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John Stossel and the Overblown Headline

Reported by Guest Blogger - November 11, 2009 -

Guest blogged by Dan

Fox Business' newest Pundit, John Stossel certainly goes in for the overblown headline: Recyclers as Suckers. Recycles as suckers? What is your reaction? Shock? Awe? Outrage? The story is significantly less impressive.

Stossel quotes an article from the Washington City Paper.

"(W)orkers throw stuff from green containers, black containers, and blue containers in the same truck,... While we also observed trucks properly handling the two forms of refuse, the more time we spent on the road, the more violations we witnessed."

First, some math 101: 1% of 100 is 1. 1%of 10,000 is 100. The more times you watch a recycling truck make its' rounds, the more likely you are to see recycling mishandled. But even so, at least in my neighborhood, there is one recycling truck. All the stuff goes into that truck. Paper in the rear, plastics and glass in the side bins. Is Stossel really suggesting that there should be separate trucks to collect paper, glass, and plastics?

"The New York Post found a similar practice in New York City:

Not only are routine recyclables like bottles, cans and paper being sent to landfills, but so is other waste that is supposed to be trashed separately, such as animal carcasses, medical waste and bins of used kitchen oil...

In that case it was city government staff that was comingling the garbage."

So it's a matter of the material being comingled originally? Is Stossel suggesting that the guys collecting the recycling are supposed to sort it if the consumers haven't?

"Of course, if you read Al Gore's website (a sacrifice I make so you don't have to), it's the people throwing out the garbage who are at fault. They're lazy."

Stossel reads Al Gore's web site so we don't have to! What a nifty slogan. But to the issue, the question, once again, is, whose job is it to sort the recycling? Quoting Former VP Gore, then Stossel's take,

"People are lazy by nature, if you make recycling hard then people will NOT do it. If a recycling bin is right next to a garbage bin any person will recycle, that is unless that person lacks all morals."

"We're lucky to have eco-blowhards like Gore as morality police."

Now, I'm having trouble trying to figure how you get "morality police" of Mr. Gore's quote. I also am having trouble believing that the same people who brought you the "War on Christmas" would talk about "morality police" in the first place. But I fully understand that Stossel would descend to name calling in an attempt to discredit the former VP.

What I don't see is that those of us who try to recycle are "suckers".