Four Percent Uptick In Trash Tipping Rate An Indication Of Improving Economy?

Nic's events/CC BY 2.0
Scene from the 2010 "Fashion Trashion" show put on the the University of Minnesota, Morris (UMM), Studio Art department. All the outfits were made by studio students using recycled, reclaimed, and re-used materials.

Stranger things than this have been correlated within high confidence limits; but, I am skeptical about the reported linkage between economic growth and solid waste generation rate. As reported in the Duluth Tribune News: "The Minnesota Pollution Control Agency reported Friday that the tons of trash Minnesota sent to landfills and incinerators is up 4 percent so far this year. Historic trends show that the amount of garbage we throw out relates directly to the state of the economy, the PCA notes."

'Spent pepper spray canisters must be separated at curbside.'
Factors such as a short term reduction in municipal waste incineration capacity or the potential for a changing demographic that is perhaps less acculturated to recycling (indication via pdf download), could skew such a correlation.

Assuming that the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency has controlled for such variables and the reported correlation can even be generalized to other states, the 4% uptick corroborates, among other things, what TreeHugger writer Lloyd was getting at when he wrote: Recycling is bullshit..

We are going to climate hell in a non-recycled hand basket, is what this feels like. I hope someone can show me the error of this thinking.

Tags: Recycling

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