October 2015
environmental education made easy

The death of recycling is often pronounced, but those of us who work to educate about comprehensive solid waste management practices today know that solid waste requires a hierarchy of efforts for sustainable materials management (SMM). And that hierarchy includes all 3Rs: reducing, reusing, and then recycling. 

The recent op-ed by John Tierney on the front page of the October 3, 2015 New York Times' Sunday Review led to an outcry from the recycling and solid waste management communities as they worked to contradict his piece. Just this week, there was an excellent post on Waste Dive about the positive economic impacts of recycling.

When the public is led astray by misleading information, our job as educators becomes even more important. How will you reinforce your message? Let us help you keep your environmental communication up to the minute with a minimal amount of staff time. If you want to know more about how we can help, please call or email me.

Let's make "much ado" about recycling together!

Elizabeth Roe
Eco Partners
NYT Recycling Slam:
Much Ado About Nothing?
Photo credit: Stock.com | Suchota
To recycle or not to recycle, that is the question.

That is not exactly the question Shakespeare had Hamlet pose, but it is the question posed recently by John Tierney on the front page of the October 3, 2015 New York Times' Sunday Review in his article, "The Reign of Recycling."

Tierney presents arguments which propose that current recycling programs cost more than they are worth. For those around on June 30, 1996, this article has a similar theme to his first attack on recycling, "Recycling is Garbage" also published in the New York Times. Those who read his pieces will find Tierney to be a good writer, creatively comparing America and its recycling efforts in his first piece to the story of the pilgrim and muckraker in John Bunyan's The Pilgrim's Progress. He builds a strong case. You can just imagine Tierney building an argument as a debate team member.

And perhaps that's what he's doing. In a 2001 profile about him written for The American Prospect by Chris Mooney, he was asked about his New York Times piece. Tierney replied, "I could write something about the good side of recycling ... But everybody else writes that."

His recent article has been refuted by many recycling advocates. Here are a sampling of posts we think are especially well-done. For a quick summary of the economic and environmental benefits of recycling, read the Waste Dive article, "Insiders' View on the Economic Benefits of Recycling," which was written by SWANA Executive Director and CEO David Biderman, along with representatives of Keep America Beautiful and the Institute of Scrap Recycling Industries.

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