Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Cat skinning #101b - recycling vs. biodegrading

Having mused that it's all pretty much going into the landfill anyway,
because no one reads the logos in the first place, this is going to be a
bit of a contradiction in blogs.

This long (in the UK at least) weekend my family got all spontaneous
and decamped from home to encamp up the road at a local site. And if
you're wondering at the logic of that, frankly when you live in the
part of the world we do, piling up and down a Bank Holiday motorway
route to sit in some gorgeous bit countryside doesn't make much sense
when it's on your doorstep. And a good time was had by all.

Plus I was provided with a unique opportunity to study, in microcosm,
the stuff we bought, used and discarded over a three day period of
eating, drinking and abluting. Ironically, upon our return, I came back
to more than one advisory on how one should recycle responsibly on such
excursions, which sadly bore little relation to the facts and
practicalities of life under canvas, the facilities at the camps we've
ever visited to and one's predilection to do much more than survive
above squalour level until the next day.

For this reason I have also decided to create a series of articles on
such specific areas of activity, such as, in this case, Junkk Goes Camp.

Anyway, back to the point. As I was looking at the various recyclable
and biodegradable bits and bobs going into the carrier bag
(biodegradable, of course) 'bin', and it struck me that a lot of these
things could go in two directions, and it all rather depended on where
you were at the time.

I'm presuming that it is better to recycle than biodegrade (as you'll
gather, I'm having trouble with the correct way to articulate this
term), but as with all things it may be a case of the lesser of several
evils. If you can't recycle, at least biodegrading is better than

Take my family's waste from the weekend. One big bin, and it all went
in. I'm presuming that little lot's headed for a hole. At least the
biodegradable part should, er, biodegrade.

But then I read that biodegrading actually generates greenhouse gases.
Now I don't know... yet… if the processes of recycling do too, and to
what level in comparison, but I'm guessing not as much (a lot of
unanswered questions here). So with biodegrading we're also heading for
a bit of a tug of war on the enviro-front between popping stuff in the
ground and letting it mulch away… and what that does for global warming.

You can tell I'm a bit confused as to what's best. On balance I'm least
in favour of global warming, and so I'm starting to question the whole
biodegrading thing which by my current best assessment is contributing
towards it. Stuff in the ground is unsightly, but stuff in the air is
proving hazardous.

I guess the moral to this is; don't get too close to nature. If you
care about it too much, it will do your head in. Don't worry, though.
Now I’ve asked a few dumb questions like this, maybe we'll soon have a
few smart answers.

Which Junkk.com will happily share in its info section when they come