From Treehugger. At TED David Cameron (apparently in an attempt to look like less of an ideological conservative) actually pointed out a really good idea to promote conservation.
On electricity bills just compare the user to their neighbors.
A commenter in the post mentioned that showing money saving would be a better incentive but why not show both?
People love to lord over each other how much better they are, or if you’re under-performing they like to know so they can comeback and beat their neighbors. it sounds silly but everybody loves to make a game out of things.
Head over there for the full post and a video of the talk.
Pepsi has their “throwback” versions of drinks right now where thy use sugar for sweetener instead of High Fructose Corn Syrup. It’s supposedly a limited time thing but I think it’s a disguised test on whether people will approve of changing back to sugar in drinks.
The change to HFCS was snuck in a few decades ago because of the US’s massive corn subsidies. It’s cheaper to put corn in drinks than sugar cane or sugar beets.
However with the demand of biofuels going up corn is getting expensive so going back to normal sweeteners is coming back.
Meanwhile sugar byproduct is being used in the bottles to bring down the carbon footprint for making bottles.
Sugar in the bottle but not in the drink. Although hopefully sugar will make its way back into drinks soon.
I was practicing my Japanese (in other words watching imported TV) and they had a program talking about the Zephyr Corporation in Tokyo who produces a residential class windmill. The program NHK J-TECH was typical Japanese daytime TV, a lot of pro-Japan talk about how innovative Japan is and how they’re revolutionizing the world. A lot of it is true but if there’s one thing Japanese media never misses is a chance to pat itself on the back.
On a side note it’s cool to see Pakkun and Makkun switch boke/tsukkomi roles when speaking English. In English Pakkun is no-longer the foolish foreigner and plays the straight man to Makkun’s foolish foreigner.
Japanese media difference aside it’s very true that this company had made some great strides in wind power generation, all in a device small enough that to fit above your average suburban home (43lbs, 6ft rotor). I know that there are companies doing this in America and they may be just as advanced or more but they certainly aren’t getting their name and product out. And that may be a social comment on the fact that our TV media likes to play reality TV, and dramas where imaginary “straw man” terrorists are constantly trying to blow up the oceans! Perhaps if we spent more time extolling our own virtues and the innovation that comes from within the US we would spend less time watching Cables News that constantly tells us everything is falling apart. I’m sure the local Green energy solar and wind powered startups would like the publicity as well.
I just hope the US can get over itself arguing whether global warming is manmade or not, and realize that regardless of what you believe the answer to that is, green technologies are the future world wide and that if we aren’t the ones innovating and producing the future we’re going to end up importing it from the rest of the world at our own expense.
Enough philosophy, down to brass tacks; I want one of these windmills.
Gizmodo recently had a small article about a concept of wind powered street lights that was kind of cool. But we all know that concepts rearely become the glittery futuristic reality they portray. Meanwhile these turbines exist now and have been on sale for a few years. They advertise them in much the same way, either small residential generation or powering isolated or low draw installations like lighting in parking garages or bus and train stops.
They start generating power in as little as 5MPH wind and will continue generating power upto hurricane force winds. Most commercial windmills shut off and stop as wind passes 50MPH; the Airdolphin uses excess power to electromagnetically brake the propeller once it reaches 1000 rpm and if winds continue up to hurricane gales it will slow itself to 600RPM to avoid damage (I thought they could feather the blades but maybe that’s too complex for a small deployment). They said they used to have problems with the sound generated before so they copied the feathers of an owl by putting a small ridged edge to the blade and it lowered the sound produced by the turbine to less than 60dB, or roughly ambient neighborhood levels.
The power generated is 1.1kW at 27MPH wind and peaks at 4kW at 44MPH wind. So the windmill can offload roughly one quarter of the average power draw of a home; I think they said the 1kWh rate stored enough power to use a 47” LCD flat screen for 5 hours. The average price I could find for one was about $6000, which means you won’t be making back your money very quickly with one of these little guys unless you’re in a windy area. So you’ll have to be happy with the fact that you’re spending the same amount of money, getting the same amount of power, but being only three quarters of the burden your neighbors are.
But these aren’t really mass produced yet either so the price may go down as demand increases. They mentioned selling 200 in the last 4 years to 31 different countries, which is output you’d expect from a company that hasn’t really moved from walk to run yet. However if they catch on and price comes down these would be great to add into a smart grid to for a community or town; Zephyr already markets a turbine specifically for plugging into the US smart power grid.. In wind power alone a community could offload 1/4 of its power from the grid, add in solar and smart devices on the grid and the community could cut out another 1/4 to 1/2 of that.
They also have an add-on data display server that tells you the wind conditions in real time, how much power you’re making, and it can be connected over IP to provide an accessible page that can reports this information anywhere on the net.
I have to admit I love this stuff, we may never have a future with flying cars and extremely dangerous houses on thin stilts like in the Jetsons, but we already have the technology for a much more futuristic world, if only we can get momentum going for mass production. And while I don’t think that we’ll ever in our lifetimes get to the point where we can completely eliminate the traditional power plant but with the distributed onsite power of a million wind and solar generators helping out we can significantly reduce our dependence on those plants so that they are small enough to not have the impact they do now.
Image src from chick publications “Here he comes” (don’t google if easily offended)
Treehugger had a great post talking about how the green movement often parallels extremist religion in getting its message out. It’s a really interesting take and I agree totally that perhaps the reason that people believing in Global Warming has dropped below 50% is because the people pushing green ideas and conservation do sound like they’re trying to push their cult like beliefs on you.
“You shouldn’t eat that, it’s
meat not kosher.”
Mother Earth God suffered for your sins!”
“Aren’t you ashamed you’re
destroying the planet going to hell?”
wasteful consumerismsins will send us all to hell!”
I have to admit, listening to a lot of people who share the same beliefs as me proselytize about how we need to “protect mother earth” is such a turn off I want to join everybody else in denouncing them. One of my favorite bands even has a song about being sick of being preached to by celebrities.
I see this rejection of the green movement all over Utah, ironic since Mormon missionaries are experts at trying to force their beliefs on others. MANY people I know want to destroy the Earth faster just to spite people who preach a green lifestyle. And they’re dismissed because greens think that they must just be a “lunatic fringe.” But I agree with the green movement and at times even I want to spit in the face of people telling me how to think and what to do. Obviously there is a problem in how the message is getting out, not in how poorly people are receiving it.
I think I have a unique line on how to improve the message. Like I said I agree with most all of what the green moment preaches; however my appeal to it is my desire for efficiency in how we collectively impact the world as an organism. I want the same end result as the green movement of zero impact, but I reject the pushy messages same as red America.
Let’s face it Americans don’t like being told what to do. The first problem is saying, “You need to stop wasting resources.” Second problem is we don’t like being forced into having sympathy, “You need to quit using paper bags because logging is destroying the North Western Tree Rat’s ecosystem.”
Most Americans respond with, “I don’t care.” and the worst respond with, “Fine, I hope they die, and I hope they burn in hell!” The solution is to hit people in a softspot that even the most hardened beer swilling, rifle-hunting, red state American feels it; in the wallet.
I’ve always believed that the way to create converts to a green lifestyle is the same way Christmas was stolen from Christianity… Capitalism.*
Me:Us: “You should get a more fuel efficient car. Using less gas means you buy less gas, and that’s more money in your pocket.”
“Turn down your thermostat in winter. Your gas bill will be much smaller.”
“Use CF bulbs and turn them off when not in use. Using less electricity means you pay the electric company less.”
Them: “Doesn’t all that stuff cut down on pollution and lower humanities’ carbon footprint.”
Us: “I think so. But do you really care so long as you have more money for yourself? Think of the lower pollution as icing on the cake.”
Watch people flock to the green movement and an efficient earth friendly lifestyle after that.
*Capitalism is really just another religion, the ATM is the altar and I’ve seen many people pray before it to, “Please have money!”
Question to the religious: How many times have you visited the ATM and now many time have you gone to church in a week?
How much of your day do you dedicate to making money?
How many times have you decided to keep money for yourself when you saw situations where others needed it more?
Infrastructurist linked a story about how Detroit is trying to figure out what to do with the masses of abandoned space they have in the wake of the auto industry collapse.
The story follows John Hantz and his idea that piques my interest in two different ways.
In fact, Hantz’s operation will bear little resemblance to a traditional farm. Mike Score, who recently left Michigan State’s agricultural extension program to join Hantz Farms as president, has written a business plan that calls for the deployment of the latest in farm technology, from compost-heated greenhouses to hydroponic (water only, no soil) and aeroponic (air only) growing systems designed to maximize productivity in cramped settings.
Did somebody say Hydroponic?
“Ah, now the ball’s in Farnsworth’s court!”
Even before reading this I was thinking of urban hydroponic farms. Here in SLC there is a huge parking lot taking up a full city block that is never used by more than 5-6 cars. They had to tear down a bunch of longstanding and popular bars, venues, and hangouts plus demolishing a hotel to turn it into an unused parking lot that spends all day doing nothing but heating up under the summer sun. With a moderate initial investment the same area could likely feed hundreds with fresh local produce using no more water than what we get in natural rainfall.
There is another quote in the article I’d like to point out:
This is possibly not as crazy as it sounds. Granted, the notion of devoting valuable city land to agriculture would be unfathomable in New York, London, or Tokyo. But Detroit is a special case.
Unfathomable my ass, I actually just watched a TV program from Japan that was touting urban farming in Tokyo as a modern way of making use of land in a country that has little land to spare. They referred to it more as a food factory where everything was grown under lights inside a building that for all intents and purposes from the outside looked like a 4 story factory. The idea of greenhouses in Detroit actually makes more sense, no electricity issues with lighting unless you want to extend the growing season even more than the greenhouses provide.
Detroit makes more sense for urban hydroponics, more land is going to waste and the city is desperate finding ways to make it more productive. Ideally it would be more profitable to fill the land with high density office space; but when what you have is blight, upgrading to clean farming is still a much better option.
However Hantz is a little misguided.
Hantz thinks farming could do his city a lot of good: restore big chunks of tax-delinquent, resource-draining urban blight to pastoral productivity; provide decent jobs with benefits; supply local markets and restaurants with fresh produce; attract tourists from all over the world; and — most important of all — stimulate development around the edges as the local land market tilts from stultifying abundance to something more like scarcity and investors move in.
I agree with everything there but the tourist attraction, this is a farm not Disneyland. Don’t factor tourist income into this investment in any way. But all the other benefits are spot on. Hydroponics requires an initial upfront investment which Hantz is apparently willing to pay in cash. Then it’s just a matter of monitoring the crops, harvesting, and shipping to where they’re needed. The system is incredibly low maintenance, and the land can be tied up in a productive way until the city starts growing again.
There is a second reason this article is interesting to me.
Houses in Detroit are selling for an average of $15,000.
That sounds like a buying opportunity, and in fact Detroit looks pretty good right now to a young artist or entrepreneur who can’t afford anyplace else — but not yet to an investor.
Damn straight $15,000 looks pretty good right now. I was looking at getting a condo downtown here and they wanted $250,000 for a loft! A quarter of a million dollars and you don’t even get a separate bedroom!
Hey, Mr. Hantz! You need a guy to help with your farms? I’ll start tomorrow and using the “first time home buyer” clause of the 401k I can even afford a home TODAY!
I mean Holy Cow, I can’t believe that I could be owning a car and home free and clear right now along with a steady job. All I need is enough money to buy food and utilities, anything else is icing on the cake.
The economy and the world itself are in a serious state of flux right now. That means this is the perfect time to change the status quo when it comes to our infrastructure. There is a possibility for failure but this is also the time when you can get in on the ground floor. And when it comes to investing and development there are two constants.
1. People need food to eat.
2. People need a place to live.
The situation in Detroit create a lack easily accessable #1 and an over abundance (read: cheap) of #2.
All warehouse roofs should be turned to power stations, and I wanted to be the company leasing the space from the owners to do it.
While hiking the local mountains a few years ago I looked out into the valley of warehouses and through that all those bright reflective roofs would look better and probably make the building cooler if they had greenery on them.
They I thought it would be even better if they had solar panels the powered the building and sold excess to the surrounding residents. The added benefit would be a cooler building since the entire roof is now shaded so the power draw of running AC during a hot summer afternoon is reduced as well.
But I was just a poor college student and didn’t have the money to invest in a project like that. Solar pays off over long periods of time which means alot of upfront money is needed for a long payout.
Luckily it looks like some other people had the same idea and have a bit more resources to make it a reality.
I remember when Biosphere 2 was first being developed. If it’s any indication of my nerdiness I was only 11 but I still thought it was a cool experiment that I’d love to take part in. Even just a few years ago I still had an interest in the idea of an ecosystem separate from the rest of the earth.
Anyway despite the potential for learning Biosphere 2 was a mis-management boondoggle brought down by the ego of the humans in and running it as much as anything else. Thus it ultimately failed as an experiment. Now it sits derelict waiting to be turned into suburban sprawl.
I’m a treehugger. I love going out into the wilderness and getting away from all forms of human development from time to time. However I’m also a realist, I know that as much as I’d like to freeze unneeded human expansion and preserver every acre of the little remaining undeveloped land we have, that will never happen.
Next best thing is that if an area is gong to be developed that we do it in a way that has as little environmental impact possible. In fact I see that as the new great development challenge for humanity. We’ve proven that we can forcibly carve out our comfort zone by making Nature bow to our demands. Now we need to find a way to create the same comfort zone we currently have in the developed world but do it in a way that has virtually no impact on nature.
Now a lot of people say that no impact means that we should all live in huts made out mud, clay, and cow pies. That we should only eat food grown, cultivated, and picked by hand. And that anything that uses any carbon or energy be eliminated. Ok, maybe that’s the extreme “straw-man” viewpoint but a lot of people lean that way in their arguments, and they piss me off because their unrealistic goals and self righteous attitudes create a backlash where people go out of their way to waste resources more. Seriously, I met a guy who doesn’t just want to leave an environmental imprint and carbon footprint, he wants to leave a “Carbon Crater, just to piss [environmentalists] off” as he puts it. This is the group of people who put “People Eating Tasty Animals” stickers on their bumpers and get outraged when the hear that some person doesn’t believe in eating meat.
So let’s be realistic, the world will never give up all the progress made in the last 2000 years and go back to living off berries in lean-tos in the forest. That’s why I’m always excited to see projects like this one by resort architects ReardonSmith, that creates a 200 room hotel under a golf club in Surrey UK.
I’ve always liked the architecture of building underground. There are a lot of benefits to ecology and efficiency in building underground. The ground is warmer than air in winter and colder than air in summer, not to mention an amazing insulator to ambient heat and sound, It’s like having a house that is in constant 48 degree weather, just add a little heat as necessary. The obvious glaring issue is getting natural light in but that is usually solved by building the structure in a circle around a well that lets light in (think Luke Skywalker’s home in Star Wars). There are all kinds of cool articles about this stuff online, including a soldier in Afghanistan inspired to come home and build a green house with reinforced HESCO earthen barriers surrounding the structure to reduce the stress of dirt leaning against the walls.
But I’m getting off topic. As cool as it seems to finally see people designing our living environment to better sync with nature rather than fight it this new resort is catching flak from some of the least likely sources. You’d think treehuggers and eco friendly people would be onboard, but the problem is that the resort will be in a London’s “Green Belt” an area around the city zoned to keep urban sprawl contained and to provide a green buffer to help keep the environment air clear and fresh for the nearby city.
This brings us back to the issue I began with. Some people can get a little extreme in their environmentalism. If this was a golf resort going into a protected Wilderness area I’d understand but this is the area surrounding the densest urban area in the UK. I hate to be the realist but that land is going to be touched by the hand of man eventually; if only every city were to build their sprawl in such an eco friendly way we’d be a lot better off by now.
I think this is a situation where people should meet half way. I bet a lot of people in the “Carbon Crater” camp would be quite impressed to see how nice it is when development works with the environment instead of against it, enough that we might bring more of them over to our cause. And certainly more than if we just tell them “No! The line in the sand has been drawn and progress and development stops here!”
Maybe in the future we can all live in some prettier, eco friendly cities. We may never be able to erase our impact to the point where our homes are indistinguishable from the wilderness but we have the technology now to at least work with the environment from hear on out.
This cool site lets you use Google maps to draw out and estimate your own renewable energy plan for your home.
Give it your address, draw out your roof or backward solar array (or place wind turbines) and it will calculate your output for your area, quantify that in dollars and figure out the cost minus incentives for the setup. Then combine the two to figure out how long it will take to pay itself off.
For my home, covering the garage in solar arrays will generate $500 in electricity a year, and after factoring in incentives will cost about $15,000. This mean it will have paid for itself in nearly 25 years.
However I don’t know if that factors in the added the value the PV array gives to the house (I doubt it does).
After listening to Glen Beck talk about global warming conspiracy theory watch this video as a counter-point.
In the end draw you own opinion.
If there was any one thing I learned through my years in college chemistry and physics classes is that science is incredibly complex. The the level we work with it we’re getting the most boiled down simplified interpretations. For the scientists doing research there is so much data that you have to be a lifelong researcher to truly understand a concept. certainly more than you can learn by watching a 10 minute talking head segment on Fox News or reading an article in the newspaper.
I don’t know alot; but I do know enough that two sentences taken out of context in 13 years worth of email chains isn’t enough to form any kind of opinion, especially without doing to research to at least try to put those sentences into context.
One thing that bugs me that I’ve heard alot in conservative Utah now that it’s winter is the comment that alludes to snowing as proof that global warming doesn’t exist. Even if you deny global warming, do yourself a favor and don’t assume global global temperature and local air temperature are the same. If makes you look like an idiot and negates you as a person with an informed opinion. Do some research and find real evidence global warming is flase (climate scientists would probably pay you if you found valid evidence!)
British Petroleum made a new oil discovery while breaking the world record for deepest well. New technology has allowed currently unreachable parts of the ocean depths to be tapped.
Already a lot of my conservative friends are pointing out that this proves “New Oil” will always be available and thus the world will never run out (we’ve had this argument before). So here’s some basics I picked up in college geology to put oil in perspective and hopefully open a few eyes.
The problem is that it takes very specific circumstances for oil to be created and trapped where it can wait to be discovered by us.
Issue 1 – Time
It takes time to create oil; coal, it’s called a “Fossil Fuel” for a reason. Oil is basically prehistoric algae, trapped under sediments, and heated to become oil or natural gas (plant and animal material generally turns to coal). Most oil is generally understood to have been algae that was buried between 200 and 400 million years ago. The problem is 2/3 the earth’s surface is 300 million years old or younger, most is less than 100 million years old.
The ocean floor is a constantly shifting mass of dense rock that comes up in the ocean rifts, and spreads across the ocean before plunging back under the continents. Average time spent crossing is about 150 million years. So even if algae is quickly deposited in the center of the ocean, buried under sediment (see next problem), and heated at the right temperature, it’s barely becoming oil when it’s plunged back under the continental shelves.
So oil will only exist in places where geology is relatively slow and the rocks are old; like on continents, continental shelves, or pockets of the ocean that aren’t actively being sucked under the continents (like the gulf of Mexico). Most of the ocean floor doesn’t have a possibility of oil even if we could reach it.
The algae needs to be trapped in an anaerobic environment so that decomposition won’t occur; then buried under sediment until the pressure and heat can convert it to oil. This doesn’t always happen; in fact if our current natural world is any guide, it’s kind of rare. Not to mention that when it does happen it still takes time for enough sediment to pile on top till the algae is deep enough the pressure and heat can convert it. So again, even though it takes about 10 million years to naturally convert, the time to be buried, heated, and converted takes 200-400 million years.
Issue 2 – Escaping the ground on it’s own.
Once the algae becomes oil it has another problem, if the rock above is porous the oil will seep up to the surface. Remember oil is lighter than water and rock, as water seeps down cracks in the ground it displaces oil and forces it to the surface. Once up it is broken down in a natural reaction by heat and organisms at the surface.
In southern Utah as a kid I remember coming across crack in the rock that had tar squeezing out from in between. This is deep in nationally protected areas, miles away from any roads. At first I wondered why people sealed a crack in the desert with tar, then I realized it must be natural tar, now I know it’s natural petroleum products seeping to the surface and breaking down in the heat.
So for oil to survive it needs to be trapped into a reservoir capped with non-porous rock until somebody drills through the rock and it can squirt up the well.
Issue 3- Oil quality
Sounds funny but not all petroleum is created equal. Saudi Crude Oil is of such a high quality it’s almost already refined and ready for use. Other forms of petroleum can be so poor that at room temperature it solidifies to a waxy texture or in a state that additional energy needs to be added to extract it from the Kerogen and get a small amount of crude oil with a large amount of waste product. And all oil may be mixed with a contaminant like sand they need to be separated from before refinement. So even if you find a deposit of oil shale or oil sands that have oil in them, the cost of extraction is often prohibitively expensive. Back in the 1980 oil companies actually abandoned oil production through oil shale because it wasn’t economically feasible. The fact they’re returning to the oil shale now gives an idea how desperate they are for new oil sources.
This is all very relevant because the energy cost to create 1 Killowatt hour of electricity through renewable methods like solar energy is eight times that of producing the same amount with oil. Currently most people consider that to be excessively high but oil extraction from oil shale or oil sands can be 10-30 times more expensive than regular oil extraction from wells. So when compared to oil from oil shale, The total price per kilowatt including manufacturing and production, solar power production will actually become the economical alternative.
And all of this of course also ignores the ecological factors that the machinery excavating oil shale burns about the same amount diesel that they get from oil they extract, a 3 to 1 ratio of water and additional chemicals to oil is needed for each barrel of crude produced, and a lot of chemical waste is produced during extraction.
Issue 4 – Finding places that haven’t already been found
Knowing what we know above you can predict where oil will be; certain conditions can be met so by looking at the geology of an area you can tell if it’s old enough to have oil, if it’s been heated enough to convert fossils to oil, and if the rock is too porous to keep the oil from escaping.
Seems easy enough but you have to remember that you’re competing with the world’s massive oil companies and their billions upon billions of dollars in resources who have spent the last 100 years scouring the earth to find potential oil reserves. The report that oil is at peak production now and will begin to run out around 2070 has been verified by Chevron, Exxon and other oil companies themselves. They’re not just guessing or making estimates, they know because they’ve been mapping and test drilling every continent on Earth for the next big find and they know that they’re running out of places to look. BP didn’t spend millions to drill a well in the Gulf of Mexico because they wanted a challenge; they did it because it’s one of the few untapped places left that has a possibility for finding oil.
Oil really is in decline. When the worlds oil conglomerates start freaking out that we’re running out of oil you know there is trouble. When you see oil companies like BP and Exxon begin diverting massive amounts of their revenue to renewable forms of energy production don’t fool yourself that they’re doing it to make everybody feel warm and fuzzy about saving the earth. They’re doing it to save themselves. It’s their job to know where oil is and if they can see it’s running out the only smart thing to do is to diversify into what energy production methods they think will take its place.
And even though the earth will always have a pocket of oil here or a reserve of waxy bitumen petroleum there, if it’s not economically feasible to extract and convert it it might as well be useless sludge. As demand rises, and resources fall the crossing point where oil is a feasible source of energy will be passed and all the currently “expensive” forms of renewable energy production will become the “cheap” forms of energy production.
The writing is on the wall and the people who will be best prepared for the changeover will be those who get in on the ground floor now.
We all know that China is the most populous country in the world and India is nipping at its heels. But not many people know that third place is our own United States of America. That’s right, the bronze medal in the "Holy Fuck that’s alot of people!" category is the USA.
As big as this nation is its not immediately apparent but when you think about it it makes perfect sense. A majority of Americans believe its their religious duty to populate the earth, and they’re succeeding quite well. Here in Utah 10-12 member families is common.
This is one of the many reasons why our housing is being crammed into smaller and smaller quarters. Much like Japan we’re bumping up against a resource ceiling that keeps us packed into cities. Although ours has less to do with physical space as it does with fresh water abundance/distribution and driving distances/time between locations. When I see the cramped expensive living conditions in Japan I wince; but we’re not really that far off.
Anyway, as kid I always looked forward to moving into a house surrounded by a yard so large it would seem like a home in a forest in the mountains. It seems that a large yard surrounding a small home is a thing of the past.
Update: Other reasons for homes separated by 3ft:
-Realtor Greed. Why sell one home in an acre when you can sell 8?
-Pride. My house is bigger than yours (even if there no room to walk in between them).
-Gluttony. How many of us have full rooms full of stuff we will never use before we die?
-Extravagance. I need 3 more garages for the Hummer, Escalade, and Jet-Skis
It makes me pine for the simple, isolated life Dick Proenneke (from "Alone in the Wilderness") lived with for the last 30 years of his life.
One word. Convenience.
I’ve harped on it before but mankind leans towards laziness when fat and content. And America which has been rich and powerful for most of the last 100 years has developed one of the laziest cultures. Now that’s not to say we wont do things; we just tend not to go out of our way to do something extra if we can’t see an immediate self serving benefit.
Back to the subject of recycling. Most Americans would be willing to recycle in our everyday lives if its convenient to us. Businesses and community/state/federal can take advantage of this by making recycling easy. At home this is simply done by providing curbside garbage AND recycling programs. Provide a recycling can and bi-weekly pickup and watch people learn to sort their garbage for recycling on their own. We have it here in SLC and it’s great, people sort their own garbage as much as possible and out dupms don’t grow as fast.
Now businesses and city planners need to get involved next to cleanup the other 50% of our garbage, all that from, parks, public areas, businesses, fast food and restaurants. Compare the garbages in US fast food joints (above) with the ones in Japan (below). It may seem daunting at first, especialy when you don’t read the language but images if it were all in english telling you where to put what. And anybody who has worked in food services immediately sees how magnificent a special drain for all foodstuffs and liquids to keep it out of the garbage. It’s practically an American teenage rite of passage to get a first job at a fast food restaurant; and we all remember taking out the trash, heaving it into the dumpster while vile trash liquids spilled down our silly uniforms. Those teenagers and those of us who remember that look at Japanese trash cans and think, “Why didn’t we think of that 30 years ago?”
Quick description from left to right:
Combustibles (paper), Non-combustibles (plastics), above: a drain for the liquids and ice, and finally a bin for recyclable plastics like water bottles etc.
I’m willing to sort plastics and combustibles at a can if I’m just provided the opportunity and convenience. Over there almost every garbage can was at least divided into combustibles and non-combustibles; and next to every vending machine (and there are alot!) they have a special garbage can for your empty plastic bottles. Imagine that!
Coke, Pepsi, and every other drink vendor should be all over this. Not only does it give them a ready source of plastic to remake into new bottles; but what is the first thing that somebody thinks as they throw away their empty bottle?
“You know what I could use? ANOTHER DRINK!”
So how comes it’s been decades and we still haven’t figured out to do these simple win-win strategies over here?