love to carp about government waste, but then you have a clear example like this where the government has a plan in place to reduce waste and suddenly it's Orwellian.

      • Re:Silly (Score:5, Informative)

        by LingNoi (1066278) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @04:49PM (#33334392)

        According to engadget [engadget.com] it's going to cost 2.5 million. At $26 per ton that's 96,153 tons of recyclables before the new bins are paid off.

        According to the article they picked up 5,800 tons of recyclables last year. Assuming that's the average for the recycling to pay off the new bins it's going to take 16 years.

        • Re:Silly (Score:5, Funny)

          by tthomas48 (180798) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @04:57PM (#33334460) Homepage

          omg! 16 years! That's completely within our lifetimes. It's almost as though the city is being responsible and thinking longterm!

          • Re:Silly (Score:4, Interesting)

            by LingNoi (1066278) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @05:01PM (#33334484)

            You think the smart bins are going to last 16 years? Do you really need it spelled out for you?

            • Re:Silly (Score:4, Funny)

              by tthomas48 (180798) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @05:12PM (#33334562) Homepage

              No, I completely understand that your armchair analysis based on a blurb on a tech site is going to trump the city's analysis in all cases.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by pla (258480)
                No, I completely understand that your armchair analysis based on a blurb on a tech site is going to trump the city's analysis in all cases.

                With a metric of success based on number of $100 tickets issued, I think we can safely say that they don't expect increased compliance to pay for this. And at $26 per ton, it would take a lot of increased compliance to equal a single ticket.

                They may, however, need to deal with "accidental" success, as has happened with other "punitive" taxes such as on smoking or g
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by dlanod (979538)

          It's actually about half that. Because that garbage is no longer going to be dumped at a cost of $30 per ton, they're saving themselves that $30 in addition to making $26. So eight years to pay for itself, but your comments on the longevity of the bins still stands.

        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by dhovis (303725)

          According to engadget [engadget.com] it's going to cost 2.5 million. At $26 per ton that's 96,153 tons of recyclables before the new bins are paid off.

          According to the article they picked up 5,800 tons of recyclables last year. Assuming that's the average for the recycling to pay off the new bins it's going to take 16 years.

          Actually, your numbers are off. The city gets paid $26/ton for recyclables, but if those same recyclables go to the landfill, it costs $30/ton. So the city nets $56/ton from recyclables.

          Also, I live in Cleveland. The recycling rate here is really pitiful. I think it is around 3% last I heard. Most of the city doesn't have curbside recycling pickup (aside from a few pilot areas). You have to haul your recyclables to a drop off. If this system gives us curbside pickup and some enforcement, it is easy to

  • by ibsteve2u (1184603) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @03:31PM (#33333730)
    I'm old enough to remember when people didn't litter like they do today...when graffiti was rare-to-unknown...when people took their trash out and brought in the empty barrels and containers promptly. When oversight is not required because people behave responsibly, there is no demand - no motivation - for more government oversight.

    We're trapped in a vicious circle, actually...the nation's leaders set horrible examples with their personal greed and self-centered behavior, the people follow their lead, to which the nation's leaders respond with laws designed to rectify everybody else's behavior. Heaven forbid that they just behave ethically and morally themselves and refuse to tolerate anything but the same from their peers.

    I.e., heaven forbid that our leaders lead.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      I'm old enough to remember when people didn't litter like they do today...when graffiti was rare-to-unknown...when people took their trash out and brought in the empty barrels and containers promptly.

      Puh-lese. Littering is MUCH less prevalent than it was 30 or 40 years ago. Remember the PSA they used to run on TV with the crying Indian? I do, and I remember how much worse the litter used to be back in those days.

      Don't get me wrong. There are still an awful lot of slobs out there who litter. But from what I see in the areas I travel the problem is better than in the "good old days."

  • by warren.oates (925589) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @03:34PM (#33333756)
    In the little town where I live, we pay $2 per bag of garbage picked up at the curb (kerb). Recycle is collected free. The more aggressively I recycle, the less I pay in "bag tags" to the slimy city council, who spend it on new pickup trucks for their greasy-haired hillbilly workers to drive around in all day just doing nothing at all ... oh, was I going on a bit? Anyway, we compost for the same reason -- it costs us less in garbage fees and also garners some nice greenie points and a pat on the back. Beer, liquor and wine containers all have refundable deposits where I live, so they don't go into the recycle anyway. If we could reduce the amount of bloody tim-horton cups littering the streets of Ontario, it would be a better place to live.
  • Deposit Scheme (Score:5, Interesting)

    by nbahi15 (163501) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @03:48PM (#33333890) Homepage

    Why is it we insist upon such complicated schemes for getting people to recycle? A good old fashion deposit scheme seems a much more effective alternative, although it does require something be done at the state or federal level, and a whole lot less intrusive. It works like this...

    Require any store that sell beverage containers to accept them in return for cash or credit.
    Require any large store that sells them provide automated reverse vending machines (Tomra) at the front of the store and they must pay out cash.
    Barcodes must be attached to the product and intact for there to be a refund.
    Raise the deposit on various items until you meet specific recycling rate targets.
    Make defrauding the machine a felony.

    This is hardly an original idea, but it works. You can easily achieve 80+% recycling rates for bottles and cans.

    Downside - the usual bitching from the usual people that either hate the idea that they might be helping out their fellow man or vested interests like bottlers that think it will impact sales.

    • Re:Deposit Scheme (Score:5, Interesting)

      by John Jorsett (171560) on Sunday August 22, 2010 @04:50PM (#33334404)
      Require any store that sell beverage containers to accept them in return for cash or credit. Require any large store that sells them provide automated reverse vending machines (Tomra) at the front of the store and they must pay out cash. Barcodes must be attached to the product and intact for there to be a refund. Raise the deposit on various items until you meet specific recycling rate targets. Make defrauding the machine a felony.

      California has a scheme much like this. Interestingly, there's a push on to raise the deposits, not because people aren't redeeming the items for the deposit, but because they are. Like any good kleptocracy, California spends whatever funds aren't nailed down (and some that are), and unredeemed deposits have been a cash cow for them. With the economic downturn the redemption rate went way up, so poof, there went all that unclaimed money. They want to jack the deposits higher so that the amount they used to get is restored. Of course, that'll encourage even greater redemptions so they'll have to raise it again ...

      By 2020, we'll probably be paying $10 deposits on cans of Coke.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by dlevitan (132062)

        Just please don't follow the CA scheme. In NY, where I lived before Los Angeles, every grocery store had a few machines and you could bring down the bag of bottles you had whenever you wanted to. There was never a line, and everything just worked.

        In CA, it's horrible. First, a lot more stuff has deposits on it. Second, most stores don't have any machines - they're only at special stores that have a separate booth on their property that handles recyclables (and not the ones I shop at for the most part). Ther

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by rolfwind (528248)

      Require any store that sell beverage containers to accept them in return for cash or credit.

      Most bottles in Germany are glass. Either way. Because of a 25 euro cent "pfand", most bottles get recycled. This pfand is charged on purchase and returned when you bring the empty bottles back in. Unlike the 5 cent "deposit" here, any store that sell the bottles must take them back and participate in the system, so there are no recycling centers to look for and drive to on the customer's end. Bottles are usually so

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by khallow (566160)

      Downside - the usual bitching from the usual people that either hate the idea that they might be helping out their fellow man or vested interests like bottlers that think it will impact sales.

      Why do you think recycling helps your fellow man? Let's look at it. Current schemes require people to sort their trash. That's using up everyone's time at home and at work. If you use up five minutes per person per week, that's still two full working weeks (83 hours of time per week) per thousand people. Further, recycling is generally a costly process with little benefit. Recycling aluminum cans are a clear profit, it takes a lot less energy to recycle an aluminum can than to make one from ore. Glass has s

  • by synaptik (125) * on Sunday August 22, 2010 @03:51PM (#33333914) Homepage

    Some here are old enough to remember getting paid by the pound for aluminum cans. But, now I find myself paying for the service of recycling my recyclables. Recyclable materials have economic value, do they not? And, I paid for them when I bought the original products that utilized them, did they not? And he who receives the recycled material from me will extract economic value from them, will he not? That seems like a case study of win-win&win economics&environmentalism.

    So how exactly did the get-paid-for-recycling model fail?

  • by supernova87a (532540) <kepler1@hotm a i l . c om> on Sunday August 22, 2010 @03:52PM (#33333918)
    What a great solution, and as always, fixing the wrong problem just because we have a technology to do it. We penalize people for having more than a certain fraction of recyclables in the trash, but do nothing about how much absolute amount of trash there is.

    Every kind of recycling incentive program we have is a bandaid to what is really needed -- the prices of things that reflect their true cost to society.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 22, 2010 @04:04PM (#33334020)

    IMHO it would be far more efficient to take care of the separation at the plant rather than at the house. There is a lot of waste that goes into:

    1) Cleaning
    2) Separating into bins
    3) Separate trash routes to pick it up
    4) storage and special handling of non-valuable recycling materials

    I went on a tour of a high tech landfill once, they basically stored the non-valuable materials (e.g. glass, plastics) and when the bins were full, it went in the landfill.

    There is no way they earn $26/ton for recyclables, unless they are getting it via grants, tax breaks, etc.. and other neat financial tricks to make you think they make money, when in actuality it is the tax base subsidizing the cost of the financial waste.

    If the cost of the process of gathering and recycling can't be self sustainable, you are lighting a stack of your own money on fire when you do recycle it.

    So, naysayers, instead of just telling me i'm wrong, show me the energy balance equation that proves me wrong. Because shredding and compacting
    trash has been and appears to still be the most efficient waste management solution.

  • by Charles Dodgeson (248492) <jeffrey@goldmark.org> on Sunday August 22, 2010 @04:07PM (#33334042) Homepage Journal
    ... garbage throws out you.
  • Trash Racket (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Joebert (946227) on Monday August 23, 2010 @01:22AM (#33337474) Homepage
    So Cleveland residents have to pay for trash collection in their water/sewage/etc bills every month, then, if they don't separate the items the trash collection company can get paid for instead of having to pay to dispose of, the residents get fined? Why doesn't the trash company just pay people to pull the recyclables out of the trash back at the base?
  • by Drakkenmensch (1255800) on Monday August 23, 2010 @08:35AM (#33339448)
    So what's stopping a person from just putting a glass jar or two into the near-empty recycling bin and putting it on the curb every week just so the city guys don't come inspecting his trash? Will there be a minimum quota to be respected? What if you don't generate ENOUGH recyclable trash, will you be considered a non-litterbug and fined for not respecting the consumerism laws?

Numeric stability is probably not all that important when you're guessing.

Working...