Monday, December 29, 2008

Reduce, Reuse, Re-huh?

So, one of the topics, or shall I say, excuses, that frequently comes up when discussing recycling is that it takes the same amount of energy to recycle as it does to produce a new item. I find this to be an easy justification to toss that white zin bottle straight into the trash bin. Well, it turns out that it actually does not take as much energy to recycle as new production. In fact, by just recycling aluminum alone we can save up to 95% of the energy that it takes to produce new aluminum. That zin bottle, however, does not have quite the same status at only a 40% energy savings, but still a considerable reduction, nonetheless. Given that it can take one million years for a glass bottle to breakdown seems like a reasonable excuse to aim for the recycle bin rather than the trash. Besides, consider your recycling endeavor as justification for indulging in post-consumer glass delights such as Green Glass Products or the beautifully handmade creations by Kathleen Plate at Uncommon Goods. We can all wish away the numbers as we cram our waste bins so full that they are literally bursting at the lid, but the facts are the facts. There simply is no justification for not taking a bit of effort to recycle. Now, reducing and reusing are entirely separate topics best left for another rant. So head off and enjoy that pink wine of yours, but be sure to think a million years down the road before carelessly choosing the wrong bin.

"Listen up, you couch potatoes; each recycled beer can saves enough electricity to run a television for three hours." - Denis Hayes

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