You are here

Recycling lies: Auditor General exposes DSE and municipal recycling as mostly useless spin

No Surprise: The Department of Sustainability and municipal councils' positions on recycling have long been an insult to the intelligence of the population. The auditor general's report should also be used to expose "Green" groups that collude with government on this nonsense and to muzzle sustainable population voices. The audit found that the Department of Sustainability and Environment, Sustainability Victoria, the Environment Protection Authority, the Metropolitan Waste Management Group, one regional waste management group and four municipal councils have not effectively fulfilled their roles in implementing the strategy, resulting in ineffective planning, leadership, coordination, and oversight. And gee, we are not going to meet our so-called target of Towards Zero Waste Strategy by 2014.

Flattr this

Recycling lies

The audit found that the Department of Sustainability and Environment, Sustainability Victoria, the Environment Protection Authority, the Metropolitan Waste Management Group, one regional waste management group and four municipal councils have not effectively fulfilled their roles in implementing the strategy, resulting in ineffective planning, leadership, coordination, and oversight. No surprise that the so-called target of Towards Zero Waste Strategy outcomes being achieved by 2014 in relation to municipal solid waste won't be met. It is particularly shameful is that the Government and colluding Greenish groups have consistently tried to drown out concern about overpopulation by marketing recycling as if it were much more effective than it could possibly be. The questionnaires for the annual event of the Sustainable Living Festival have consistently required environmental groups to rabbit on about what they manufacture and the recycling they do, which places nature preservation and overpopulation groups at a false disadvantage since most are not in business or manufacturing and have little or no built space.

Municipal Solid Waste Management

This audit examined whether waste management and resource recovery actions have been effective and efficient in achieving the Towards Zero Waste Strategy objectives and targets for municipal solid waste. It reviewed the activities of the Department of Sustainability and Environment, Sustainability Victoria, the Environment Protection Authority, the Metropolitan Waste Management Group, one regional waste management group and four municipal councils.

The audit found that Sustainability Victoria and the Department of Sustainability and Environment have not effectively fulfilled their roles in implementing the strategy, resulting in ineffective planning, leadership, coordination, and oversight.

Sustainability Victoria has missed an opportunity to review and modify the strategy to improve its effectiveness. It also missed an opportunity to review its own practices. This has diminished the prospect of the Towards Zero Waste Strategy outcomes being achieved by 2014 in relation to municipal solid waste.

Link to audit summary and full report:
http://www.audit.vic.gov.au/reports_and_publications/latest_reports/2010-11/20110629_municipal_waste.aspx">

In his Short Report (Tabled in Parliament: 29 June 2011) the Auditor General states:

"The 2005 Sustainability in Action: Towards Zero Waste Strategy (TZW) set statewide objectives and targets to reduce the amount of solid waste generated and increase recovery rates for individual waste streams—thereby decreasing waste disposal to landfills. It also set out to reduce litter.

Sustainability Victoria and the Department of Sustainability and Environment have not effectively fulfilled their roles in implementing the strategy, resulting in ineffective planning, leadership, coordination, and oversight.

While Victoria met four out of six mid-term TZW targets, progress related to the municipal solid waste sector, a significant source of organic waste, and therefore greenhouse gasses, has been slow. Waste generation continues to rise above expectations and little improvement in reducing this rate of increase is envisaged over the remainder of the strategy's life.

Sustainability Victoria has missed an opportunity to thoroughly review the strategy and modify it to improve its effectiveness. It has also missed an opportunity to review its own practices in light of its lead role and the existing level of underperformance. This has diminished the prospect of TZW outcomes being achieved by 2014 in relation to municipal solid waste."

No Surprise

The Department of Sustainability and municipal councils' positions on recycling have long been an insult to the intelligence of the population. The only surprise is that some relatively intelligent people have actually bought the spin. A year or two ago I was amazed to hear a man in charge of a big bit of a large hospital talk about how "We" were all getting on top of environmental problems by recycling. Childlike, he gave an example of how a surgical department had produced a plastic chair from recycled plastic products. Apparently it was being displayed as an example of progress on the problem of pollution and drawdown on resources - as if this were merely something that could be fixed by engineering.

People need to realise that disposable goods and the scale of manufacturing and consumption is laughably unsustainable. It is a sick joke.

About the only useful recycling possible for most of us to practice regularly is that applied on a small scale at home in composting.

Recycling the Emperor's new clothes

No attention is given to the amount of fuel used and pollution generated by recycling inorganic and highly processed materials (such as plastic) on a large scale. No attention is given to the childish math problem of how you cannot meaningfully reduce energy and pollution when you are increasing production and consumption. When recycling is done 'for profit' the problem is even more ridiculous. You can bet that the community, the tax payer, is underwriting scams that use trucks and factories and all sorts of fuels for transport and reprocessing of manufactured bits and pieces. For instance the late Richard Pratt, who was often trotted out as some kind of hero by the growth-extremist Victorian Government under Bracks, had a major business, subsidised by the public, getting stuff from councils and sending it on boats to Taiwan for reprocessing. How anyone could have been fooled by the recycling paradigm in gross or in detail is hard to imagine. Unfortunately the story of the Emperor's New Clothes effectively portrays the unsophisticated state of the nation - and of most peak environment groups (including the ACF, which for a long time effectively promoted Dick Pratt as some kind of business-man eco-hero on this issue) the Greens and the Friends of the Earth. The most shameful thing about this unrealistic and misleading position is how the same groups have used and abused it to deter Australians from acting quickly to stop overpopulation. Again and again they have effectively frightened people from speaking out on high immigration, yet have offered nothing in aggregate of any net effectiveness to help us all avoid catastrophy.

Effective recycling

Glass recycling can be very effective, but the use of returnable bottles has been almost entirely phased out. The reason is false profit at the expense of the community because more money is to be made by manufacturers in churning out petroleum-based disposable containers of extremely overpriced lollywater, diabetagenic fruits and juices and fatty sugary milks. In some cases some plastics are inconveniently and fuel and pollution expensively somewhat recyclable. They don't compare to glass. Overwhelmingly the main feature of glass containers is their durability. Broken glass for reforming is already a stage down in recycling value because it becomes a factory project which needs larger scales, so lots of fuel, transport etc.

Metal recycling can be very effective, as in building and construction materials.

Wood recycling in building can also be extremely effective, where we are reusing whole materials to rebuild. That is doors, lintels, roof-pieces, glass. The idea is to carefully take a building apart and use the materials again. This should happen without transporting those materials over great distances, using fossil fuels.

Manufactured goods recycling:

Tools should also be available for people to borrow or hire cheaply from local governments, instead of so many households having their own fossil-fuel expensive drills, sanders etc.

The fact that no state or federal government seriously supports any of the above effective recycling, yet all of them abuse the notion of recycling for profit, is a condemnation of our leaders.

James Sinnamon, the owner and creator of this internet site, candobetter.net, has long proposed that building materials and tools be held in depots by local governments for reuse by anyone who needs them. Unfortunately a serious accident from which he is still recovering has made it impossible for him to push these projects as effectively as he would wish or to persevere in running for political office on them in the foreseeable future.

Bio-gases

Small-scale local production of cooking gases from compost is also effective, but probably not when communities try to make a profit on selling the gas because the economies of small-scale disappear and transport requires subsidies.

Sewage waste recycling

Sewage waste can be effectively recycled or more properly made into clean water and soil components by allowing it to be processed on a managable scale through natural systems. This is already done by a lot of sewerage systems which are state subsidised or managed.

Medical Instruments waste

Compare the massive use of plastic disposable needles and syringes with the earlier practice of metal and glass syringes and needles which were actually disinfected and reused time and again by hospitals. Similarly, instead of disposable plastic packs, reusable towels and metal instruments were used for small-scale operations and large ones. It required more permanent and responsible staff, more local water and fuel (but less globally) and more time, plus generally more careful and thoughtful practice. The style runs counter to the flashy and wasteful use of resources and human resources for rapid and spurious efficiency of modern hospital practice.

AttachmentSize
Image icon recycling-lies-tiny.jpg4.34 KB
Image icon recycling-lies.jpg13.67 KB

Comments

All the emphasis on "sustainability" and recycling is a distraction, a "feel good" technique, so that the public are lulled into thinking they are doing something for the environment to offset their carbon and ecological footprints. It's all greenwashing! Our governments are doing quite the contrary, with their adherence to a growth-based economy, consumption rates and population growth. It's just distracting from the real and unmanageable amount of pollution, waste products, and greenhouse gas emissions being raised each year and distributed.
While our population is being imposed upon to keep adapting to growth, our economies of scale for waste collection are blowing out, utilities are more expensive because we are forced to pay for expanding infrastructure needs, and our eating habits are also ignored.
Higher density housing is denying people a chance to live sustainably and do their "bit" for recycling, food growing, solar panels and water harvesting.
The livestock industries and junk food means methane emissions, massive water consumption, environmental polluting waste, and waste collection. Even "green" and climate change groups often ignore population growth.
Recycling and the zero waste strategies are the band-aid when the monster in the room is population growth! Nothing can be planned or addressed properly while our communities are still growing, and no closure will be found until we stabilise our swelling numbers. Growth keeps outstripping solutions!

Has your council told you what it wants you to do with your recyclables? Mine hasn't!

I vote that we all send our recyclables to pile on Cardboard King Richard Pratt's grave, to the Committee for Melbourne headquarters, to Steve Bracks's front lawn, to Victorian Parliament. It's a pity that we cannot just dump all our 'recyclables' on the ridiculous Sustainable Living Festival, that makes participants fill out questionnaires about their footprints and prioritizes the ridiculous furphy of 'recycling', but doesn't ask us if we have children. Reduce, Reuse and Recycle - what crap - our governments and big business want us to work more to produce more stuff to consume more stuff.

The Age, "A billion kilograms of recycling in need of a new home, A change to Chinese law has Australia scrambling to deal with vast quantities of rubbish," by Mark Solomons, 9 APRIL 2018

"The scale of Australia's recycling crisis is twice as bad as initially feared, with new figures showing that well over a million tonnes of metal, paper and plastics previously sent to China now has to be accommodated elsewhere.

Such a vast amount of rubbish is hard to wrap your head around, so we've converted the figures to regular household recycling items. The illustrations are indicative only, because the range of materials recycled in each category is much broader and includes building waste, industrial packaging and many other types."

But this should give you some indication of the amount of rubbish we're talking about. Remember, this is material that was once exported to China that is now, largely, piling up at Australian waste centres.

920,000 tonnes of paper and cardboard That's a newspaper sheet covering an area of 22,255 square kilometres."

And the same thing is going to come of technological fixes in other areas.

I knew it was a con, but the constant supply of collections by my local council meant that I became used to getting rid of the plastic, paper and metal stuff. I just refurnished a room, which meant emptying a few bookcases, which contained, as well as books, old videotapes, as well as an awful lot of dvds (can't imagine when I bought them, let alone watched them). All the bins inside the house are full, and so is the recycle bin. What happens when they stop taking away the recycle bin? And the hard rubbish collection?

Everything we buy comes in a packet. I bought myself a new queen size bed and even that came wrapped in plastic which after I inquired, the home wares owner said he would be taking to the tip. It doesn't matter what we buy, it comes wrapped in either plastic, polystyrene, paper, cardboard or whatever that at best gets recycled, buried or burnt.

The world is swimming in rubbish. You only have to have a gander at the rubbish the Great Pacific Garbage Patch, the beach, our waterways, all public access areas and it is only going to get worse. Welcome to the neoliberal world of rampant consumerism where anything for a quick buck and economic growth is OK. Bugger the environment!!