The Other I

August 18, 2008

The glories of garbage

Given the chance, human ingenuity seems to be without limits.  I’ve just read that the recycling industry in America is now mining rubbish tips.  Discarded plastic at present-day prices is worth $400 a ton, which makes it worth the effort to dig it back up.  Landfills also yield worthwhile amounts of valuable metals like copper and aluminum.*  So recyclers are planning to start digging up rubbish here in Engand too.

We in the Western world are catching up with less developed countries, where trash poses different opportunities.  In India, every ounce of rubbish is combed through by thousands of people, many of whom subsist on their earnings from recycling everything that can possibly be sold for re-use.

*What in America is called aluminum in Britain is called aluminium.  There was a mistake in spelling on the customs forms when aluminium was first sent to the States and it never got corrected.  As they say in the song “you say tom-ay-toes, we say tom-ah-toes…”

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