Last week’s poll: maximising recycling volumes

Christmas might be over but dotted around the country recycling bins are overflowing with the detritus of Yuletide gifts and excess

It would be fair to assume that the contents of these recycling bins will be given a new or similar purpose, but what is the most effective way of maximising the waste that goes into them?

The current government appears to have thought about this, having announced new plans to reduce waste in general and improve recycling volumes in particular.

According to our last poll of 2018, 38 per cent of respondents believe recycling can be maximised by shifting the burden of reuse onto producers. A group of 44 per cent of respondents was divided equally between those who see a solution in more funding for recycling infrastructure, and those opting for better information on recyclable materials.

Credit: Alan Levine (via Flickr)

Of the remaining vote, 14 per cent opted for incentives for certain materials (bottles and cans, for example), and four per cent went for ‘none of the above’, including Silvia Leahu-Aluas who explained: “By the time a product or material has reached recycling it has the lowest value and highest entropy. We know that from one of the few economists who knows what he is talking about on a finite planet and who understands the world as it is and not as we imagine it:

“…useful, low-entropy energy and materials are dissipated in transformations that occur in economic processes, and they return to the environment as high-entropy wastes. The economy, then, functions as a conduit for converting natural resources into goods, services, human satisfaction, and waste products. Increasing entropy in the economy sets the limit on the scale it can achieve and maintain.” Nicholas Georgescu-Roegen “The Entropy Law and the Economic Process”, 1971.

“We should prioritise the first R’s of sustainability: Refuse Reduce Reuse Repurpose.”

The debate rages on, so tell The Engineer what you think in Comments below. All comments are moderated and must abide by our Comment guidelines for readers.