Many more thoughts on recycling…
Last Post cont.
I left off on my last post about how California had the best recycling habits in the US because they don’t even make you sort. Just want to elaborate on that…
From the economist.
San Francisco, which changed from multi to single-stream collection a few years ago, now boasts a recycling rate of 69%—one of the highest in America. With the exception of garden and food waste, all the city’s kerbside recyclables are sorted in a 200,000-square-foot facility that combines machines with the manpower of 155 employees. The $38m plant, next to the San Francisco Bay, opened in 2003. Operated by Norcal Waste Systems, it processes an average of 750 tons of paper, plastic, glass and metals a day.
The only thing I didn’t get was that it was all man powered sorting, and then I continued reading:
Although all recycling facilities still employ people, investment is increasing in optical sorting technologies that can separate different types of paper and plastic. Development of the first near-infra-red-based waste-sorting systems began in the early 1990s. At the time Elopak, a Norwegian producer of drink cartons made of plastic-laminated cardboard, worried that it would have to pay a considerable fee to meet its producer responsibilities in Germany and other European countries. To reduce the overall life-cycle costs associated with its products, Elopak set out to find a way to automate the sorting of its cartons. The company teamed up with SINTEF, a Norwegian research centre, and in 1996 sold its first unit in Germany. The technology was later spu off into a company now called TiTech.
The article has a lot more good info. If interested, it’s a good read. Makes me think that our VC money should be going into things like this which would actually benefit everyone and I’m sure it would produce a lovely return. (don’t ask me to elaborate on that…I’m just an optomist:)
So now we know that the technology is there to improve our recycling habits and we know that Ottawa wants to improve its ranking. (Rethinking Garbage is a City of Ottawa task force committed to increasing our % diverted from landfills to 40% by this year.)
Start moving Ottawa!
I’m on a roll…. so I will continue.
Composting. (Something my family couldn’t do while growing up because I lived in the country and we’d attract bears everytime we started one)
Anyways, I always knew that composting was good for the garden but I never thought of it on a mass scale. Now that people are listening, the media’s talking about another huge issue, besides global warming. We’re running out of topsoil.
Reading a book right now and one part explains the importance of soil in our lives and how fast it’s going away from us…
According to Nobel Prize winner Henry Kendall and population biologist David Pimentel, modern farming methods now deplete topsoil 16-300 (big gap?) times faster than it can be replaced. Worldwide soil erosion has caused farmers to abandon about 430 million hectares of arable land during the last 40 years, an area equivalent to about one-third of all present cropland.
It takes an average of 500 years to build 2.5 centimetres of topsoil. today, Pimentel says, the glboal loss of topsoil exceeds new soil production by 23 billion tonnes a year, which is 0.7 percent of world’s soil.
My idea? (Really can’t take the idea because the city will be doing it soon) – use the art of collaboration for organic waste. Don’t have a garden? Live in an apartment? Who cares! I want your egg shells and old lettuce:) It just doesn’t seem right that we’re running out of topsoil and the organic material that we need is being thrown in the dump (along with our recyclables and timmy’s cups;)
Wow, for any new readers you might be thinking that I’m a hippy, vegan, granola kid etc. Sometimes I am…(not a vegan though, love medium rare steaks) but promise, next post will be about Facebook or something;)