Is recycling a scam?

You can’t help but read info graphics and memes that pitch hydrocarbon vehicles against electric and overstate the potential damaging effect of both.

So where does the truth lie? In this digitally driven world, the truth is often swept under some virtual carpet and is increasingly harder to find.

But I know I used to make money recycling and now it costs me a pile of money. I wouldn’t mind except some giant corporation somewhere is making a pile of money from my waste.

In the U.K., I ran a printing company and my waste paper (unsorted, I might add) would fetch a handsome price. The highest bidder would contribute to the factory lunch fund and we could treat the staff a few times each month.

Then, I moved to Canada where recycling became a privilege. It’s so much of a privilege that I had to pay to recycle and I had to sort. 

If a U.K. company could buy my recycling waste, make recycled products and then sell them back to me at a premium (because it is also a privilege to buy recycled products), then why can't the same happen in Canada?

My wife insists I am nuts for not sorting, but really? We have a few bright, university students who can figure this out — plastic usually floats, paper usually pulps and metal usually sinks. Put it all in a giant vat of water, scrape the plastic off the top, scoop the metal off the bottom and dry the rest and you have paper pulp.


Does it really cost that much? Apparently.

So ask this question? Who makes the money in the middle and why? The municipality? A private contractor? 

It is triple dipping. We get charged by someone to pick up our recyclable garbage who then sells it to someone who manufactures something and sells it back to us at a higher price, which we then have to pay to get picked up. etc.

It sucks. 

I would also hazard a guess that the power consumption and outputs (negative) from recycling may not be as net neutral as we would like.

In fact, not recycling may be greener, but heaven forbid that anyone would even suggest such a thing. It’s a bit like questioning whether an electric car is green.

Let’s not forget that once a Hollywood starlet puts her name behind an idea or concept, it must be true.

I don’t know what the real answer is, but I do know that I miss my staff lunches, and I can no longer afford to treat them because I have to pay to recycle.


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About the Author

Mark has been an entrepreneur for over forty years. His experience spans many commercial sectors and aspects of business. He was one of the youngest people to be appointed as a Fellow of the prestigious Institute of Sales and Marketing Management before he left the UK in 1988.

His column focuses on ways we can improve on success in our lives. Whether it is business, relationships, or health, Mark has a well-rounded perspective on how to stay focused for growth and development.

His influences come from the various travels he undertakes as an adventurer, philanthropist and keynote speaker. More information can be found on Mark at his website www.markjenningsbates.com

He is a Venture Partner with www.DutchOracle.com a global Alternative Investment company.

Mark Jennings-Bates:
[email protected]

Photo credit: www.SteveAustin.ca 

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

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