Timmy Elsewhere

In the Times.

Edited (as is their wont and their right).

I owe a boat a few pints though.

 

5 thoughts on “Timmy Elsewhere”

  1. When you say 45 mins is the best estimate of how long a household takes to sort things for recycling, where do you get that figure from?

    I live in a London household, and I doubt we spend 5 mins a week on it. And if you spend much longer, I’d have thought it is because you enjoy it, in which case it must offset the cost?

    Tim adds: The only research I’ve seen on the subject. The numbers came from research donne in Seattle. 15 minutes for simple recycling, 45 minutes for food and garden wastes as well. I have asked the Department of the Environment in the past for their estimates and they deny having any at all.

  2. I will believe recycling is economically viable when and only when I am paid for my sorted waste paper, glass, etc. Until then, it is simply a scam on the taxpayer.

  3. I think you have slightly over egged your case: the counterfactual is not zero time spent on getting rid of rubbish: there must be a minimum. 5 minutes a day, perhaps, or 35 minutes a week? So to arrive at the true cost we should be looking at the extra time households spend on disposal once they are used to the system and compared to their previous system. I note the estimate includes gardening waste which has to be gathered up under any system and is far more time consuming than household waste.

    Tim adds: You are correct, of course. Which is why the number of 45 minutes I used is the marginal time associated with recycling programmes rather than total time spent.

  4. “The only research I’ve seen on the subject. The numbers came from research donne in Seattle. 15 minutes for simple recycling, 45 minutes for food and garden wastes as well.”

    But that’s clearly flawed. The 30 mins on food and garden waste recycling is from a very small subset who do it, presumably because they enjoy it. So it’s not going to be indicative of others. Also I question whether a survey is really a great way of finding out this – people are going to associate longer with better.

    Tim aedds: It may be flawed and it may not be: but it’s the only numbers we’ve got. Find other studies, commission one (like the UK Govt has not done) and then we’ll talk.

  5. Tim,

    45 minutes a week? I have three bins side-by-side and I just throw things in the correct one and then put them out for the recycling collection. Extra time – at most an extra minute per week.

    Even if everything still went into landfill, there is an advantage of sorting it first. Organic matter creates methane as it rots and this can be used to power electricity generation equipment. It saves a fortune on the cost of electricity generation if fewer generators can be used because the organic matter is concentrated in fewer locations. Also, because non-organic waste creates a lower chance of water table pollution, many landfill sites can be prepared more cheaply if waste is sorted first.

    Not all recycling is worthwhile, but often it is and so is sorting. Your calculations are too crude .

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