Wasteful Recycling (2)

A Consumer’s Guide To Environmental Myths and Realities,” by Lynn Scarlett, Reason Foundation Policy Report No. 165, http://www.ncpa.org/studies/s165/s165.html, September 1991.

I like the Cato Institute’s variety of informed dissertion,” by “Aaron,” tdaxp, http://www.tdaxp.com/archive/2004/12/19/wasteful_recycling.html, 20 December 2004.

Aaron is skeptical of Cato’s rhetoric

I like the Cato Institute’s variety of informed dissertation. Watch as I mimic it.

Here’s a good example, then my own will follow:
“Moreover, making recyclables generates waste. For instance, producing paperboard burger containers yields more air and water pollution and consumes more energy than does manufacturing polystyrene clamshells. It takes more water to recycle newsprint than to make it afresh.”

Now me:

Business investment actually shrinks the economy. For every dollar thrown into a corporation’s treasury, it’s just another dollar blown. Giving a corporation money in exchange for limited ownership only weakens the earning potential of the company.

See what I’ve done here? I’ve just said things, matter of factly. It’s like citing research, but without the messy hyperlinks or names and dates

The Reason Foundation has churned out a large of number of policy papers, each assiduously footnoted. Aaron’s skepticism seems foused on food package materials, and these are addressed. (The original footnote numbers are included, and in the original article they are hyperlinked as well):

On packaging in general:

* Packaging represents from 30 to 40 percent of the solid waste disposal in the United States, but only 20 percent in Mexico.
* Yet despite the fact that Americans throw away more packages, the average Mexican household throws away three times more food debris.26
* As a result, the average Mexican household throws away 40 percent more total refuse than the average U.S. household – an amount equal to 1.6 pounds per household each day.
* To put this number into perspective, if Phoenix, Arizona, disposed of as much trash per household as Mexico City does, city sanitation crews would have to collect, haul and bury 80 more tons of household garbage each workday.

On fast food packaging:

Several cities, including Portland, Oregon, and Newark, New Jersey, have essentially banned polystyrene food packages – used until last year, for example, to hold McDonald’s hamburgers. Yet studies indicate that fast-food plastic packaging is not the &quotvillain” some of its critics have claimed. Indeed, such packaging may actually conserve resources relative to the standard alternatives. Franklin Associates performed a life-cycle study of a set of paper and plastic fast-food products, looking at energy use, air and water emissions and solid waste. Comparing the foam polystyrene &quotclamshell” hamburger container with a coated, bleached paperboard alternative, the study found that:44

* Although the paperboard contributes 29 percent less solid waste by volume than polystyrene clamshells, the clamshells require 30 percent less energy to produce.
* The production of the clamshell results in 46 percent less air pollution and 42 percent less water pollution.

Many of the same comparisons apply to the debate over polystyrene cups versus paper cups. For example, a study published in Science argued that:45

* The average 10-gram paper cup consumes 33 grams of wood and uses 28 percent more petroleum in its manufacture than the entire input in a polystyrene cup.
&quotPolystyrene requires less energy and leads to less air and water pollution than many paper alternatives.”
* The paper cup requires 36 times as much chemical input as the polystyrene cup, partly because it weighs seven times as much.
* It takes about 12 times as much steam, 36 times as much electricity and twice as much cooling water to make the paper cup.
* About 580 times as much waste water, 10 to 100 times the residual effluents of pollutants and three times the air emission pollutants are produced in making the paper cup.

In addition to all that, paper cups cost the consumer about two-and-one-half times as much as polystyrene cups. And polystyrene is completely recyclable, which isn’t always true of the paper used in cups.

The oppontents of freedom are motivated by religious zeal. Whether John Ashcroft, Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, or Greenpeace, the hate your freedoms. They hate you are tempted by an easy life. And while they fight amongst themselves, they are organized.

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