Asked in Waste and Recycling
Why can't the government have garbage Trucks go to recycling center instead of landfills?
The biggest problem with recycling in general is to get the various types of garbage separated for recovery. In general people throw all their waste, mixed up, in a bag and put it out for pick-up.
So ... to recycle you first have to separate the waste into tin cans, glass, various types ofplastic, organic waste, board, bricks and dangerous materials (toxics, sharps, poisons, explosives etc.) This can happen either before garbage pick up or after receipt at the disposal site.
Homeowners will do some of this - take bottles back for the deposit, newspapers to special bins, wet garbage to the composter. However this is not enough, there have to be separate places for all the other materials too. This system can be improved with more options for garbage cans and using garbage trucks with separate compartments fo each type of waste.
Some cities have opted to pick up the garbage as one wet soggy mess and sort it out at the disposal site. The waste gets a pre-sort to get used tires and old fridges out of the general garbage and is then ground up into cornflake sized pieces and separated by machines. Light bits are blown out with air blasts, iron and other magnetic materials are removed with magnets, lighter than water things float up in water baths while heavier materials (Glaas chunks, copper and aluminum) sink. The collected organics are digested (eaten by bacteria to create methane and compost). In the end little goes to the disposal site.
Sounds good - yes? But the process is expensive and dangerous. One system in Toronto got a live anti-tank shell in the general garbage that blew the side out of the grinder soon after the facility opened. Alternate opinion: The only people who make money on recycling are the businesses who are in the recycling business. Other than that, it's a waste of time and taxpayer money. In 2004, it cost the taxpayers 8,000,000,000.00 dollars, (that's 8 billion dollars).