Sunday, October 30, 2011

Guilt over recycling? Consider construction waste from "the 1%"

The New York Times today prints comments regarding last Sunday's article on the recycling conundrum facing New Yorkers, headlined Lunch, Landfills and What I Tossed. One comment that made it into print, from union carpenter Gregory A. Butler:
It's fascinating that most of the commenters are focused on hectoring and lecturing the common man and woman to bring their own knives, forks, plates, napkins (and maybe even tables and chairs) from home as a means of reducing waste.

The thing is, a full 50% - 7 million tons out of 14 million tons of waste generated in this city every year - is industrial debris from construction.

Contrary to the article, we're not talking about "dirt" here. We're talking about cutoffs from metal studs, tracks and beams, pieces of scrap sheetrock, cardboard boxes that contained bathtubs, sinks, toilets and stoves, pieces of wood, sawdust, scrap electrical wiring ect ect ect.

There would probably be a lot more waste if construction workers like me didn't scour the jobsite dumpsters for scrap metal that we can sell for a profit.

However, nobody here talks about making Mr Trump, Mr Zuckerman, Mr Silverstein, Mr Walentas, Mr Ratner and the other New York real estate billionaires "reduce, reuse and recycle".

Why not charge them by the pound for all the garbage their construction sites generate?

That makes a lot more sense than putting a regressive garbage tax on the working class and the poor, or lecturing people to bring their own plates to a restaurant!

Let's keep the focus on the 1% and the garbage their businesses generate, rather than wagging our fingers at 99%ers with a plastic bag and a paper cup!

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