John Tierney and Adam Minter's Scrap about Recycling

    The Recycling QuestionMaybe you saw the article called The Reign of Recycling by John Tierney in last Sunday’s New York Times. It’s kind of a follow up to his 1996 piece, Recycling is Garbage. While the focus is on the consumer rather than industrial recycling, it’s an interesting and timely piece considering the upheaval in the recycling business today.

    John Tierney argues that the disadvantages of recycling may far outweigh the benefits, especially when the public is uninformed on which recycling efforts they should really focus on and the most efficient way to carry out those efforts.

    In his 1996 article, he first began this argument with, “Rinsing out tuna cans and tying up newspapers may make you feel virtuous, but recycling could be America's most wasteful activity.” His current article, The Reign of Recycling by John Tierney, is a follow-up to that sentiment with updated statistics and trends to support his views.

    In response to Tierney’s article, Adam Minter posted a rejoinder on his blog, Shanghai Scrap, Here’s what John Tierney left out of his anti-recycling screed. He quickly discounts some of Tierney’s key arguments and promises more to follow. Adam has a keen eye on the recycling industry, and is one of my favorite writers. We share a home town, so there’s a bit of kindred spirit at work, but he grew up in the scrap recycling business, has traveled the world to report on it, and is the author of the book, Junkyard Planet.

    Give them a read, and let me know what you think by commenting below.

    Posted by Steve Phelps