Dienstag, Januar 31, 2006

The Fallacy of Recycling


In today's Nikkei Weekly - 30 Jan 2006, page 15 - there is an interview with Prof Kunihoko Takeda, of Nagoya University.

He has analyzed plastic recycling in Japan, specfically PET bottles.

And this is the key quote:

"In the case of PET bottles, the energy used to sort, transport and process them amounts to about 1.6 million tons of oil per year. This volume of oil can produce almost three times as many new PET bottles. In other words, it takes three times more oil to recycle PET bottles than to make new ones."

That's right: three times as much oil to recycle PET bottles as to make new ones.

He also makes the right call: if you want to reduce garbage, make products that are more durable and have consumers use them more wisely for as long as possible.


But what a concept that would be.


I wonder what the cost of the German Dual System is in recycling here as well?

Taken at face value, recycling is a good idea: it should lead to optimum utilization of resources.

Instead, it is wasting resources. And the only ones making money are the recycling companies, whose market is mandated for them.

Another example of waste and inefficiency as the result of government interferement in markets...

Kommentare:

Jay Denari hat gesagt…

Hi, john,

He also makes the right call: if you want to reduce garbage, make products that are more durable and have consumers use them more wisely for as long as possible.

I agree with that line, and acknowledge that some forms of recycling need to be more efficient, but history actually CONTRADICTS what you say about gov't interference causing the problem. Our society wouldn't need some kind of gov't encouragement of recycling if the corporations themselves had not run away from the idea of making long-lasting products in favor of short-term profit cycles, overpackaging, and planned obsolescence.

John F. Opie hat gesagt…

Jay -

My point isn't so much the interference of government, but rather the fallacy that in this case recycling helps.

It doesn't: in Japan, they're planning on using three times as much oil to recycle PET bottles than it would take to make them new.

How does that help the environment?