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Author Topic: The Story of Stuff - Cosmetics, Bottled Water...  (Read 6471 times)

Renegade

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The Story of Stuff - Cosmetics, Bottled Water...
« on: September 16, 2010, 02:53:07 AM »
STOP whatever you're doing now and relax a bit with an amazingly entertaining and very educational little video:

THE STORY OF STUFF: BOTTLED WATER

There are more there.

Really -- great stuff!

The cosmetics one is excellent. I've already switched to minimizing the number of toxic products I use. My toothpaste can be eaten. Yes. Unlike other toothpastes that recommend you go to a poison control center (hospital), I can eat my toothpaste. And it's nutritious and good for you!

Cap & Trade - Again, excellent.

It's all done extremely well. (Even if it uses Flash. :) )

...

Now, back to my cynical, ranting self... :)

That kind of stuff is why I simply refuse to give a s**t about anything anymore. There is no hope...

I refuse to put in any more than the absolute minimum amount of effort to recycle. It's moronic. Most materials end up in dumps anyways. Most "recyclables" cost MORE energy to recycle than they save. The ONLY exception is tin cans (metal in general). I'll recycle if it takes zero effort on my part, or if it is actually more convenient to do so, but I'm NOT going to turn my brain off and follow a mindless crowd.

The 3 R's are:

REDUCE
Reuse
recycle

They're in that order for a reason. I'll do the first 2, but not the 3rd.

And... More ranting...

I'm SICK of being preached at by a bunch of hypocrites. Don't want the sermon. Don't need the sermon. No longer care.

Then again, I just have general problems with being told what to do by fools. I have no problems taking advice/orders/whatever from people that truly know what they are talking about AND have the right motivations (a rare combination).
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

nudone

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Re: The Story of Stuff - Cosmetics, Bottled Water...
« Reply #1 on: September 17, 2010, 05:33:03 AM »
i agree.

tomos

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Re: The Story of Stuff - Cosmetics, Bottled Water...
« Reply #2 on: September 17, 2010, 07:23:20 AM »
Great videos thanks!

> Most "recyclables" cost MORE energy to recycle than they save.
I'm curious about that - it's often said but I'd like to see 'proof'

Plastic bottles now have a 25c deposit on them here - I wonder what happens to them when you bring them back...

> That kind of stuff is why I simply refuse to give a s**t about anything anymore. There is no hope...
Your choice. I disagree :p :-)

There is a huge apathy about recycling in general I find - and I'm not talking about informed apathy, although I suppose this kind of info does filter down.
For example it's not that difficult to separate food stuff for the compost bin (if you have one). I'm shocked though when I see what people actually put in there - high salt/ cooked or processed foods/ etc. etc. etc. You may as well not bother really cause you're just wrecking the compost and wrecking other peoples efforts.
This in the (supposed) land of recycling (Germany).
Ironically, although germany 'recycles' the most, they are also (I've read) the biggest producers of rubbish in Europe. I reckon that's why they had to start recycling in the first place ;)

Is there not a problem with where landfills go in the states? Maybe because it's so big there's lots of space for landfills? Location of new landfills was a major problem in Ireland over the last while. The population is well spread out in the countryside & no one wants a landfill in their backyard...
Tom

Renegade

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Re: The Story of Stuff - Cosmetics, Bottled Water...
« Reply #3 on: September 17, 2010, 09:11:11 AM »
Great videos thanks!

> Most "recyclables" cost MORE energy to recycle than they save.
I'm curious about that - it's often said but I'd like to see 'proof'

Plastic bottles now have a 25c deposit on them here - I wonder what happens to them when you bring them back...

> That kind of stuff is why I simply refuse to give a s**t about anything anymore. There is no hope...
Your choice. I disagree :p :-)

There is a huge apathy about recycling in general I find - and I'm not talking about informed apathy, although I suppose this kind of info does filter down.
For example it's not that difficult to separate food stuff for the compost bin (if you have one). I'm shocked though when I see what people actually put in there - high salt/ cooked or processed foods/ etc. etc. etc. You may as well not bother really cause you're just wrecking the compost and wrecking other peoples efforts.
This in the (supposed) land of recycling (Germany).
Ironically, although germany 'recycles' the most, they are also (I've read) the biggest producers of rubbish in Europe. I reckon that's why they had to start recycling in the first place ;)

Is there not a problem with where landfills go in the states? Maybe because it's so big there's lots of space for landfills? Location of new landfills was a major problem in Ireland over the last while. The population is well spread out in the countryside & no one wants a landfill in their backyard...

My opposition to recycling is the massive push on it while at the same time there's an even bigger push to consume MORE instead of reduce. The bottled water video points that out nicely.

It's just a sanity-check thing for me. Preaching to me about saving the environment out of one side of the mouth and screaming at people to destroy it with the other just doesn't sit well with me. Being the stubborn twit that I am, I am compelled to spew my cynical venom.

I am reducing where possible. But I'm not going to feel guilty for a broken system that I didn't create.

That being said, I do not have the best attitude. Just because there's a huge amount of hypocrisy doesn't mean that I should not try to be part of the band-aid solution on the cancer. Something is better than nothing. Sigh... No hope...

For proof, I've seen documentaries. It's out there somewhere.

But the videos are really well done! I wish them the best and all the success in the world. It would be a better place.
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

tomos

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Re: The Story of Stuff - Cosmetics, Bottled Water...
« Reply #4 on: September 17, 2010, 09:20:21 AM »
But the videos are really well done! I wish them the best and all the success in the world. It would be a better place.

Absolutely.

And I take your points - I didnt mean to give you a hard time btw Renegade (well not too hard a time anyways). Was just writing my rambling thoughts, etc. and I was complaining more about uninformed apathy as opposed to informed, eh... what shall we call it - disgust with the system - I guess covers it...
Tom

steeladept

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Re: The Story of Stuff - Cosmetics, Bottled Water...
« Reply #5 on: September 17, 2010, 09:44:46 AM »
I love this and Renegade pointed out my thoughts perfectly!  I tried composting once, got a desist letter from the township because it was bothering the neighbors.  Couldn't have been that bad, I didn't even notice a smell myself.  There are ways to correct it if you recognize an odor but they didn't care.  They instead want me to buy recycling bags for $5 each so they can pick it up and compost it to sell back to me.  And, of course, they charge me for the pickup as well!  Something like $100/week additional to do it the way they wanted me to instead of free the way I wanted to.  Screw them.

Ever since then, I gave up on anything not expressly regulated by law for me to do in this regard.  Each time I try, I get punished for it.

tomos

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Re: The Story of Stuff - Cosmetics, Bottled Water...
« Reply #6 on: September 17, 2010, 09:54:29 AM »
Here,
you pay for a bin for the rubbish and you are then given two 'free' bins - one for paper and one for compost. I have no idea what's done with all that compost but at least it doesnt matter so much as the other stuff...
Tom

Shades

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Re: The Story of Stuff - Cosmetics, Bottled Water...
« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2010, 07:50:48 PM »
If you care so much about the environment and/or want a critical look about our society and the way we as a race do things...you should check this site (lowtechmagazine.com)

There are really some pearls of knowledge/realizations to be found over there, because of all the research this guy puts into his articles.

JavaJones

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Re: The Story of Stuff - Cosmetics, Bottled Water...
« Reply #8 on: November 15, 2010, 02:55:40 AM »
Wikipedia has some coverage of the cost/benefit analysis that is somewhat interesting (though obviously far from comprehensive):
http://en.wikipedia....ost-benefit_analysis
Here's a decent quote:
Economist Steven Landsburg has suggested that the sole benefit of reducing landfill space is trumped by the energy needed and resulting pollution from the recycling process.[27] Others, however, have calculated through life cycle assessment that producing recycled paper uses less energy and water than harvesting, pulping, processing, and transporting virgin trees.[28] When less recycled paper is used, additional energy is needed to create and maintain farmed forests until these forests are as self-sustainable as virgin forests.

Other studies have shown that recycling in itself is inefficient to perform the “decoupling” of economic development from the depletion of non-renewable raw materials that is necessary for sustainable development.[29] When global consumption of a natural resource grows by more than 1% per annum, its depletion is inevitable, and the best recycling can do is to delay it by a number of years. Nevertheless, if this decoupling can be achieved by other means, so that consumption of the resource is reduced below 1% per annum, then recycling becomes indispensable – indeed recycling rates above 80% are required for a significant slowdown of the resource depletion."

Some more interesting info (more on the pro-recycling front):
http://www.oberlin.e...u/recycle/facts.html

More:
http://environment.a.../benefit_vs_cost.htm

And a list of some opposing views (as in on both sides of the argument):
http://en.wikipedia...._Opposing_Viewpoints

Overall it looks like, if done right, recycling is generally a net win, especially if you account for all factors (within reason), including the pace of landfill use and the availability (or lack thereof) of space for new landfills.

I think the "recycling does more harm than good" is one of those deliciously counter-progressive memes that took hold based on a few factors, one being that yes the initial recycling efforts were less efficient than would be ideal, but another perhaps stronger factor being that it's simply convenient to believe that recycling isn't that effective and it's being foisted on us by "the man". Because hey, who wants to recycle anyway? It's a pain in the butt. Unfortunately, like everything in this world, the recycling efforts are ultimately only as good as the corporate contractor you have doing the work, and most local governments lack the ability - or at least the will to enforce - strict oversight necessary to ensure best practices and maximal effectiveness.

Ultimately Renegade is right that a fundamental shift in culture and perspective, away from consumerism, is necessary. Unfortunately American culture and economy and industry are deeply rooted in the practice of mass consumption and disposability. It will take a sea change to move beyond that...

None of this means it's not worth doing the right thing, doing your part, trying to make a difference!

- Oshyan

tomos

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Re: The Story of Stuff - Cosmetics, Bottled Water...
« Reply #9 on: November 15, 2010, 07:18:31 AM »
None of this means it's not worth doing the right thing, doing your part, trying to make a difference!

- Oshyan

some interesting reading there, thanks
Tom

Stoic Joker

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Re: The Story of Stuff - Cosmetics, Bottled Water...
« Reply #10 on: November 15, 2010, 11:57:24 AM »
None of this means it's not worth doing the right thing, doing your part, trying to make a difference!

Therein lying the rub (for me anyway). Why does recycling have to be such a yuppie social fashion nightmare requiring people futz with 5+ different "trash" containers? If "they" really want people to do it (automate it) don't make them do it.

I wish I could remember where I saw it (History/Discovery/TLC/*Shrug*), but there was a show about a company that took plain old trash (Just like folks been throwing out since the beginning of time) and ran it through a sorting facility that separated metal from glass, paper, rubber, etc. automatically. Now that to me sounds like a simple, economical and complete solution - Sending 5 different trucks to pickup one pile of trash is just dumb.

tomos

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Re: The Story of Stuff - Cosmetics, Bottled Water...
« Reply #11 on: November 15, 2010, 01:34:17 PM »
hmmm,
there really is an image problem with being environmentally friendly lol
- unfortunately

ran it through a sorting facility that separated metal from glass, paper, rubber, etc. automatically. Now that to me sounds like a simple, economical and complete solution
-
I read an article nearly 10 years ago now about somewhere in germany that was trialling a similar setup. Nothing seems to have come of it - and I now live there, and it's still done (in this Bundesland at any rate) the way you describe, well with 'only' 4 different trucks :)
OTOH at least one of JavaJones's links says that, with most things, it still works out cheaper to recycle.
Tom

Renegade

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Re: The Story of Stuff - Cosmetics, Bottled Water...
« Reply #12 on: November 15, 2010, 01:35:24 PM »
Wikipedia has some coverage of the cost/benefit analysis that is somewhat interesting (though obviously far from comprehensive):
http://en.wikipedia....ost-benefit_analysis
...

Hmmm...

I was just thinking. If it really costs so much less, then why aren't there "mining" companies that are mining garbage dumps? It MUST be more profitable to pull out metal from there rather than from tonnes of ore.

I don't mean that to be cynical or doubtful. I really wonder why.
Slow Down Music - Where I commit thought crimes...

Freedom is the right to be wrong, not the right to do wrong. - John Diefenbaker

tomos

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Re: The Story of Stuff - Cosmetics, Bottled Water...
« Reply #13 on: November 15, 2010, 02:32:50 PM »
I was just thinking. If it really costs so much less, then why aren't there "mining" companies that are mining garbage dumps? It MUST be more profitable to pull out metal from there rather than from tonnes of ore.

Well, there's still a good few people going around here collecting scrap metal. I presume it has to be worthwhile otherwise they wouldnt be doing it... (who'd want to mine a landfill? apart from possible health dangers it wouldnt be very attractive work conditions)
Tom

Stoic Joker

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Re: The Story of Stuff - Cosmetics, Bottled Water...
« Reply #14 on: November 15, 2010, 02:58:17 PM »
Hmmm...

I was just thinking. If it really costs so much less, then why aren't there "mining" companies that are mining garbage dumps? It MUST be more profitable to pull out metal from there rather than from tonnes of ore.

I don't mean that to be cynical or doubtful. I really wonder why.

I have indeed pondered that one myself many times. Paper, glass and metal can't be that hard to sort out.

Ferrous metals are obvious (magnet)
Paper will float (for the most part), and glass won't
Now separate the glass from the non-ferrous metals.

JavaJones

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Re: The Story of Stuff - Cosmetics, Bottled Water...
« Reply #15 on: November 16, 2010, 03:32:53 AM »
If you can find an economically viable way to auto-sort trash I reckon you've got a nice little startup business on your hands! :D

- Oshyan

4wd

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Re: The Story of Stuff - Cosmetics, Bottled Water...
« Reply #16 on: November 16, 2010, 07:06:05 AM »
We already have a reasonably efficient recycling service in place here, (Yarra Ranges, Victoria, Australia) - throw any paper, cardboard, cans, glass and recyclable plastic in the recycling bin and it's sorted at the depot, (mostly automatically - coloured glass is hand sorted).  The whole recycling centre is in a large warehouse probably 60m x 30m x 12m, (WxDxH) - including where they dump the recyclables.  The only plastic not recycled is plastic bags.
The recyclables are loaded onto a conveyor by a frontend loader, fans separate the paper and cardboard out, magnets pull out the steel cans/tops, electro-magnets kick aluminium cans/tops off the belt (induced currents), glass is hand picked off and tossed into appropriate bin (clear/brown/green) and what's left is generally plastic.

The local tip allows free dumping of recyclable material into specific areas so you can drop off any steel, fridges, washing machines and other defunct white goods for free, used oil can be left also for recycling for free.

In my area we get two bins: non-recyclable rubbish and recyclables, (no green waste bin because in my area burning off is still allowed - bushfire danger area, so fuel reduction is allowed).
Pickup is with just two trucks: rubbish and recyclables.

In other areas, they get a green waste bin for organic waste - no burning of rubbish anywhere in the metro area.

In Devon, UK, where I've spent a bit of time, (18 months), I really can't understand what cretin designed their recycling collection - you get:
1 (small) bin for Glass jars or bottles, cans (Al/Steel), cloth, plastic (but only plastic milk or soft drink bottles!) and paper, (I think but no cardboard).
1 (smaller) bin for organic kitchen scraps (introduced this year).
1 (large) bin for non-recyclable rubbish.
The recycling truck has a bloke in the back hand sorting the contents of the bins collected by the two outrunners.

All other recyclables have to be carted by you to the various points in the county:
1) Paper or glass to the local supermarket where they usually have large bins - you have to sort the coloured glass yourself.
2) All other plastic (and possibly oils) have to be carted miles away to the local recycling "centre" which is nothing more than another load of bins being watched over by council workers to make sure you sneak nothing into the wrong bin.

And there was talk of even more bins being introduced for householders to better sort the stuff themselves - considering a good portion of people in the UK live in flats/terrace houses with no front yards or anywhere to really store these bins....well....it seems to me to be the height of inefficiency on the part of the council.  (There was talk in some local papers about the possibility of residents having to cope with 5-9 bins.)

PS. Sorry if you live in the UK but honestly, your rubbish/recyclable collection system just seems to be backwards to me.
« Last Edit: November 16, 2010, 07:15:22 AM by 4wd »

cmpm

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Re: The Story of Stuff - Cosmetics, Bottled Water...
« Reply #17 on: November 16, 2010, 07:37:23 AM »
With all the colleges and universities we have, I've often wondered why they have not applied their minds and resources to find answers to the trash/garbage problem.

It's almost like the oil business here in the US. Big money involved in trash collection...

JavaJones

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Re: The Story of Stuff - Cosmetics, Bottled Water...
« Reply #18 on: November 19, 2010, 01:04:04 AM »
4wd, our system is similar - 2 bins (actually 3, one for compost/yard waste). So yes we can auto-sort recyclables. But they want containers to be more or less clean, for example. Gunk, rotting stuff, etc. is the kind of thing harder to deal with for sorters and why regular trash is a lot harder to sort (note in my original reply I said "auto-sort trash", not "auto-sort recycling" - I know *that* can be done). Trash has all kinds of bad stuff in it that can mess up sorting systems/machines, so it's a much harder problem than just general recycling.

A while back there were claims that thermal depolymerization would be a "cure all" for this sort of thing, but it appears to be focused on meat processing waste at present, suggesting that notions of handling generalized trash, including metals, were a bit unrealistic.

- Oshyan

4wd

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Re: The Story of Stuff - Cosmetics, Bottled Water...
« Reply #19 on: November 19, 2010, 09:05:46 PM »
(note in my original reply I said "auto-sort trash", not "auto-sort recycling" - I know *that* can be done).

Sorry, I missed the distinction.   :-[