Global Warming; Recycling

Well, it seems that I don’t really have a lot that I am planning to post here today. I have one thing from the news that absolutely requires bitching and a couple of personal notes and that is about it. So I will just jump right into the one news item.

But first, there is one other thing that I took from the layout over there at Blackchampagne and that is the color change for items that are quoted. I have always put quotes into block quotes, since that is the entire purpose of them, but having read a lot of other blogs since I started doing this site I have found that a different color is a good idea. There are a lot of people who use blockquotes when they are quoting something that they had previously written as well as things that they had taken from other articles. Honestly it gets a bit confusing, especially if you are just trying to skim a dozen pages to look for anything worth reading. Of course that is kind of a moot point here, as I have never written anything intersting, and have never felt the need to quote myself in the first place, but the separate color at least should keep anyone from thinking that I was the author of that content.

That digression aside, the news article that I was speaking of can be found Here. It is about rising levels of Carbon Dioxide in the atmosphere. I am not sure why it is really news at all, I mean take the following pieces of the story for instance;

The reason for the faster buildup of the most important “greenhouse gas” will require further analysis, the U.S. government experts say.

Well, it turns out that it really doesn’t require any further analysis as they seem to answer the question of why with the remainder of the article. Like this next paragraph that was either the next one, or the one after;

Carbon dioxide, mostly from burning of coal, gasoline and other fossil fuels, traps heat that otherwise would radiate into space. Global temperatures increased by about 1 degree Fahrenheit (0.6 degrees Celsius) during the 20th century, and international panels of scientists sponsored by world governments have concluded that most of the warming probably was due to greenhouse gases.

I altered that paragraph only because I wanted to make the part that is causing the problem in bold text. So, wouldn’t it seem like a fairly safe assumption to think that the reason for the increase in the levels of carbon dioxide could be attributed to the burning of fossil fuels? Of course industry is blamed for the majority of this, with huge stacks on power plants billowing out black smoke every minute, every day, but anyone who drives an automobile is spewing out the very same stuff. So, it would seem that there would just need to be a bit of legislation passed to limit the amount of the stuff that any person/company can spit out, right?

The 1997 Kyoto Protocol (news – web sites) would oblige ratifying countries to reduce carbon dioxide emissions according to set schedules, to minimize potential global warming. The pact has not taken effect, however.
The United States, the world’s biggest carbon dioxide emitter, signed the agreement but did not ratify it, and the Bush administration has since withdrawn U.S. support, calling instead for voluntary emission reductions by U.S. industry and more scientific research into climate change.

We’re number one! We’re number one! Why is it that the only remaining “Superpower” on the globe can only seem to be number one in things like obesity, war and pollution? I am a bit surprised that the current administration isn’t more concerned about this, what with the tax breaks that they are giving to government employees who buy the gas-guzzling SUVs as opposed to giving tax breaks to the ones who buy the hybrid vehicles with less than 10% of the emissions of those SUVs. Okay, maybe I am not really all that surprised at all.

I do wonder, though, when the Hydrogen powered vehicles, which have been in testing for quite some time, and have only liquid water as emission, actually come to market if anyone will want to buy them. Here is a link to a pretty good argument for hydrogen powered vehicles, and to be fair, here is the best one that I could find against Hydrogen powered vehicles though the black background with white text makes it a painful read (so painful in fact that I was not able to finish it, and that person did seem to get into a pretty good discussion of fuel economy in gas powered vehicles. Maybe it is a good read?).

The whole point of this, I think, is just to mention that both my wife and myself drive little foreign cars, Kia Sephias to be exact. The cars get amazing gas mileage, 300 miles per ten gallon tank while mixing heavy traffic and freeway, and even while running the air conditioning. The average SUV doesn’t get that kind of gas mileage on an empty freeway, even if you shut off the motor while going downhill. But, America is the land of excess and there is a reason why we are the world leaders in consumption of fast food and fossil fuels, thus making us the leaders in attacking other countries to secure oil for our future use.


This was the other thing that I really wanted to get into today. It seems really odd to me that recycling is not as big as it should be here (arizona) as it is in many other U.S. states.

A lot of states, Oregon, California, Massachusetts and Vermont just to name a few, have made the recycling of aluminum cans and other containers mandatory. It is not mandatory to recycle the cans, but you are charged a fee for every can that you buy at the store (a nickel in most states) that you get back when you return the cans. Simple and straight-forward, you would not just stand in your kitchen throwing nickels into the trash, would you? That is a nickel that you paid, like you were just renting the can for however long it took you to drink the fluid in it. I guess it is more like a ransom in that way, you are holding the can hostage and they are willing to pay you one nickel for each can that you set free. That is some pretty good incentive, since you had to pay the money before they let you use the can.

Here in Arizona they just don’t really give a shit. Well, to a point.

When I first moved here I really felt guilty about throwing away soda cans. It felt almost like I was breaking the law or something, but time has passed and I have realized that there is a reason that people dig through the dumpsters every night looking for soda and beer cans. Them is good money.

You have, as I see it, three options for your cans here in AZ. 1) Throw them away. 2) Put them into a recycling bin (which the town I live in does not have, even though its major draw is tourists since the town has the oldest continuously operating courthouse in the state and half of the houses are on the historic register at over 100 years old). 3) Recycle them. This is, of course the best option, but one that is hard to do in practice.

See, the thing is people will pay you for these cans. The prices vary between about thirty and fourty cents per pound, but that is money that you did not pay out in the form of a deposit. Yet, you can not take the cans back to the place that you bought them, nor to any actual store. You have to take your cans to a place like a scrapyard, like an automobile junkyard, where they deal in scrap metals. These places are invariably open weird hours and subject to the whims of the owners, but they are the only option down here.

I drink a lot of beer. I drink a lot of cheap, canned beer. I end up with a lot of cans. At some point my wife realized that if we could use my alcohol consumption for a good cause it would be a wonderful thing. She bought a separate trash can for me to throw the empty cans into, and thus her plan went into action. The bags, with normal cans, just fill up so quickly that it was hard for either of us to get to anywhere where we could sell them before the next bag was already full.

She bought me one of those ‘can crushers’ that are just insanely cheap on ebay. Since the people who buy scrap aluminum down here just don’t care about product labels (since it is scrap aluminum, not them paying you back the nickel per can deposit) they prefer them crushed, so it all worked out good.

So you see, we are helping to save the planet with the beer that I consume. And, we are getting some cash back also. That cash is currently at 27 dollars, which will fund our next dinner at the restaurant that I bitched about a couple of days ago. I would like to make that fund large enough to eat at a really nice restaurant, but let’s be honest, the beer (that I would have to drink )would cost much more than the bill at the restaurant, and I do only have the one liver. But, money for selling cans, why aren’t people other than hobos doing this?

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