Friday, January 5, 2018

Urban Ore

I hope I have the nomenclature right. As I understand it, ore is the term the solid waste community uses to designate what goes into the recycling bin.

I follow an industry newsletter for the waste industry. I'm not witting about how to evaluate the stories, but it's an interesting focus on the business end of housekeeping. The history of American housekeeping (see all three volumes of Susan Strasser's blockbuster trilogy that starts with "Never Done") is the history of industry stepping in to lighten the burdens of life support. 

Come to think of it, the history of the industrial revolution is the same. If I remember correctly from a PBS documentary, the iron cooking pot and the sewing needle were the first two industrial consumer items. In the northwest, that level of technology persisted until the Twenties, and still does in some circles.

Considering household waste as raw material for industrial production lends a note of seriousness to procedures that have long been trivialized as insignificant compared to "real" work outside the home. I was surprised to run across the term contaminated waste in a recent newsletter. Ore with even a minor amount of waste that is not included in the list of desirable contents is unusable. Because it takes so much energy to generate the waste in the first place, I submit that contaminating recycling is an offense against carbon conservation, no matter how minuscule the excess -30-

No comments:

Post a Comment