Stuff and nonsense, or does it make sense

The Wellesley Dump has expanded even more to date. It is not my town, but is remarkable.

Wellesley’s recycling program was started in 1971 by local environmentalists and the Department of Public Works when the town incinerator failed to meet air emission standards. Unlike many of the earlier recycling centers around the nation, Wellesley’s is still in business andis thriving. Located at the town Recycling and Disposal Center, the operation has grown from collecting materials in 55-gallon drums to using 40-cubic-yard, open-top,transfer-haul containers plus a dual ram baler. It is now run by the town public works department and consists of a recycling facility, transfer station, and yard waste composting site.Wellesley has never had municipal curbside garbage collection. Its residents—at least 83% of them—take their refuse to the Recycling and Disposal Facility (RDF),which is free only to residents.

The center is proud of its park and social gathering setting.Picnic tables, well-maintained lawns, trees, flowers, and a circular drive contribute to the site’s popularity for GirlScout cookie sales as well as political events.The center is also unique in its wide acceptance by townspeople and its dedicated staff. Further, the Wellesley recycling center sponsors a recycling education program aimed at all Wellesley residents, including a curriculum for third graders in Wellesley public and private schools.“Recycle. Join the Team” is its theme. The center also actively promotes other recycling in the community. For instance, it helps spread the word about community-sponsored rummage sales.At the recycling center, a wide range of services can be found: a redemption center for bottles donated as asource of revenue for the center, a yard waste composting operation, and Goodwill depots. The book exchange is also a popular gathering place for residents.

Obstacles Overcome: The Wellesley recycling program works, and it has always worked! Nonetheless, there are the complaintsthat recycling takes too much time and that separate storagebins take up too much space in the home. To overcomethese complaints, the center relies on its information and education program. Not only does the public works staff go to the schools, they provide community presentations and promote recycling regularly.

875 pounds of re-cycling material per person for the year was the goal, and 892 pounds was the end of the year measure for 2007.

Now we know that Annie says for every barrel of stuff we dump as consumers there has been 70 barrels of stuff thrown away in the process of making the stuff.

I assume this does not include the stuff stored in lockers all over the country and not in use. Every American can stand shoulder to shoulder in the currently constructed storage space, and is one of the fastest growing industries today. This is called stored stuff, and can be read about in the next post.

Then there is the very profitable ‘ship your stuff’ to a Chinese labor intensive ‘recycle your stuff’ (now considered unAmerican) places to the port of Giyu, China as reported in USA Today. Trash picking at a profitable level, and insures that vessels do not have empty cargo holds on the three part journey of the US-China trade dependency. Reminds me of jolly England of old. And no healthcare costs to worry about, and no WTO to worry about. It is reassuring that no individual rights are violated as none have been established.

Plastic containers get turned into new products at a much lower rate than glass bottles or aluminum cans. The can you recycle today, for instance, will make its way back to the supermarket shelf in just six weeks. Because of health concerns, a plastic bottle will never become another plastic bottle. Recyclers often have a hard time making ends meet because the demand from manufacturers for recycled plastic — and, consequently, the money paid for it — is considerably less than for virgin material. Oh-plastics are not considered hazardous material. Currently there is little market for #3 to #7 plastics either.

Wellesley is rightfully proud of its dump. Citizen participation is quite amazing and helps provide the labor for sorting materials to a remarkable degree. Some of the other stories reminds me of how we do not pay for the cheap toasters and such from our major trading ally. More than we know.