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Name: Saul Rosenburg
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Question:
Aside from the social results of a mandatory recycling program for the United States, what would it do for the environment and what specific things should be included in this plan?



Replies:
This is a very difficult topic both in terms of the scientific questions it raises and the political economy aspects. True recycling is difficult for many forms of garbage. Steel and aluminum cans are stars of recycling. Some products can be transformed into new products that are not recyclable at this time. Specifically, the use of some plastics (recycled) in clothes manufacture. This plastic will end up burned or in the dump eventual. Last year it was difficult to give newspaper away but this year there is a shortage of newsprint. However, the bleaching/deinking process require the use of harsh chemicals. There are biotechnological solutions to this problem being worked out now. Glass is often reused as road asphalt filler but mixed glass can not be used for manufacture of many products because the melting temperatures and strength can not be controlled. In other words recycling probably will never be a near zero sum game. For every benefit there is a trade off. Good Luck with your researches!

Michael A Lomonaco



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