Citizens taking action ~ Vancouver, Lower Mainland, and beyond.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Buried treasure

Another reason not to build waste-to-energy plants that vaporize plastic. It may become a valuable resource sooner than we think.

Check out this article from the Times (London): "Rubbish dumps are regarded by the recycling industry as an untapped source of riches, with an estimated 200 million tonnes of plastic buried as landfill since the late 1980s. At today's prices of £200 a tonne the discarded plastic has a value of about £40 billion. Alongside it are smaller, but still significant, quantities of valuable metals, including copper and aluminium."


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Carver said...

Hi, just letting you know I really like your blog and I'm putting a link to it on mine. That is all.

likeurblog said...

what is the hold up with curbside composting?? I thought bc would lead the world with eco friendly waste disposal!

Anonymous said...

Yah-hoo! No reason to cut back on disposable plastic now! Dump it in a big hole and "mine" it as a valuable resource some unspecified time in the future. I think you are really grasping at straws on this one.

I heard the same suggestion for nuclear waste on a CBC radio discussion lastt week: it might be valuable or useful in future.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anonymous,
Thoughtful citizens like yourself, to whom this blog is dedicated, understand that the thing we really need to do is cut back on disposable packaging now. This is why we call for Extended Producer Responsibility (EPR)so the companies that sell us unnecessary packaging will have to recycle it (or, more likely, eliminate it). One of the biggest barriers to EPR is our own municipal waste management system which offers us two alternatives: bury it (landfill) or burn it (incinerators). My own view is that during the transition to EPR it's the lesser evil to bury it than to burn it. Plastic is fossil carbon (like oil or coal). If burned it is dumped instantly into our overburdened atmosphere. If buried, it buys us some time and keeps it safely out of the atmosphere. It's a waste of plastic to bury it underground, but as the news article suggests, it leaves options open for the future, when plastic will certainly be more scarce and therefore be less likely to be wasted.
~ Helen.