- Recycling reduces energy use in China.
- Recycling reduces toxics from metal mining in China.
- Recycling reduces coal mining deaths in China.
- Recycling creates jobs in China..
The table below offers more data, courtesy of the Natural Resources Defense Council [NRDC]. The energy and carbon reduction make recycling one of the most important activities we can undertake for global sustainability.
Add to that yet another report, from BBC, on how horrible mining is in China. Chinese mining deaths, per 10,000 miners, is 100x the fatality of the USA. Chinese today are awed that Chile is going to such effort to rescue metal miners stuck underground - in China, miners seem almost disposable.
Question: If the Chinese are dying by mining for the coal energy, and if metal mining releases hundreds of times more toxicity than metal recycling, and the Chinese are the best at reuse and repair, and they need jobs... just exactly how bad can "recycling in China" be?
It is essential that Fair Trade programs roll up their sleeves and invest in Chinese recycling, clean up their acts, give them incentives and training, and get recycling into order. A boycott condemns China to mining and refining, coal and smelting.
Why not reward the best recyclers China has (and I have seen incredibly good Chinese recyclers), and overcome the worst recycling practices with free market, fair trade, incentives and training?
China has 16,000 active mines - most of which are illegal Saving energy and providing recycled metals seems a lesser sin than making them use the coal to cyanide/smelt the metals for the products we buy, made in China.
I prefer to "buy recycled", even when "made in China".
Top of Report
Too Good To Throw Away
Recycling's Proven Record
Table 1: Energy Savings and CO2 Impacts
Energy Savings Per Ton Recycled
|Materials||Grade||% Reduction of Energy*||Million BTUs||Equivalent in Barrels of Oil||Tons CO2 Reduced||Million BTUs||Equivalent in Barrels of Oil|
Franklin Associates (1990), AL Associates, AISI, Phillips 66, Wellman (1991). Conversions
based on data from Love (1974), CRC (1978), Perry (1984), EIS (1990).
* Relative to energy required for virgin production
** Energy calculations for paper recycling count unused wood as fuel
na = not applicable