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Waste & recycling - Mar 27

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Rise In Frugality Leads To Drop In Trash Collection

Richard Mullins, Tamp Bay Online
Perhaps you held off buying that new refrigerator, or didn't buy a new home altogether. Either way, that meant a bit less garbage on the way to the landfill.

Multiply that frugality across several million people in the Bay area, and the down economy is having a direct impact on the flow of garbage to government dumps.

"Less commercial activity is the driving force behind this," said James Ransom, a spokesman for Hillsborough County's solid waste department. Less home construction means less construction debris, plus less waste from new lawns and residents.

Hillsborough had an 8 percent drop in the flow of solid waste into landfills in 2008...
(23 March 2009)

SXSW FILM: Garbage Dreams

Adda Birnir, Inhabitat
Garbage Dreams, which premiered earlier this month at the South by Southwest film festival, is a documentary that offers an intimate look at Mokattam, a suburb of Cairo known for its poor residents who live among tall piles of garbage. By following the lives of three young men who live and work as garbage collectors in this community, the documentary reveals how a community has supported itself by recycling discarded materials — and how this way of life will change in the future.

Mokattam is home to the Zabballeen people, a Christian minority of 60,000 who have served as garbage collectors for the city of Cairo for the past 150 years. Though the Cairo government now pays the Zabballeen a nominal fee for their services, many members of the community support themselves entirely by recycling discarded material. Using only rudimentary tools, the Zabballeen run one of the world’s most efficient waste management systems, recycling and reusing between 80-90% of what they pick-up. Since the 1980s the Egyptian government has been working to modernize their waste collection system by replacing the Zabballeen with European waste management companies.
(24 March 2009)
Photos at original.

Large agriculture operations add billions to our economy but what price are we paying?

Jonah Owen Lamb, Merced Sun-Star
A brown frothy mix of water tumbled from the mouth of a 42-inch pipeline to a cinderblock basin covered with slime, its rim shining with the gloss of accumulated muck.

The air smelled of boiled sour chicken.

Beyond the pit of churning water, 12 brown ponds spread across a patch of earth edged by dirt roads.

"Welcome to the chicken sewer," said Larry Parlin, as he looked at Livingston's Industrial Waste Water facility, which his company, Environmental Management Services, runs for the city.

Waste it might be, but it's no sewer. The 283 million gallons of water in the ponds came from the nearby Foster Farms chicken processing plant. The water that is used to clean chickens in the nearby plant ends up here.

Five days a week, roughly 4.4 million gallons of water empties into these ponds along the Merced River.
(21 March 2009)

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