Sunday, September 9, 2007

Puzzlement about recycling

I wonder how far recycling technology has come in the last few years. There are things I've seen in the past year that puzzle me -- leading me to wonder about how effective recycling is in our communities

  • Are more types of plastics recyclable? I've heard that some plastic bags are recyclable - should they be in the recycling bins, or do they just decompose?
  • Some communities require recycling but not trash separation. For example, Mill Valley in Marin County (SF Bay Area). How do they automatically separate paper from aluminium from steel cans?
  • How environmentally cost-effective is paper (bag/cup) compared to plastic/styrofoam? Has anyone crunched the number to compare the total cost ($ and eco-wise)?
  • How does one know that corporate janitors are actually separating the trash that we have separated into different containers? E.g. at Goldman Sachs NY where I used to work, we used to put the paper into separate bins but the janitors simply dumped them into the regular trash bins, because the company does not pay for the cleaning service to recycle. In my current job, the janitor takes the cans home and get cash credit for it (applaud) -- and that's probably because the building management again does not pay for recycling...
  • Can glossy paper be recycled?

What other questions do you have about recycling?

PS: I wrote this post for Typepad a while ago, and have since found more answers. Stay tuned for some answers.

-Marn Yee

1 comment:

rachael said...

My next car is definitely a hybrid too!
Although I use public transportation most of the time, I like the idea of supporting green vehicles and reducing dependency on oil.