can help educate our families and communities about the importance of recycling
for our environment, and how each of us can make a difference for a better world
-- Robert Alan Silverstein
But our waste problem is
not the fault only of producers. It is the fault of an economy that is wasteful
from top to bottom—a symbiosis of an unlimited greed at the top and a lazy, passive,
and self-indulgent consumptiveness at the bottom—and all of us are involved in
of our waste problem is to be accounted for by the intentional flimsiness and
unrepairability of the labor-savers and gadgets that we have become addicted to.
-- Wendell Berry
to be a deeply embedded uneasiness in our culture about throwing away junk that
can be reused. Perhaps, in part, it is guilt about consumption. Perhaps it also
feels unnatural. Mother Nature doesn't throw stuff away. Dead trees, birds, beetles
and elephants are pretty quickly recycled by the system.
|... if the society
toward which we are developing is not to be a nightmare of exhaustion, we must
use the interlude of the present era to develop a new technology which is based
on a circular flow of materials such that the only sources of man's provisions
will be his own waste products. -|
As long as man was
small in numbers and limited in technology, he could realistically regard the
earth as an infinite reservoir, an infinite source of inputs and an infinite cesspool
for outputs. Today we can no longer make this assumption. Earth has become a space
ship, not only in our imagination but also in the hard realities of the social,
biological, and physical system in which man is enmeshed. In what we might call
the "old days," when man was small in numbers and earth was large, he could pollute
it with impunity, though even then he frequently destroyed his immediate environment
and had to move on to a new spot, which he then proceeded to destroy. Now man
can no longer do this; he must live in the whole system, in which he must recycle
his wastes and really face up to the problem of the increase in material entropy
which his activities create. In a space ship there are no sewers.
"Solid wastes" are the discarded leftovers of our advanced consumer society. This
growing mountain of garbage and trash represents not only an attitude of indifference
toward valuable natural resources, but also a serious economic and public health
-- Jimmy Carter
are not to throw away those things which can benefit our neighbor. Goods are called
good because they can be used for good: they are instruments for good, in the
hands of those who use them properly.
-- Clement of Alexandria (150?-220?)
"75% of colleges
and universities have a recycling program."
--Colorado State University Recycling
is a good thing to do. It makes people feel good to do it. The thing I want to
emphasize is the vast difference between recycling for the purpose of feeling
good and recycling for the purpose of solving the trash problem."
we all talked about recycling and not dumping things down your drain and all of
that, but talking doesn't help much. Basically, it's going to have to be legislation
because the impact is so huge and diversified.
The greatest economic
benefit of recycling is that it provides a base of materials for robust, efficient
manufacturing industries. So far this decade, U.S. paper manufacturers have voluntarily
built more than 45 recycling-based pulp and paper mills and only a handful that
use virgin wood. This is not just because recycling plants are better for the
environment, but because they are a less expensive way to increase production,
taking advantage of the increasing supplies of used paper collected in business
and community recycling programs.
-- Richard A. Denison & John F. Ruston
glut of waste materials is characteristic by-product of modern "consumer society."
It might even be argued that capitalism's continual need to find of generate markets
means that disposibility and waste have become the spine of the system. To consume
means, literally, "to destroy or expend," and in the garbage crisis we confront
the underlying truth of a society in which enormous productive capacities and
market forces have harnessed human needs and desires, without regard to the long
or even short-term future of life on the planet.
-- Stuart Ewen
Pollution is nothing but the resources we are not harvesting. We allow them to
disperse because we've been ignorant of their value.
up, you couch potatoes: each recycled beer can saves
enough electricity to run a television for three hours."
agriculture we seek will act like an ecosystem, feature
material recycling and run on the contemporary sunlight
of our star."
achieve true sustainability, we must reduce our 'garbage
index" - that which we permanently throw away into
the environment that will not be naturally recycled
for reuse - to near zero. Productive activities must
be organized as closed systems. Minerals and other
nonbiodegradable resources, once taken from the ground,
must become a part of society's permanent capital
stock and be recycled in perpetuity. Organic materials
may be disposed into the natural ecosystems, but only
in ways that assure that they are absorbed back into
the natural production system.
is more expensive for communities than it needs to be, partly
because traditional recycling tries to force materials into
more lifetimes than they are designed for - a complicated
and messy conversion, and one that itself expends energy
and resources. Very few objects of modern consumption were
designed with recycling in mind. If the process is truly
to save money and materials, products must be designed from
the very beginning to be recycled or even "upcycled" - a
term we use to describe the return to industrial systems
of materials with improved, rather than degraded, quality.
-- William McDonough and Michael Braungart
case for recycling is strong. The bottom line is clear.
Recycling requires a trivial amount of our time. Recycling
saves money and reduces pollution. Recycling creates more
jobs than landfilling or incineration. And a largely ignored
but very important consideration, recycling reduces our
need to dump our garbage in someone else's backyard.
-- David Morris of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance
is an industry comparable in size to auto and truck manufacturing"
--National Recycling Coalition.
it up, wear it out, make it do, or do without.
-- New England proverb
reduction is, on the face it, perhaps the most appealing
of all the possible approaches to solid-waste management.
-- William Rathje and Cullen Murphy
"What we are living with is the result of human choices
and it can be changed by making better, wiser choices."
one aluminum can saves enough energy to run your TV for
--Reynolds Metal Company
recycling not only to protect the environment, but for economic
reasons as well. Disposal is simply too costly and too dangerous.
The challenge is to redirect the flow of raw materials going
to landfill into strengthening our declining local economies.
The solution to pollution is self-reliant cities and counties.
-- Neil Seldman, Institute for Local Self-Reliance, 1990
time we stopped turning up our noses at the nation's garbage
dumps and started appreciating them for what they really
are -- the municipal mines, forests, oil wells and energy
sources of the future!
-- Max Spendlove
only feel angry when I see waste. When I see people
throwing away things we could use.
understands that in a world of ecological interconnectedness
there is no such things as “away.” We don’t throw things
“away,” we simply put them someplace where they defile the
land, foul the water, pollute the air or change the earth’s
-- Brian Walsh & Sylvia Keesmaat
spaced earth-sheltered towns offer sweeping views over the
plains. High-speed trains link the communities. Food is
grown in the region. Bikeways are everywhere. Nonpolluting
hydrogen powers all vehicles. Sunlight and wind generate
the hydrogen. Note the earth-covered bridges, the continuous
window bands, the wind machines across the farmlands. In
this new America, everything is reused, recycled, conserved."
-- Malcolm Wells
can tell how high a society is by how much of its garbage
-- Dhyani Ywahoo