By Letter to the Editor on March 10, 2018.
What are we recycling? The biggest part of recycling was glass and steel, iron products, and then came along aluminum. Most people have made money from recycling iron products and other metals. My brother survived in the late 1950s by scrounging cast iron from rural dumps.
Today the dumps are littered with all types of plastic products. Nobody wants them. Nobody knows what to do with them. It seems that plastic should be an excellent item like cast iron, the raw material for smelting new products.
The tarsands produce heavy bitumen, which is, when refined, broken down into tar, gasoline and a multitude of in-between products. Plastic is made from ethylene, which is made from cheap natural gas that we almost give away. If we shred the plastic and feed it into the process for refining the bitumen, wouldn’t it also break down the plastic into the molecules as well? Then it would become more fuel and other items that are useful.
If we recycle anything, shouldn’t it be broken down into basics and reused in the way it was originally? Recycling tires and making rubber mats is reusing, not recycling, because the mats are still destined for the dump, eventually. Using them for fuel or refining them to the basic components and making new tires is recycling.
So let’s recycle those plastic barrels, bundles, bags, bottles and make bigger, better bus bumpers. We have the technology, but we just don’t have the will because it is cheaper, with the price of natural gas, to make new plastics than to reinvent a process to recycle all that old plastic which China doesn’t want any more.
I hope someone in government is reading this.
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