Sunday, August 5, 2007

Recycling carried to a new level

Recycling lowers the urgency to find more new resources, helps reduce trash dumped along roadsides and in backyards, and has become a profitable big business for some. Recent news articles tell of copper tubing being stolen from construction sites and catalytic converters being removed from parked cars for precious metal content so thieves can "recycle" and sell materials. Home recycling helps reduce the volume of material going into landfills and often adds a little income for cities and towns.

Recycling has been a business for many years and junk yards are seen in industrial areas of many towns. "For the determined, scrap-hunting is a grueling, house-to-house quest. The worldwide hunger for scrap draws retirees and their trucks to the streets. The washtubs and faucets they haul across the scales might not make it into an Asian office tower, but the mad pace of building makes the metal more valuable everywhere" according to an article by Josh Shaffer and David Bracken.

Almost everything in our society produces volumes of waste, much of which can be salvaged and recycled -- packaging containing purchased products, newspapers and magazines, materials from buildings being demolished to make room for new ones, old cars and trucks. Even the food we eat offers the opportunity to "recycle" scraps to produce compost that can be re-used in gardens and around the yard.

Read more about this trend that is becoming a necessary part of our society and how it can produce a fortune for some willing to do the hard work to gather and sell byproducts of everything we consume...
News and Observer
August 4, 2007
Josh Shaffer and David Bracken, Staff Writers

Scrap metal: from trash to treasure
Hobbyists -- and thieves --cash in as demand spikes here and abroad

RALEIGH - An 80-year-old man with heart trouble spends his days bouncing over the Johnston County back roads, hunting for rusty farm equipment.

A thief sneaked into a scrap yard in Garner, made off with a bucket of old copper and immediately tried to sell it back for $100.

Just last week, 19 catalytic converters disappeared from a North Raleigh auto body shop. Over the past three months, more than 200 storm grates vanished in Durham.

Blame the invisible hand of scrap metal economics, which drives a global hunger for recycled junk that stretches to bridge-building in India and apartment construction in China. The tiniest, rustiest bit of metal discarded or stolen in the Triangle is wrapped up in a powerful global market that connects junkmen, recyclers and thieves with a construction boom in east Asia. Read more...

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