5 questions about mining and solid waste

1. Explain the difference between the two phrases, “Made from recycled materials” and “Made from recyclable materials”. Which is environmentally preferable? How can your purchasing choices help reduce the need for more mining and more landfills? (10 pts.)

2. NIMBY= Not In My Backyard… a phrase that explains how people feel about essential services municipalities need to provide that are not necessarily sightly or healthy. Would you rather have a municipal landfill or an incinerator in your backyard? (If you live in a rural part of Florida, you might actually have both– on a family scale!) Explain your choice. (10 pts.)

3. We are getting to the point in the course where the linkages among topics are becoming increasingly clear. Ponder the connections among human population growth, food and water resources and and waste (and energy, which is coming up!). If soils are increasingly degraded and food and water is increasingly limited for a growing population, how can a change in waste management practices become a solution for some of those food, water (and energy) challenges? (10 pts.)

4. After watching Annie Leonard’s Story of Stuff, ponder how humans got to the point where we are so trapped in the process of Take-Make-Waste. What are the impacts on people within this process? How can people break this model and shift toward the economic model of Borrow-Use-Return? How can we keep money flowing through our economic system without continually extracting new raw materials?

5. A very smart friend of mine recently said that the best land investment one could make is to buy up old landfills. He says we will, in the not too distant future, be excavating landfills to extract the incredible amounts of metals, glass, and energy resources that are buried in them. What might be some of the possible risks and benefits of such an “investment”?

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