Is Recycling Worth It?

Recycling doesn’t come for free. It costs millions to pickup, sort and process all those plastic bottles, aluminum cans and cardboard pizza boxes we discard.

As if the recession hasn’t dug its claws into enough budgets and bottom lines, here’s another victim to add to its fiscal hit list: recycling programs. According to the most recent data from the Environmental Protection Agency, more than 200 curbside recycling programs got the ax between 2002 and 2008. In 2008, the market for many recycled materials also dropped severely; recycled tin took a particularly deep plunge from $327 per ton to $5 per ton. Prices have recovered in past couple years, though not to pre-recession highs. But not everyone would interpret recycling downturns as bad news. Although it’s the go-to green habit in many homes, recycling has attracted its fair share of critics along the way.

Big Think Edge
  • The meaning of the word 'confidence' seems obvious. But it's not the same as self-esteem.
  • Confidence isn't just a feeling on your inside. It comes from taking action in the world.
  • Join Big Think Edge today and learn how to achieve more confidence when and where it really matters.
Videos
  • Prejudice is typically perpetrated against 'the other', i.e. a group outside our own.
  • But ageism is prejudice against ourselves — at least, the people we will (hopefully!) become.
  • Different generations needs to cooperate now more than ever to solve global problems.


Active ingredient in Roundup found in 95% of studied beers and wines

The controversial herbicide is everywhere, apparently.

(MsMaria/Shutterstock)
Surprising Science
  • U.S. PIRG tested 20 beers and wines, including organics, and found Roundup's active ingredient in almost all of them.
  • A jury on August 2018 awarded a non-Hodgkin's lymphoma victim $289 million in Roundup damages.
  • Bayer/Monsanto says Roundup is totally safe. Others disagree.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists see 'rarest event ever recorded' in search for dark matter

The team caught a glimpse of a process that takes 18,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 years.

Image source: Pixabay
Surprising Science
  • In Italy, a team of scientists is using a highly sophisticated detector to hunt for dark matter.
  • The team observed an ultra-rare particle interaction that reveals the half-life of a xenon-124 atom to be 18 sextillion years.
  • The half-life of a process is how long it takes for half of the radioactive nuclei present in a sample to decay.
Keep reading Show less