Monday, December 9, 2013

Recycle America

As a young kid, I can remember holding an empty plastic strawberry container and wondering what I could do with it? Put a string on the pint sized, green, plastic basket and make a little tram out of it? There must be another use for this (seemingly) ingenious container (instead of just throwing it in the trash), I thought to myself.

Now, fast forward 30 years, my passion for recycling and has taken me through college, around New England, around the United States, and across the oceans. My quest for waste reduction and has played a vital role in my life.

“Freight and Barrel,” 2004, Three Rivers Arts Festival, Pittsburgh, crushed plastics. Steven Siegel.

After a month-long cross country to Montana, last winter, I came to the realization that what our country could benefit from is a good 'Spring Cleaning' to recycle all the unused, unwanted, or ignored infrastructure throughout the USA. Utilizing the USA's expansive and low cost railroad systems- A national, regional and/or local scrap recycling program would station railroad freight cars, strategically and geographically across the United states to saturate the whole USA, with Rolling Recycling Cans.
This freight could be shipped to recycling facilities and shipping ports, en route to smelters and blast furnaces across the globe.

This is already happening in Detroit (on a different level), where cash strapped Detroiter's are taking to old, abandoned factories and dismantling and recycle. We need to turn this desperation into middle america's gold rush.
I feel our consumer waste recycling (low weight/high volume) stream in the USA can learn a lot from the high weight/low volume business of scrap metal recycling. Hopefully people will just as passionate about recycling plastics, paper, and glass as Copper and Aluminum.
rust belt scrap iron- help rebuild this country- through America's heartland- quest


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