Jim A.

"No--drop it in the recycle bin!!"

30 posts in this topic

In the past couple of weeks, I have had one supervisor and one co-worker tell me when I dropped a soda can into a normal wastebasket: "No--drop it in the recycle bin!!" (or words to that effect), as if they were telling me I was a careless individual who didn't give a single thought to caring for the environment.

I complied with their request, but felt rather insulted. I honestly don't know how to respond to demands like that; I'm not a scientist, but it just seems to me there is a single false premise at the root of my supervisor's and my co-worker's behavior. I shouldn't have to lecture them on biology/ecology. Any recommendations on what I should say or do next time I "screw up" by dropping a Coke can into a regular wastebasket?

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Gosh, can't help you there...

When I was in NYC, my landlord told me to drop the cans in the can bin, paper in paper bin, etc. and everything else in main bin.

I promptly ignored that recommendation a few times, paper in the normal bin for example.

He was annoyed, I asked why? He said the building got fined if the rubbish wasn't sorted.

That's right, on the Upper West Side, at least, if not Manhattan/NYC, it is now illegal not to recycle.

I found that extremely offensive, much like you were annoyed by the can.

Looking forward to seeing what people come up with. I tried arguing rationally with enviros before and it got nowhere. They smile confusedly when they realise they lose the fight (I trained as a production engineer, so I understand supply chains very well hehehe) and then literally never, ever mention the subject again, preferring to run away.

Perhaps you could make an argument against recycling based on logic (the waste of resources it implies); however, aluminium is the ONE part of recycling that makes economic sense (since recycling Al occurs at a fraction of the temperature required to make it from bauxite, which is a huge energy saving; with the high price of scrap Al - for that reason precisely - you can get a few bucks from selling the cans).

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In the past couple of weeks, I have had one supervisor and one co-worker tell me when I dropped a soda can into a normal wastebasket: "No--drop it in the recycle bin!!" (or words to that effect), as if they were telling me I was a careless individual who didn't give a single thought to caring for the environment.

I complied with their request, but felt rather insulted. I honestly don't know how to respond to demands like that; I'm not a scientist, but it just seems to me there is a single false premise at the root of my supervisor's and my co-worker's behavior. I shouldn't have to lecture them on biology/ecology. Any recommendations on what I should say or do next time I "screw up" by dropping a Coke can into a regular wastebasket?

Does the company have a policy requiring it? Is there a town/city ordinance requiring it?

If you live in a state where there is refundable fee, bring the cans home and when you have a batch of them big enough to be worth while take them in for the money.

Other than those specifics, the overriding issue is the intrusive impositions of the viros and their politically correct zombie followers meddling in other people's lives -- something like a Quaker elder following people around telling them what to do. But you don't live in their sect. If there is no requirement to sort and organize your garbage and one of these true-believers tells you to do it, just politely tell him there is no requirement for that, it has nothing to do with your work, and there is no reason why it should. They do these things for religious reasons and act like Jehova's Witnesses instructing other people how to live to save the world, expecting you to be thankful for their help. Whatever you do, don't sanction it out of politeness or anything else. Just say you disagree, and avoid controversy that will cause trouble for you at work as if you were the cause of it. If they argue and start to lecture you, politely and calmly suggest to them that their religion should be kept private. If you encounter a rational person who wants to discuss it you can tell him what you think of ideological viroism and its anti-man injunctions on behalf of a supposed 'intrinsic value' of nature, then go back to your work, making it clear that that is what is important there. Don't get yourself into ideological arguments at a workplace where you are in jeopardy.

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Perhaps you could make an argument against recycling based on logic (the waste of resources it implies); however, aluminium is the ONE part of recycling that makes economic sense (since recycling Al occurs at a fraction of the temperature required to make it from bauxite, which is a huge energy saving; with the high price of scrap Al - for that reason precisely - you can get a few bucks from selling the cans).

Recycled paper is more expensive than paper from wood pulp. Fast-growing trees used for that are grown for that purpose. They are not objects of worship. The viros are doing everything they can to prevent cutting trees for anything and making it as expensive as possible through regulatory strangulation of timber harvesting and processing.

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Perhaps you could make an argument against recycling based on logic (the waste of resources it implies); however, aluminium is the ONE part of recycling that makes economic sense (since recycling Al occurs at a fraction of the temperature required to make it from bauxite, which is a huge energy saving; with the high price of scrap Al - for that reason precisely - you can get a few bucks from selling the cans).

Recycled paper is more expensive than paper from wood pulp. Fast-growing trees used for that are grown for that purpose. They are not objects of worship. The viros are doing everything they can to prevent cutting trees for anything and making it as expensive as possible through regulatory strangulation of timber harvesting and processing.

Oh, I agree, and the same applies to most products.

Aluminium being the only exception, and for-profit supply chains already existing for that purpose, it makes it difficult to argue against recycling cans based on logic and economics.

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In Sydney we have separate bins for recycling, but since my rubbish is collected in the alley, there is no way to prove if I've 'violated' the law by throwing cans and bottles in the regular bins. My approach is to bag everything, which is not readily apparent to the collectors and toss an empty bottle in the recycling bin on occasion. I reckon most people do the same and no-one appears to say anything about it. Interestingly, for all the green propaganda one hears in Australia - and it is sometimes more acute than in the US - few people seem to care about it in practice.

Australians may not be especially astute politically or philosophically, but they are quite independent. It's pretty tough to push an Aussie around, and I must say it's refreshing coming from the US, where the PC nonsense started to wear me down.

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With my engineer hat back on, I'll say it's extremely easy to automatically sort rubbish at the waste centre mechanically (and also employing a few immigrants on minimum wage). I'd say, if recycling really is that necessary, that this is a lot more efficient than making millions of people waste their time sorting.

Jason, would you say, based on this "independent" spirit, that Australia is a more pleasant place for Objectivists to live than (most of) the US?

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Perhaps you could make an argument against recycling based on logic (the waste of resources it implies); however, aluminium is the ONE part of recycling that makes economic sense (since recycling Al occurs at a fraction of the temperature required to make it from bauxite, which is a huge energy saving; with the high price of scrap Al - for that reason precisely - you can get a few bucks from selling the cans).

Recycled paper is more expensive than paper from wood pulp. Fast-growing trees used for that are grown for that purpose. They are not objects of worship. The viros are doing everything they can to prevent cutting trees for anything and making it as expensive as possible through regulatory strangulation of timber harvesting and processing.

Oh, I agree, and the same applies to most products.

Aluminium being the only exception, and for-profit supply chains already existing for that purpose, it makes it difficult to argue against recycling cans based on logic and economics.

No, it's the easiest thing in the world. Based on the logic of my time, my desires and my individual rights I see no value to me in my making an effort to recycle. Your "based on logic and economics" is, as you use it here, a floating abstraction.

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We have two Wheely Bins here. One for recycling and one for Garbage. It actually suits me to put stuff in the recycling bin because it gives me more room in my garbage bin for garden waste. I don't know how economical it is to recycle the various materials involved, but I have to accept it as an existing operation regardless. Philosophically, I have no problem with the concept of recycling if it entails no unreasonable costs on me - I hate waste anyway.

I understand how recycling is a part of the anti-Capitalist agenda of the Greens and Leftists, but my agenda is not their agenda, and I won't let their actions determine mine. I am past the point where I get emotional about it and decide I will do the opposite of a Greeny, just because he is a Greeny. While the economics of the concept are beyond my control, it does me no harm, and is convenient in my circumstances. It would be a different matter if I were asked my opinion on an uneconomical recycling program; then I would not vote for it. One needs a lot of information to weigh up the costs of recycling an aluminum can vs. burying it, for every specific location, information I don't have.

If the recycling is paying for itself, all is well and good. If not, then the sooner they see the losses mount, the sooner they will be forced to abandon it. Small losses will go on forever.

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No, it's the easiest thing in the world. Based on the logic of my time, my desires and my individual rights I see no value to me in my making an effort to recycle. Your "based on logic and economics" is, as you use it here, a floating abstraction.

I've tried the "because I don't want to" approach. It quickly makes you hated by the enviros. Which is fine if you can afford it. Not so much in close knit teams that need to work fast (thankfully less present now I've left college). Providing a rational or rational-sounding explanation that addresses the viros' concerns on their own ground (and beats them there) is akin to showing the Emperor's lack of clothes. Once they detect you are better informed, they will refuse to engage and simply avoid the subject altogether, which is the aim targeted, but without excluding you as a person altogether from the team, which is a negative result of simply "being selfish" without tackling their "concerns".

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If it were economically sound to recycle aluminum on the part of consumers, then there should be some financial incentive. But such a program probably wouldn't work, as was demonstrated by the 5-cent bottle return plan which simply redistributed wealth from the buyer of the bottle to those willing to go through garbage bins looking for bottles to return. Since the apparent economic incentive is on the part of the producer of aluminum, he should be the one paying to reclaim aluminum from garbage dumps, not the consumer. Or, if the landfills were really filling up, the charge to pick up garbage should increase to make it financially sound to reduce garbage. But moderns do not recognize self-interest as a way to solve problems (if it is a real problem), so we must all sacrifice for the environment.

With that said, I do recycle now that the government has paid for containers that I can keep in my garage and has made it pretty easy by not requiring separation of paper, bottles, plastic, and aluminum anymore. I just throw those things in the recycle bin as I would have thrown them in the garbage. They do the separation. The amount of real garbage is down by more than 50%.

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Back when I worked in London, I once had a coworker (who was pretty much the stereotypical liberal woman) gasp and say to me, "We RECYCLE!!" when she saw me drop something (a bottle or milk box or whatever it was) into the normal bin. I simply asked "Do we?" and went on with my business.

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Back when I worked in London, I once had a coworker (who was pretty much the stereotypical liberal woman) gasp and say to me, "We RECYCLE!!" when she saw me drop something (a bottle or milk box or whatever it was) into the normal bin. I simply asked "Do we?" and went on with my business.

At the risk of angering some members of the Forum, I would say that the average British woman does make a good Lilian Rearden impression :)

Those who disagree should watch the British TV series "Coupling" which is fairly representative.

That's one part of the UK I won't miss :)

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Most of the real "viros" that I have met or seen are real fanatics treating every living entity with "respect," except humans of course. So, for the most part I do not even waste my time talking to these type of fanatics and just gaff them off which usually makes them made. When I actually meet someone that regurgitates the "viros" doctrine but seems to be a valuer of human life and real worldly values I take a few minutes to speak with them. I first offer information that demonstrates the contradictions in the "viros" ideology then I refer them toward books to read in accordance to their level of knowledge and desire.

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the average British woman does make a good Lilian Rearden impression

There are certainly many of them who do, although I wouldn't know what the average is--my attention has a tendency of directing itself toward the woman who are, well ... above average. :)

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Most of the real "viros" that I have met or seen are real fanatics treating every living entity with "respect," except humans of course. So, for the most part I do not even waste my time talking to these type of fanatics and just gaff them off which usually makes them made. When I actually meet someone that regurgitates the "viros" doctrine but seems to be a valuer of human life and real worldly values I take a few minutes to speak with them. I first offer information that demonstrates the contradictions in the "viros" ideology then I refer them toward books to read in accordance to their level of knowledge and desire.

Let's not forget treating non-living entities with respect too. After all, what is "earth" day about?

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I tried arguing rationally with enviros before and it got nowhere.

The proper term is 'viros', not 'enviros'. Please stop wasting e's and n's. Conserve letters.

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In the past couple of weeks, I have had one supervisor and one co-worker tell me when I dropped a soda can into a normal wastebasket: "No--drop it in the recycle bin!!" (or words to that effect), as if they were telling me I was a careless individual who didn't give a single thought to caring for the environment.

I complied with their request, but felt rather insulted. I honestly don't know how to respond to demands like that; I'm not a scientist, but it just seems to me there is a single false premise at the root of my supervisor's and my co-worker's behavior. I shouldn't have to lecture them on biology/ecology. Any recommendations on what I should say or do next time I "screw up" by dropping a Coke can into a regular wastebasket?

Bring in your own wastebasket next time.

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I have wondered to myself, if the lack of recycling is due to the 'free' garbage collection that most governments provide, paid for by their citizens taxes. That is not something that a capitalist government would provide.

Perhaps a corporate rubbish system would charge different rates for each product that they dispose of, providing a natural economic incentive to sort things.

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At my friends company, American Power Conversion, --- where he says the are really big into environmental propaganda -- they have to throw cans in one bin, paper in another, etc. But, the funny thing is as the end of the day the garbage collectors throw it all into the same bin, so it does nothing. Even knowing this, they still must comply.

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At my friends company, American Power Conversion, --- where he says the are really big into environmental propaganda -- they have to throw cans in one bin, paper in another, etc. But, the funny thing is as the end of the day the garbage collectors throw it all into the same bin, so it does nothing. Even knowing this, they still must comply.

Thanks for the tip. Have added it to my "to watch for potential PE takeover" list. I'm sure there's plenty of operational improvements that could be made to enhance efficiency at that firm :)

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The proper term is 'viros', not 'enviros'. Please stop wasting e's and n's. Conserve letters.

I prefer 'envirii'.

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... Perhaps you could make an argument against recycling based on logic (the waste of resources it implies); however, aluminium is the ONE part of recycling that makes economic sense (since recycling Al occurs at a fraction of the temperature required to make it from bauxite, which is a huge energy saving; with the high price of scrap Al - for that reason precisely - you can get a few bucks from selling the cans).
So what about the eleemosonary argument: "I'm doing this for the homeless! How can I, in good conscience, deny a trash-picker the chance at the brass (ok, Aluminum) ring? The chance to find my cans in the dumpster, the chance to make a few cents for several minutes of otherwise unproductive and frustrating effort? You are destroying the lives of countless honest, recycling dumpster divers, while I am a moral giant!"

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