Save The Environment: Stop Recycling!

Due to the UK's stringent recycling laws and high dump fees, apparently much of its waste is being sent to China for recycling. For some strange reason, this surprises some people. Recycling is labor-intensive work, and environmental regulations only make it more expensive, so it shouldn't surprise anyone that it can be cheaper to ship something to China, where labor is cheap and environmental regulations are mostly nonexistent, than it is to try to recycle it locally.

Amusingly enough, people are complaining about plastic's being burned and polluting the air, and contaminants getting into the rivers. Funny, I don't remember anyone ever complaining about plastic leaking out of landfills into the water supply. If the Brits really want to save the environment, perhaps they should consider high-temperature incinerators or going back to using landfills.

P.S. It's interesting that the Guardian calls this a "market failure" of the "recycling market," when it's clearly the quite normal and predictable response of the market to unreasonable constraints put upon it by regulators.

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_Funny, I don’t remember

_Funny, I don’t remember anyone ever complaining about plastic leaking out of landfills into the water supply._

Um, I thought that the worry about dumping plastic into landfills was that it doesn't biodegrade (or at least not for a _really_ long time). So it makes some sense that no one would have this particular worry as dumping into landfills wouldn't have the effect of polluting groudwater, no?

Ah, from the article, it is

Ah, from the article, it is clearly privately handled. Explains a lot.

I'd like to know whether

I'd like to know whether recycling is publicly or privately handled in the UK.

And, don't forget -- the

And, don't forget -- the recycling trucks burn fuel and something has to power the recycling plants (coal? nukes?).

privately handled but

privately handled but publically enforced. It's a forced market.

Yup, so it can't pollute the

Yup, so it can't pollute the groundwater. Can someone explain to me what exactly the problem is with plastic's not biodegrading? I hear rock doesn't biodegrade so well, either, yet nobody complains about its being buried in the ground.

Personally I prefer high temperature incineration or thermal depolymerization (assuming TDP ever becomes economically viable) to landfills, but I really don't see the problem with burying plastic. It's better than burning it at low temperature or forcing people to recycle it at greater cost. It also doesn't smell bad, unlike a lot of stuff that gets buried in landfills.