Cycle and Recycle: gorgeous photos of the European recycling process

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For shame, everyone else.


it would be interesting to know how this compares to poor regions of the world (like central African countries) - I think it’s likely that the recycling/reusing quota is higher there, not because of ecological reasons but economical.


When I was in China you’d see a lot of poorer people collecting bottles and other recyclables, which would be sorted in central areas. I don’t think anything like as high a proportion was recycled as in Europe though - it wasn’t very well organised on the whole and waste wouldn’t be separated for recycling before throwing it out. I’m not sure about other countries, but non-reusable plastic is very cheap and plentiful… On the other hand, western countries make a lot of waste and proportions on their own don’t tell the full story.

It’s interesting to see this effect at the individual level: we currently have one 60 litre bin for all non-recyclables, and we have at least five adults and two kids in the house on any day (we had 6 guests over the weekend too). Now that the kids are out of diapers, the bin isn’t usually full by the end of the week. It’s pretty amazing to see how effective reducing packaging, composting and recycling can be, even without working too hard at eliminating every piece of waste.


Big fan of composting. I love food, but I don’t eat every radish top, or limp Carrot, or hell coffee grounds (I stopped drinking coffee, but friends/housemates do). When I was in OR I would top up 2 55 gallon (208 liter) tubs a year with scraps, valuable garden clippings, a bit of grass, and a little dirt.

Garden gold.


You don’t have to go to China to see poor people collecting cans and bottles. It’s a cottage industry even here in one of the wealthiest parts of the United States. My local recycling place often has hour-long lines of people cashing in enormous tubs of plastic and aluminum — glass is heavy and generally not worth the effort at 10¢ vs. $1 to $1.75 per pound. And then there’s construction and automotive debris; clean copper won’t put your kids through college but it’ll get you a fifth and a shitty roof over your head for the night. Don’t ask how I know.


That’s true, but it doesn’t tend to be their full-time job in the same way as it can be in poorer countries. I’ve been to a number of countries where you see people going through other people’s refuse for anything that they could use or sell, but there’s still a lot left behind that is basically worthless, and not all of the useful waste will be recycled. In Germany, most plastic bottles come with a $0.30 deposit which you get back when you return the bottles to a machine. This means something to the person buying drinks, so they’re more likely to buy fewer bottles or to bring them back consistently.

Clean lead and other materials can also leave you with a shitty roof over your head if someone decides to steal it.


why would you make a roof out of lead

that is the dumbest material to make a roof out of

ETA: @shaddack will probs chime in with dumber materials, plutonium or neutron stars or something.


Some older buildings such as churches have lead roofs, or lead flashing. Copper, stainless steel and other materials get stolen too.

Railways can also be targets, as there are many metals that are worth something on the recycled metals market (albeit a small fraction of what it can cost to replace the stolen materials) and it can be difficult to protect large areas from theft.


Well shut my mouth and call me Sally. “Saint” Peter was an ass though. Anyone who takes anything from that self-aggrandizing fraud is welcome to it IMNSHO.

I heard about a problem in Tirana, Albania a number of years ago - people were stealing manhole covers as fast as they were being replaced, so the local government had to replace 4,000 missing covers in the city with concrete.

There is a traveler’s guide to Moscow that takes pains to warn against stepping on manholes, because there’s a good chance the manhole will fail and you will wind up in a sewer with broken legs. In Russia.


Well, it is relatively inexpensive, it is soft, malleable and easy-ish to work with, to make watertight joints. It also does not corrode much over time. So it is a fairly good choice for this purpose, or at least for the difficult parts like the flashings around chimneys or the roof edges.

Well, plutonium is rather unsuitable. If the cost would not stop us, the corrosion will. It corrodes FAST. And its metallurgy is a minor hell; look at the phase diagram and you’ll see a mess. That’s what you get for the f-orbitals that are filled just enough to be between several different energy levels; add or subtract just a bit of energy and you get a different preferred configuration, preferred spatial arrangement, and therefore different crystallographic phase. Voila, phase changes galore. You can stabilize it with a little of gallium, though.

Neutron stars, now that’s dense stuff, man.


I love you, man.


Not just Albania. Manhole covers were going missing near my parents’ place in the UK a few years back.


And hereabouts in Utah.

They all have little plastic GPS devices stuck to them now.

edit: I should clarify that I assume they’re GPS devices. I really don’t know. But they pretty clearly contain some kind of radio.


Now I’m interested in the electronic gizmo. Where can I steal such a gully cover?

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I’ll grab a lat/long next time I see one. :slight_smile:


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