• For more information on Green Party membership or to contact Green Party leadership, email info@greensofarlington.org Join the Arlington Greens on Wednesday June 5, 2019 at 7:30 pm at Ballston Firehouse Community Room (George Mason Drive & Wilson Blvd, Arlington, VA)

March 16, 2019

U.S. Recycling programs in big trouble which points to needed changes in the U.S.

The New York Times reported today (see link below) that many localities are abandoning recycling programs for just straight burning or burying their solid waste. The immediate force of change was China refusing to accept any more solid waste from the U.S.

This is a good time for the environmental movement in the U.S. to re-evalute recycling programs. The premise of these programs is that localities should re-use the waste of a huge industrial sector which continues to produce more waste yearly without regard to the consequences. What is industries role in cutting the amount of waste in its products and itself re-using its own products?

At the very least there should be strict federal laws barring excessive plastic and other packaging for consumer products. There should be a tax on virgin newsprint, new aluminium, new plastic, new glass, new cardboard so that industry has a financial incentive to use recycled newspapers, aluminium, glass, etc. instead of buying newly produced materials.

It is wrong to expect just local cities and counties to solve the solid waste problem generated by trillion dollar industries which just continue to put out more useless garbage that ends up being burned or buried. if industry truly embraced zero packaging or something close to it, and took a holistic view of its products, then our society would save millions of tons of carbon emissions and the harmful emissions of solid waste burn plants.

Here in Arlington we recycle about half of our solid waste, but we burn the other half mostly. The burn plant–join with Alexandria and Arlington–is one of the largest sources of air pollution in our region. So, better solid waste management will help us all breath better.

Michel Corkery, the NYT, Mar. 16, 2019, As Costs Skyrocket, More U.S. Cities Stop Recycling