Recycling posts

Ideas: Waste material as shade structures

I saw an article about cities doing various things to reduce heat, including lighter road surfaces and planting trees. Trees provide good shade and reduce temperatures, and are generally good for the environment, but can require quite a bit of water for dry areas. I got to thinking that we could build artificial tree-like structures to provide shade. But it would require a lot of material, and it would be undesirable cost-wise and environmentally to dig up new materials for this purpose. So I wondered about building them from waste materials.

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Waste Handling

There should be a government, or perhaps commercially, run organization which handles any sort of good people no longer want. If you don’t want something, you either take it to one of their locations, or have them pick it up. They will take anything at all.

The organization will take all goods given to them and handle them through the appropriate channel.
-Recycleable goods will be sent to an appropriate recycling facility: goods such as styrofoams that are recycled in only select areas will be shipped in bulk to that area.
-Lawn debri and other compostable items will be sent to composting facilities to be used by local farms.
-Consumer goods still useable, such as old toys or electronics, will be resold in second-hand type stores or given to needy folks
-Construction material still useable will be made available to construction companies or to homeowners
-Any items that cannot be disposed of by any other reasonable means will be sent to landfills
The avenues through which each type of item is sent may either be run by the organization or through independant organizations that most properly fit the orgs needs.

The organization will need to be large spread to be economically feasable and be able to appropriately handle all types of goods. This is hard to do for startup independant companies. The org will likely have to be either an already established company that has the means to handle it, maybe even a consortium of several companies; or something like a state or federal government agency, or perhaps a consortium of local governments.

There would be charges for items the organization cannot make money off of appropriate to the costs incurred for that amount of that type of item. There will also be nominal fees for on-site pickup of items. For items the org does make money off of, the remainder of income after costs incurred by the org for handling it will be given to the discarder, either by an estimate based on similar items at the time of discarding, or later through some sort of well set up account system.

ReUse: Trickle Down

Now old products being replaced with new models become the new models for people who can’t afford the newest.

New technology is often too expensive for poorer people, but usually eventually becomes adopted by. Technology is always being developed, requiring manufacture and purchase of new products to get the new features. The old products still exist though, and are worth less because they no longer need to be manufactured and don’t have all features of a new product. These products are then affordable to more people. With each iteration of revisions, the first product of a kind becomes affordable to more and more people, while later revisions bring new features to those who can’t afford new, but can afford better than the oldest. Older products begin making their way into “third world” countries as well, bringing them the ‘higher’ standard of living of the more developed nations. As an example, cell-phones are constantly revised and the new ones are purchased to replace the old, leaving many temporarily unneeded. If they are sent back to the manufacturer to be ‘recycled’, they are sold in poorer countries for a third of the price of the new models, making these countries able to afford them when otherwise they couldn’t.

A good reuse system should contribute to the trickle down affect, bringing a ‘higher’ standard of living to more people.

Examples of items not so long ago used exclusively by the rich only, but now spread everywhere:
-clothes washing and drying machines
-dish washing machines
-in-house plumbing


Any product that is still functioning, yet is no longer wanted by the owner, can be used by somebody else. There will virtually always be someone who needs a given product. Costs will be lowered by reusing these products rather than making new ones.

Waste Recycling

Recycling is an important and necessary method of waste and resource management. In this method, products no longer useful by the people possessing them are taken, often dismantled and remanufactured, and then resold to be reused.

Resource Management

Recycling allows us to reuse resources already removed from the ground, forest, or other location. Instead of gathering more, we simply take what we have and convert it into a form that allows it to be reused, reducing the load on the natural resource consumption and slowing the pace of depleting the almost non-renewable resources. Recycling will also often require less energy and/or money than collecting more of the equivelant resource. The costs would be reduced further through larger scale, more efficient recycling programs.

Waste Management

Recycling prevents a potentially very large portion of our waste from being shred up into a mixed collection of materials made toxic by some of its contents that is then piled in a heap that will require clean up at some point in the future. The costs of recycling will be lower in the long run than costs of cleaning up the mounds of waste otherwise created. The increase in useable land and decrease in toxic seapage damaging to life are also significant benefits of recycling.

Go to Earth911 for more information about recycling and where facilities are in your area.