Geeking Science: Recycling


I noticed my town asked for the shredding to not go into single-stream recycling bin. What’s up with that? They want us to take it to shred day. Really,  who has time for that?

Turns out they have great reasons: 
(1) Shredding breaks up the paper into very short fibers which downgrades the quality of the paper and they get less money for it. Since it is mixed in and clings with all the other paper, any bundle with shredded paper now is the lowest quality. Towns are trying to lower taxes through recycling, and so the shredding is money out of the taxpayer pocket, out of your pocket.
(2) Remember I just mention shred clings? Yeah, it clings to the machinery doing the separation of all the single-stream recycling, breaking them down more often, kicking paper dust in the air as an environmental (and fire) hazard to workers, and really screwing up everything the minute it gets wet. All this means the machinery is stopped more often for maintenance and needs replacing more often. Where does the maintenance and replacement money come from – well, hopefully the selling of the recycling materials. But it also means that less money gets put back into the tax bucket so the bucket has to be filled by other means, like property taxes. Again, money out of your pocket.

We all have learned plastic bags don’t go into recycling – for the same reasons as shred. Now I need to add shred to the list of “no-go’s” in my head and take it to the special shred day.

A really good video on recycling is below. It taught me crushing cans and plastic bottles is also undesirable.