5 Recycling Myths Debunked at Popular Mechanics

5 Recycling Myths Debunked at Popular Mechanics

We're always looking for better ways to recycle, and we strive to buy products that are ultimately recyclable. However, every once in a while we hear little whispers in the blogosphere about the big recycling "scam."And we wonder: Is the wool being pulled over our eyes on this issue? This month, we looked to Popular Mechanics for an answer...

This is pretty timely for us -- just last week we read this post at Treehugger: Recycling is Bullshit; Make Nov. 15 Zero Waste Day, not America Recycles Day. In the post, Lloyd Alter writes: "Recycling is simply the transfer of producer responsibility for what they produce to the taxpayer who has to pick it up and take it away." We agree with some of Alter's points; e.g. companies like Coke and Bud and Coors, that produce bottles and cans, should take more financial responsibility for our recycling programs.

But, is recycling really bull$%*t?

Well, Popular Mechanics doesn't necessarily think so. They look at 5 popular recycling half-truths: (Hint: One of these is true. Can you guess which one?)


  • 1. We have to recycle because we're running out of landfill space.

  • 2. The trucks that collect recycling burn more energy and produce more pollution than recycling saves.

  • 3. Thanks to the sky-high prices of raw materials, cities are getting rich by selling recyclables.

  • 4. All the paper, plastic, metal and glass dumped in recycling bins has to be painstakingly (and expensively) sorted by hand.

  • 5. Most of the plastic put in recycling bins ends up in the garbage.

image via Popular Mechanics

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