The case for “no”: https://medium.com/@robertwiblin/what-you-think-about-landfi...
Is it some kind of game to convince people to do silly stuff while literally telling them that it's a bad idea?
> But for some kinds of plastic in some places recycling is indeed the better option, even if the net gain isn’t that huge.
With a link to this:
> Recycling had the lowest global warming potential and energy use across nearly all of the studies. From an environmental perspective, recycling is usually the best option
It lists 37 comparisons and landfill beats recycling in 2 of them (they also tied in one), with recycling nearly always beating both landfill and incineration, and landfill often being the worst of the three. I've read other meta studies that agree with this, it's the real consensus view.
But, I don't understand why they would link to this source and still overall try to imply the the opposite argument is true, it makes no sense to me? Why not just not link to it if they don't want to accept the findings? Why not link direct to the two studies that claims recycling doesn't beat landfill? If you're going to argue something not supported by science then don't link to the science. This seems basic but it's a definite pattern.
And I guess that recursively applies to you, why would you link to an article that debunks the very point you're trying to make?
There's not much to it other than a simple table and it's hard to interpret. What is "global warming potential" and "total energy use"? In the studies that say recycling is better, on what grounds do they conclude that, and are the conditions they're assuming realistic?
The next step would be reading the individual studies and figuring out how they work, which is more than I'm going to do for a casual Internet conversation. The links and references would be a good starting point for someone willing to do the work, though.
And to answer your question, sharing links is generally pretty useful for people who want to dig deeper, and we should do more of it.
I'm fine with the idea of plastic, but single-use plastic has got to go. We shouldn't accept the disposal of plastic into our waterways and food chain without scientific researching proving that microplastics are safe-- though it's doubtful they are. Why do we invent new physical things without first considering the consequence of the lifecycle of the product? If plastic was invented today, no regulatory body would allow us to use it as we do.
If you want to make sure plastic never gets into the ocean, disposing of it properly should do it. If it doesn't, something is wrong with how garbage disposal is done and that needs to be fixed.
To be honest, I think micro-plastics are the among least hazardous things that can leak from a landfill. Also a landfill is usually local as possible and doesn't require much energy.
The answer will always be "Use less of the junk." But I feel guilty putting plastic in the recycling bin.
There are also some unanswered questions here about where microplastics in the environment actually come from. I would expect litter to be a much larger source? How about fishing equipment?
I would expect stuff in a landfill to be less likely to get out than any other way. It seems like an easier problem to solve?
With promising new startups such as Commonwealth Fusion Systems (this is the talk to start with: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KkpqA8yG9T4), I'm not going to worry about the garbage problem. My bet is that we'll see proof of fusion's viability within the next decade. In the era that follows, people will be literally mining landfills for raw materials to separate into perfect piles of feedstock. A 1e8 C plasma will strip the electrons off of any atoms you place inside it, and you can magnetically separate the charged nuclei.
And if I'm wrong about any of that, a few more decades of landfill use isn't going to change anything anyway. http://jmc.stanford.edu/commentary/progress/index.html