Residents need to keep eyes on recycling cities
With all due respect to reporter Dave Hughes, how do we know if Fort Smith now has a recycling program? People thought they were recycling before when all they were doing was pulling a cart to the curb. Just because you put a cart on the curb does not mean the contents will be recycled, made into a new item.
Elected officials all across this country need to make unannounced visits to their local recycling facilities and see what is being dumped from the recycle trucks. Do you think if Fort Smith had been providing Green Source Recycling, its recycling contractor, with clean, sorted recyclables, the city would have been turned away?
Single stream is a mess. It was initiated by the garbage hauling industry, an industry whose bottom line depends on our continual over-consumption. Cities and nonprofits jumped on board because “everyone else was doing it.”
Single stream has become a costly recycling method, Aaron C. Davis reports in the Washington Post. “By pushing to increase recycling rates with bigger and bigger bins — while demanding almost no sorting by consumers — the recycling stream has become increasingly polluted and less valuable, imperiling the economics of the whole system,” he wrote in 2015.
Since single stream is wreaking economic havoc, I asked some end-users/re-manufacturers (companies making new products from collected recyclables) why they don’t speak up against single stream. One end-user said they feared their commodity being pulled from curbside programs since the garbage haulers now control most recycling programs.
The glass industry did speak up, and guess which commodity has been pulled from programs around the country. I asked an end-user in the paper business what they thought would happen because of the single-stream mess. He predicted more trees would be cut and the public would never know, since there is so little accountability/transparency in recycling.
When Fayetteville ran their single-stream pilot, I was not allowed to view the plastics collected. Ask your alderman to confirm or deny whether there were rats jumping out of the truck used to collect the recyclables in the single-stream pilot.
If you do a few Google searches, you’ll understand why I ask if the following describes recycling in the future?
1. Glass will be used as daily landfill cover by the very entities who lead paying customers to think it is being recycled.
2. Plastic and paper will be burned up in a waste-to-energy plant by the very entities who lead paying customers to think it is being recycled.
3. Cardboard will be the only commodity kept separate and clean, due to the high demand for it from increasing online sales.
4. Landfills (filled with garbage and recyclables) will become power generators via methane collection, unbeknownst to citizens who think they are paying for recycling.