Up to our eyeballs in recycling? (31 May, 2018)

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Up to our eyeballs in recycling? (31 May, 2018)

Postby aardvark_admin » Thu May 31, 2018 9:50 am

This column is archived at: https://aardvark.co.nz/daily/2018/0531.shtml

China doesn't want our (or anyone's) low-grade plastic waste any longer.

That means the world has a problem.

So why aren't we "innovative" Kiwis working on a solution that would produce a two-fold benefit to:

a) recycle our own waste
b) license to other countries to do the same

Surely a $1m challenge offered by government would create a lot of activity and perhaps come up with a world-leading way to turn this waste into treasure.

Hell, we could even turn old yogurt containers into essential components for our indigenous EV industry -- couldn't we?

Or am I just too much of an optimist?

What do you think we should do with our low-grade plastic waste?

1. toss it in the landfill
2. just keep growing the stockpiles of the stuff
3. use it for fuel in thermal power stations
4. ban the packaging that creates it in the first place

Over to you...
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Re: Up to our eyeballs in recycling? (31 May, 2018)

Postby hagfish » Thu May 31, 2018 10:28 am

I think 'plastic' is going to be the new 'asbestos'. The generations that follow us will be as grateful for all the plastic in their environment as I am grateful for all the lead. If some bright spark can come up with a biodegradable, impermeable polymer, they'll have the world beating a path to their door. If it's made from something like sugar and CO2, it could be sustainable, cheap, AND solve the waste problem.

Our family's excuse is 'the kids'. All those milk bottles and plastic/foil wrappers... If it were just me-and-her, we'd buy rice and beans by the sack, veggies at the market, and meat from the butcher.

Meanwhile, intrepid friends of mine are reaching the end of their Month Without Plastic. They've had a hell of a time :)
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Re: Up to our eyeballs in recycling? (31 May, 2018)

Postby phord » Thu May 31, 2018 11:18 am

The local & central gummits make out they are environmental by diverting waste away from landfill.

Real reason is that land prices are so high now that they won't buy any more for landfill.

Only 1.9 percent of NZ is urban.

NZ has a huge supply of land suitable for landfill.
Compare to the British Isles with same land area as NZ but with a population of 71 million.
They cleary need to recycle.

It's actually better for the environment in NZ's case, to dump recyclables because it doesn't use up resources & energy to convert it.
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Re: Up to our eyeballs in recycling? (31 May, 2018)

Postby phill » Thu May 31, 2018 11:20 am

the problems are mostly caused ( believe it or not ) by the marketing department !
in an engineers world .....
containers ( by basic calculus and logic ) would be dimensioned 1/1 or 2/1 if open ( lidded )
would be made from either the hd/md/ld pe or pet lines of plastics .. pp for most construction outdoors
with only one or two colours plus clear

its not so much the amount used as the amount wasted that adds huge insult to the problem
those beautiful ~200mm high containers that hold 200-250mls are probably using twice the amount of plastic a 1/1 or 2/1 container needs
added to because they are so high they need thicker walls to help the top load specs for transport without crushing .. they can be slightly bettered by profiling thicker sides and thinner fronts / backs but still use unneeded resources .. just for looks

there needs to be shredders at all collection points ( washing chipped plastic is much less intensive than trying to clean bottles and it takes up way less space )

for washing chips the water in oxidation ponds is perfect as its already full of shit and as the plastic gets cleaner so does the wash from the treatment stage ( start with shitty progress to treated ) saves water waste as well

the plastic then released can be used for heaps of things
boats, cabs, car bodies .. even if none is reused in the food container area chemicals, beauty products and cleaning stuff are no problem areas to reuse

plastic .. atm .. is a valuable product created from a finite resource ... and while some things are best composted .. plastic is far to useful to do that with

i have for years ( decades ) refused plastic bags at all shops ... if im in a shitty and they dont even bother to look at me when they grab the bag and fill it .. i politely wait till they finish before i tell them ... we dont need em .. if im capable of sewing up a few strong light bags for loose veggies etc and other heavier bags for general stuff pretty much anyone can

most product is originally filled into 44gal drums .. i would be more than happy to refill my requirements if the option was available
and having read some generic products formulae books i can say apart from the odd avocado skin and aloevera stem most products in the same line are pretty much exactly the same with only the % of water, fillers and thickeners varying very much
Last edited by phill on Thu May 31, 2018 2:10 pm, edited 1 time in total.
( ,,,,,,,, ....... A E I O U use em sparingly theres probably not enough )
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Re: Up to our eyeballs in recycling? (31 May, 2018)

Postby hagfish » Thu May 31, 2018 11:51 am

When I were a lad, my primary school had a large incinerator that burned all the school's waste. For the most part, it was paper bags, greaseproof sandwich wrap, the odd crust, and apple cores. It all went up in a merry plume of smoke, shortly after lunch. Then plastic came along...

These days, the kids' schools don't even have rubbish bins - all scraps and waste come home again. 'Problem solved' from the schools' perspective (and not a bad way of doing it), but it does rub our noses in how much packaging we send along each day.
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Re: Up to our eyeballs in recycling? (31 May, 2018)

Postby Stevesub » Thu May 31, 2018 1:01 pm

In the Far North, you have to pay an extra $52 per year to recycle and are given a new different coloured tiny bin each year. We just recycle when we are going past the tip/recycling centre for free or put our recycling in the rubbish, yes I know that this is not PC but I am not paying extra for the limited time we are there like 5 months max of the year. In OZ, our recycling bin is always full but there is some concern as to where it is ending up. The extra large wheelie bin is included in our rates.
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