I am all for recycling. We need to reuse and re-purpose as many items as possible. Of the three Rs of recycling – Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – Reducing would lessen the need for Reusing and Recycling. Recycling, although a positive thing, still uses energy and has some questionable, to me, long term consequences.
Having been a landscaper for many years, I’ve seen a lot of people opt for plastic lumber for walkways, walls and planting beds. Great stuff! It is made of recycled plastic and does not rot, like wood. Exactly. Does not rot.
Will. Never. Decompose.
Although my neighbor’s walkways look good all the time, never weathered, never showing signs of age, never rotting, at some point, when someone else comes in and remodels, those walkways, that plastic that was once saved from the landfill, will eventually get thrown away. One question I have is – 20, 30, 100, 200+ years down the road, will there be enough landfill space to accommodate today’s recycled plastics?
I just read an article about a New Zealand man who recycles plastic trash into bricks to use in landscapes and other outdoor settings. He would like to see his product used for sustainable emergency housing where natural disasters wreak havoc.
This is an honorable task, since it minimizes landfill waste and could shelter people in need, but think about it. What will happen to those landscapes and homes long after you and I are gone?
See what you can do to Reduce your use of plastics. Today.
(Just as I was getting ready to post this, I found this on Triple Pundit – Landfills: A Viable Alternative to Recycling?. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.)
(photo flickr D’Arcy Norman)