Bad Tech

Recycling is Bullshit


The Bear was so fucking proud of the “campaign” she created for her 6th grade class using “Recycle Michael,” a tin-man like character made from “recyclables.”

She knew everything about every kind of plastic, cardboard and paper that can go in the big blue bin. Her kids did too.

“Put that pizza box in the trash,” she barked at me the other day.  “The cheese and grease can’t be recycled.”

I don’t have the heart to tell her that recycling is bullshit. It doesn’t matter where I put the pizza box — it will end up in the same place.

Recycling has always been a big PR stunt. For a while, we covered it up by putting our shit on a slow boat to China.

But in the past few years, even the Chinese can’t figure out how to sort the trash from the treasure.

No matter how low wages go, sorting shit costs more than it’s worth.  The cheapest place to sort — is at the source — the home or office. But people are too fucking lazy and stupid to sort plastics and glass from paper clips, used coffee grounds and old paint cans.

More details here:

So what happens to all that stuff — even when we carefully clean and sort to “recycle?”  It does not pass Go, it does not collect $200 — it goes straight to the dump.


Image stolen from here:

It costs more to clean it than make it.  Recycling often takes a lot more energy or fresh water than manufacturing, so even the “environmentalists” don’t complain (too much — the little whinny bitches).

Fucking fracking has driven down all the costs of oil and materials so bubble wrapping everything in new plastic is sometimes the least expensive way to go.

Or you could be like Coke and create new plastic bottles for the soda and then sell the used plastic to new lines of your own business that market themselves as “eco-friendly.”  Win-win for Coke — tons of additional plastic for the Pacific Ocean.  (Glass is the way to go people.)

Sicilian Winner

I’ve only heard one story of someone making a profit from recycling — or should I say profiteer.  He was a Sicilian named Serpico (I shit you not) who ran a car salvage yard in Brooklyn in the 70’s and 80’s.

Remember those American piece of shit cars that nobody wanted to buy because they fell apart in 3 years.  Chrysler’s K-car tag line was “Buy a car. Get a check.” They couldn’t give them away.

Those cars had catalytic converters so they could burn “unleaded gasoline” and collect the pollutants coming out of the tailpipe.   Lead poisoning levels fell, and the air did get a little cleaner.

When the cars rusted or the engines fell out or the wheels fell off (somewhere before 60,000 miles — the little pieces of shit) the junk yard would give people $50 or a $100 in “scrap.”

But the catalytic converters had platnium and other precious metals that were worth $1000, $2000 or $5000 or more – depending on the price of platnium that day.  There was literally gold in ‘dem ‘dare Piece-of-Shit Pontiacs.

You better believe every one of those converters got “recycled.”  The rest of the cars went to the dump (to leak oil and gas into our ground water).  The junk man got rich.  Never look down on a man in dirty overalls — he probably has more cash in his desk drawer than you will make in 10 years at “the office”.

The Rest Lose

But lots of people in the recycle business have been losing their shirts — especially cities that invested heavily in recycle plants.

My home town (Akron, Ohio) built a recycling “incinerator” in the 1980’s.  We were going to burn shit to produce steam and heat the entire downtown and university.  What a fucking great idea!  Till the incinerator exploded 13 times and killed a bunch of people.  Who knew people threw away gas cans, used motor oil and paint cans. When you light it on fire — KaBoom.

In the 2000’s, every town went to the blue bins and special “recycle” trucks.  It made voters happy.  It made politicians look like they were doing something.  The landfill didn’t give a damn what color the trucks were — gray, blue or green — they all paid by the ton.

Do It Anyway

So should we tell everyone Recycling is Bullshit?  Fuck no.

Someday enough kids will remember “Recycle Micheal” and know how to sort all the fucking varieties of plastics. They will not throw oil cans in the blue bin so shit doesn’t explode…

Someday the market for recycle stuff may recover. Someday we may figure out how to actually reuse shit.

You know the day is coming when we will run low on raw materials…  We will all have to live like retirees who only have a 401K.  We will have to sort through all our old shirts and shoes to find the one “good one” — or spend every day in the same pair of PJ’s.

That’s the day there will be gold in ‘dem ‘dare landfills.

That’s the day when I will no longer say:  recycling is bullshit.


This rant didn’t turn out to be that funny.  But if you want to laugh at recycling — watch this:


4 replies »

  1. As for me, I’ve given up on recycling. I pay an extra 5 or 10 cents for bottled stuff, because the law mandates that charge in order to reduce littering. They expect me to save those bottles and then return them somewhere for a refund. Hell, if littering only costs me 5 cents, it would be worth it to throw the damn bottle out my car window, except that my conscience won’t allow me. But it does go into the trash can, along with everything else.

    I think you’re right about glass. That’s a more eco-friendly way to go.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Well, so glad to know my efforts are wasted and the stuff that has the recycle symbol on it is for placating purposes only. I feel foolish, but it wouldn’t be the first time. Maybe I thought it was bullshit all along but was in a state of denial. To add insult to injury, my town here in So Cal got rid of all the recycle stations, so now I can’t even get my money back.

    Liked by 1 person

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