Fact Check: Reign of Recycling

The New York Times (NYT Opinion) printed an opinion piece by John Tierney (@JohnTierneyNYC) that astounded us by the sheer number of inaccurate statements and misrepresentations about the economic and environmental impact of the recycling industry. We thought it would be helpful to point a bunch of them out and share third-party, verifiable sources.

-Closed Loop Fund Team

Here are the sources cited above:

  1. Recycling is Not Garbage, MIT Technology Review, 1997
  2. EPA recycling rates
  3. Pricing chart for all landfills and transfer stations where NYC sends waste, the average price is over $100
  4. NYC Department of Sanitation Borough Collection statistics
  5. Recycling Expansion sources
    * Pratt Industries News Release 1 and 2
    * QRS-Canusa facility
    * According to Alan Handley, CEO of Lakeshore Recycling Systems (the leading recycling companies in Chicago), due to capacity constraints experienced at peak times, his three Chicagoland MRF facilities have been unable to process over 100,000 tons of recyclable material in the last year.
    * Canada Glass Processing Technology
  6. Adam Minter blog post, Author of Junkyard Planet
  7. Reason Foundation author bio
  8. Fresh Kills Closure
  9. United Nations Environment Program Global Environmental Alert Service Bulletin
  10. UNEP OECD Recycling Rates
  11. Newtown Creek Anaerobic Digestor
  12. EPA yard waste percentage
  13. Recycling plastics and GHG calculations:
    U.S. carbon footprint for 2013 = 6,673 million metric tons
    2/10 of 1% of 6,673m = 13,346,000 metric tons
    2012 plastic waste discarded = 28.95 million tons
    Recycling this plastic will reduce 31,015,624 metric tons of GHG
    Bonus: 31MMT of GHG =
    6m cars off the road, more than the number of cars registered in the county of Los Angeles!
  14. NYC Department of Sanitation public budget
  15. St. Louis toxic waste landfill fire