"Environmental Friendliness" Inefficient, Counterproductive and Costly

“Environmentally friendly” goods and services are frequently inefficient, counterproductive and costly. The thoughts for this thread started with a few pet peeves but recently I have noticed a pattern worthy of discussion.

Recently, the floor lamp in our master bedroom, using a halogen bulb of 300-500 watts breathed its last. I have been trying to replace it. All of the replacements come with a maximum of either one 180 watt bulbs, or two 100 watt bulbs. They are way too dim to light up the room to a level comfortable for reading and dressing. I am now faced with either an expensive installation of recessed ceiling lights (about six 60 watt bulbs) or a chandelier. In either case, lots of money spent and no energy saved. I asked the various lighting stores in New York City’s famous “lighting district” (an area on The Bowery roughly between Christie Street and the beginnings of Chinatown) why this was and the merchants (the ones who could speak English that is) said that is was because of “conservation.” I call it politically correct stupidity.

Another example is toilet paper. When I was growing up folding the toilet paper twice gave me a clean rectum and clean fingers. Now four-folding gives neither. It is disgusting but too much information for now. I suspect the same reasoning applies.

Trash recycling is another whopper. Poeple go to enormous energy to separate “recyclables” from trash. A try to a waste facility shows that the garbage often goes to one place. More wasted effort and wasted taxpayer dollars.

My synagogue uses solar panels and other devices to create a “green” sanctuary. Want to bet that the synagogue draws from the main grid on overcast days, so that the peak demands on the system remain unchanged?

Even the Clean Air Act of 1970 and its progeny probably shifted most manufacturing overseas. Result: 18 year olds who are not really college material no longer get jobs at the local factory. And minorities’ path to advancement is cut off.

In short, how much do people think we are spending? And how much environmental benefits do people think we are achieving?

3 Likes

I always refer people to this episode of Penn and Tellers show when they start questioning the value of the “Green Movement”, it covers the fallacy of recycling as a means of “reducing the carbon footprint”.

We are causing only harm to the environment and our economy by embracing this “Green Religion”.

2 Likes

Was it the lamp that died or the bulbs?

1 Like

All quite true (unfortunately.) Take “Ethanol” for example. The “theory” is that we can save on both pollution and consumption of fossil fuels by adding 10% or 15% ethanol (ethyl alcohol) to our gasoline–in theory, reducing fossil fuel consumption by that 10 or 15%. BS on steroids. Ethanol is produced by the process of DISTILLATION (which is where we get the term 'still when talking about moonshining). Distillation requires HEAT and that heat (on a large, commercial basis) comes from burning…wait for it…fossil fuels, mostly. In fact, it takes more energy from fossil fuels to make a gallon of ethanol than that ethanol will produce when burned as fuel–making ethanol both expensive AND inefficient as a fuel. Secondarily, when ethanol is burned as a fuel in most automobiles, it REDUCES the useful life-span of many internal combustion engine parts and last thirdly, most ethanol is produced from corn or other sugar-producing plants that COULD be used as food…both for food animals or for direct consumption by human beings reducing the AVAILABILITY of those foods for animals and humans, which raises the PRICE of those foodstuffs for that purpose. Ethanol therefore, is not only a net LOSS in supposed fossil fuel “savings,” it’s a HUGE loss when all factors are considered.

EDIT: Finally, of course, is the FACT that burning ethanol introduces more smog into the atmosphere than does burning straight gasoline.

5 Likes

First, some introductory remarks not necessarily related to the topic, but something I think needs to be said on my “return” . . . and then I’ll get to the topic.

I’ve cut my hiatus short by about a week, primarily because there’s been some Front Page blog scheduling adjustments that aren’t yet final, and I wanted to get my 2cents in there.

Also, the hiatus wasn’t quite as peaceful as I had planned because of this Jack Hectormann passing thing. Don’t misunderstand, I’m not saying Jack “ruined” my time off . . . it just happened that way. I mean, I’m sure Jack would have preferred otherwise. More on that when I next publish a blog titled “Memories of Jack”, tentatively scheduled for May 20th.

But what I really want to point out here is my “new posting philosophy”, which will be made even more clear in the “Memories of Jack” blog.

I used to occasionally get into what Jack called “Rattle-Battle” exchanges with certain posters, who either intentionally posted provocative rants or just flat out insane absurdities. Actually, most times it was both.

If you are one of those posters on my list . . . TALK TO THE HAND!

Discussion? Yes. Debate? Yes. Disagreement? That’s fine.

But I will no longer respond to certain posters and their nonsense. It’s a waste of my time when I know all they are going to do is “Ignore and Restate”, “Misdirect”, “Spin”, etc. And guess what? It’s a waste of their time too if their intent is to get a response from me. (Although I’m sure a response from anybody is what they’re looking for . . . they probably couldn’t care less if I chime in, and that’s fine.)

Does that mean I will brook no disagreement? Of course not. As I just said, “Discussion? Yes. Debate? Yes. Disagreement? That’s fine”. But none of that is OK if you are an “Ignore and Restate”, “Misdirect”, “Spin”, etc. kind of person. I don’t want to have anything to do with you.

As I said, TALK TO THE HAND.

OK . . . now to the topic.

And, BTW, the previous posters are NOT what I would classify as “Ignore and Restate”, “Misdirect”, “Spin”, etc. kind of people.

I just want to echo and expand on what they said.

I have two issues that I share with JBG: toilets and light bulbs. And I have some work experience comments regarding that video that RET put up on recycling . . . very good video, BTW . . . I just want to take it a little farther.

LOW VOLUME FLUSH

This just makes me furious. I want a flush that would make a WHOLE HEAD OF CABBAGE DISAPPEAR! (And, NO, I wouldn’t try to flush a head of cabbage, but you get the point.)

I don’t want the toilet to burp up toilet paper and other “stuff” (yuccchhhh). And that IS what happens with the low volume water crap (pun intended).

In fact, just tonight my wife called out from the guest bathroom, “The toilet’s broke”, because she saw toilet paper in the bowl.

Other times she’s called out, “Somebody forgot to flush last time.

That happens almost every day, in both the Master Bath and the Guest Bath.

NO, the toilets are not broke, and nobody “forgot” to flush. In fact, both have gotten new flushing mechanisms and shutoff valves in the past few years. It happened BEFORE then, and AFTER then.

I have to flush the stupid things at least THREE times, sometimes more, to get things to go all the way down and STAY down.

Now how is that conserving water? These libs and Enviro-Nazis never think things through . . . if it “sounds” environmentally friendly, that’s enough for them. No need to go any further . . . like THINK about what actually happens.

If we still had the old high volume flush, we WOULD be conserving water compared to the way it is now.

LIGHT BULBS

Our kitchen has recessed flood lights. The incandescent flood lights lasted for ten+ years. When they started to fail a few years ago, I couldn’t get any more incandescent bulbs, so I had to switch to those CFL bulbs (“Compact Fluorescent Lights”).

The CFL’s have failed after only a short time (no where near what they advertise), sometimes after only a few weeks. At first, I thought that maybe I just got a bad bunch, so I kept trying. Same frequency of failure every time.

Now these things have an electrical ballast at the base. That’s a current limiting device for fluorescent lighting . . . that’s about all I know. I’m not real checked out on light bulb technology.

So here’s my theory . . . and I could be way off, but I DO KNOW that for whatever reason, these things burn out regularly and the incandescent DIDN’T.

The recess cavity retains heat. The ballast is at the base of these CFL bulbs, thus it resides within the recess cavity.

I’m thinking this heat degrades the ballast and thus causes the bulb to malfunction eventually . . . in this case, “eventually” is a matter of weeks.

But whatever the reason, as I said, I DO KNOW THESE THINGS BURN OUT REGULARLY.

I’ve asked individuals that are much more familiar with CFL technology than I am, but so far all I’ve gotten is shrugs.

THE RECYCLING SCAM

When I watched that video that RET posted, my first thought was, “Yikes, these morons are voting.”

I worked in the “Waste Industry” (a euphemism for “Garbage biz”) for over a decade. We were a Fortune 200 company and owned and operated over 500 Refuse Hauling companies (Garbage trucks) in the US, Britain, Holland, France, Spain, and several other countries, and over 100 Landfills (“Dumps”). I was a big shot and visited and inspected facilities in the “Western Region” (headquartered in San Jose, Ca, and encompassing Washington State, Oregon, California, Idaho, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, and Hawaii. (Of course, our facilities in Hawaii . . . on Oahu, Maui, Kauai, and the Big Island . . . needed my inspection frequently ~grin~).

I think Alaska was in the Midwest Region, headquartered in Minneapolis. Why that was, and how the boundaries were drawn I never quite figured out.

Our gross annual revenues were 5 BILLION plus. Yes, there’s a lot of money in . . . GARBAGE.

We also owned and operated over 50 “MRF’s” (“Material Recovery Facilities”, pronounced “Murphs”, AKA “Recycleries”).

I can tell you from personal experience . . . MRF’s are LOSERS. GAAP (“Generally Accepted Accounting Procedures”) allows them to be shown as “Good Will” on the P&L though. IOW, they are necessary for business.

In most of our municipal contracts, the municipality REQUIRED that in order to bid on a contract, you had to own and operate a MRF within the jurisdiction. Sometimes, we actually had to build a MRF in order to keep a contract.

We DID NOT build, own, or operate MRF’s on our own . . . only when it was required by a municipal contract.

Although Penn and Teller discussed it, I will emphasize they are LOSERS.

That video shows a sorting line and sorters (minimum wage kings). It shows them wearing protective gloves, goggles, and hardhats. That part is true. But what it doesn’t point out, and what IS reality, is that those gloves do very little to prevent needle sticks . . . which are frequent and costly. HIV and Hepatitis monitoring, AT COMPANY EXPENSE, Disability claims AT COMPANY EXPENSE, Workman’s Comp, AT COMPANY EXPENSE, etc.

In fact, there is a subculture of minimum wage kings that has grown around it. Those jobs are highly valued by that subculture because a fraudulent claim (and we had them EVERY day) can net you a tidy sum and a long vacation.

We never had a problem filling a laborer’s job on a sort line. There were 100’s of applications always on file. It was a premium job for people in that subculture.

There were plenty of other reasons MRF’s were LOSERS. The power bill alone for those conveyors AND the bailing machines was huge.

And the bill for the bailing machine included a need for a high dollar mechanic. If your bailing machine failed . . . which they DID frequently because they get heavy and brutal use . . . your whole operation shuts down unless it can be repaired quickly.

And some of those things are computer controlled, with a status board just like you’d see in a nuclear plant. (And some are pretty primitive, with sorters going through rubbish on a transfer station floor).

The contract for waste disposal for the Mall of America is a good example. The city of Minneapolis built a MRF at the Mall of America. They built it with sophisticated computer controls for conveyors, bailers at the end of the line, etc. There were alarms, red lights, green lights, bells and whistles, lines on the panel, etc.

I looked at it, and the first thing that came to my mind was that it would take a NASA engineer to figure the thing out, and that only after months of study. I’m pretty geeky myself, and I stared at the thing for a long time and had absolutely NO clue about what anything meant.

So the Mall of America put out a contract for bid for refuse hauling and disposal, and one of the requirements was that the successful bidder had to provide for the operation of the MRF, which meant of course that the market development guys had to put the cost of a team of NASA type engineers into the pro forma.

If an alarm went off and the right lever/button wasn’t touched, the computer controlled MRF, ALL of it, would shut down. I think we got the contract, but the whole thing was a LOSER because of that MRF.

And in that video there were pinheads talking about how landfills are lined with a thin piece of plastic (called “synthetic liners” in the industry), thus they are vulnerable to dramatic pinhole leaks (of garbage juice, called “leachate” in the industry) and cause groundwater contamination. What these morons didn’t mention is that modern landfills are also lined with about two feet of clay, and both the clay and synthetic liners have to pass rigid ASTM permeability tests BEFORE even an ounce of garbage is laid on them.

They characterize these synthetic liners as though they were like your flimsy Glad kitchen trash bag. I’ve seen these things and walked on them (actually, you’re not supposed to walk on them, but I did anyway). THEY ARE NOT THE SAME AS YOUR KITCHEN TRASH BAG.

Coupla’ more things on this.

First of all, YES, prior to RCRA (pronounced “Rick-ra”, the “Resource Conservation and Recovery Act”, promulgated in 1976) and prior to CERCLA (pronounced as it looks, the "Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act of 1980, commonly known as the “Superfund law”) there were some landfills and dumps that DID contaminate the groundwater.

A modern landfill MUST be built with a leachate collection system . . . that’s perforated pipe laid on top of the clay that’s laid on top of the synthetic liner. Consequently, liquid would have to escape the leachate collection system, penetrate the clay, penetrate the synthetic liner, penetrate MORE clay, just to get to the groundwater.

Collected leachate is then delivered to tanks where it is treated and neutralized.

Moreover, the synthetic liner is equipped with sensors that will alert the operator AND the regulatory agencies if even one drop of moisture lands on it.

And finally, there are probes all around the landfill that monitor for releases in real time. If some kind of contaminant plume is detected (like chloroethylene or any long chain hydrocarbon or aromatic ring compound), an alarm goes off LONG before the plume gets to the groundwater.

There are also gas collection systems as the video showed at the Puente Hills Landfill in L.A. . . . the worlds largest landfill. I’ve been there many times.

Those guys that work for the LA county Sanitation District (the owner/operator of Puente Hills) are one of the few groups of government employees that actually know what the heck they are doing. They are pros, and a lot of the industry standards come from Puente Hills.

Anyway, a modern landfill is an engineering marvel, and, NO, there is NOT a shortage of landfill space.

Penn and Teller did a good video.

6 Likes

It isn’t recycling in and of itself that’s the problem, it’s the government mandates. If recycling a material is economically feasible, it will be done, regardless of mandates. If it isn’t, then the mandate is destructive, consuming more resources than it ‘saves’. Which is stone obvious to anyone with two active brain cells to rub together. “Quo Bono?”…

Well I see another one has finally adopted my method which I usually employ when it comes to certain posters. I seldom reply because of what they do which is to deliberately antagonise and even insult which is overlooked by the mods and in which I get warnings or infractions for if I do respond.

Come on we have the same types of people come on the site and spout the same nonsense we have heard over and over again as if it were new and the same refusal to back up with facts their “revelations”.

We have the usual conversations about the evil christians while ignoring what is occurring with muslims who follow the Quran as it was written so we hear about the Westboro factions as if they represent main street christians.

We are inudated with why straight hetrosexual people are evil while we should embrace anal sex and the joy of teaching our children why Johnny has three dads that change monthly.

Doing drugs is an uplifting experience that heightens conscience and has little to no consequences of importance.

The police are evil and thugs, murderers, and “freedom fighters” should be glorified.

After awhile all of this just gets repetitious and then we have the phony conservatives and christians who tell us we need to embrace the communist way of life.

3 Likes

Those are my pet peeves too. The three-flush toilet drives me nuts. I sometimes think I would do better with a bucket of water, than waiting for the toilet to refill so I can just stand there and wait for it to fill again.

I’m addicted to the light from 100 w incandescent bulbs. I don’t like anything else. I did order several dozen when they phased them out in CA. Besides that, those curly things don’t even fit in most of my lamps, which really adds to my frustration.

1 Like

People were “recycling” newsprint when I was a kid in the 1950’s–and probably even earlier. Then somebody decided that the INK was “toxic” and forced the newspapers to change the formulas for it. IIRC, that was in the late 60’s. After “Silent Spring” came out and the movie “Mondo Cane” was released, the rush was on to outlaw DDT and from there, we know the history. Oddly, Germany was the first place where the “Green” movement got its initial impetus, including the invention of “Gaia”.

But during the war (WW2) we also recycled tin cans (for the war effort), you could even buy a flattener for that very purpose.
Bob Jam; my question to you is why not major incinerators? with professional stack scrubbers as used in coal fired burners?
I have always wondered as we keep making area dumps larger and more technologically absurd, just burning would eliminate these massive landfills and the ash could be reduced to it;'s carbon base for reuse?-just asking

Trash burners are not that cost effective and they stink for miles down wind. They’re costly to operate because they require a lot of sorting to pick out material that is dangerous to burn. But you can’t ever be absolutely sure you’ve gotten all the chemicals and agents, so it’s possible you’ll be breathing in something nasty once in a while. The precipitators can take a lot of stuff out of the exhaust but they can’t get everything.

Hey, Bob. Good to see ya! :wave: Most excellent and informative post, too. Thanks for giving us yet more of the ‘skinny’ on top of RET’s vid.

I fell for the recycling thing in the '70’s, and was dumb enough to going well into the 90’s.
The ONLY reason I recycle anymore is when it’s free, or when I’m actually paid to do so.

1 Like

I’ve been hearing this complaint for a number of years, and am yet to come across the same problem. Our 2 toilets hold 2 1/2-3 gal.(?) of water, and never have they not functioned properly on first flush. Never had a problem w/the toilets in the hundreds of new homes we’ve worked on, either.
What, are we somehow speeecial?

I’m addicted to the light from 100 w incandescent bulbs. I don’t like anything else. I did order several dozen when they phased them out in CA. Besides that, those curly things don’t even fit in most of my lamps, which really adds to my frustration.

Except for the florescent bulbs for the kitchen light, I’ll only buy incandescent, too. I think I’d resort to our oil lamps before I bought those curly things.

I bought one of those conversion kits for one of my toilets and I was very unhappy with it. When I flushed it was supposed to get rid of the waste. Well that it did not do. The thing had two buttons that handled just urine and and the other feces. I ended up having to hold the button down to get a good flush since neither of the buttons actually did what they were supposed to do. I ended up putting a regular ball cock back in and it works fine.

**LIGHT BULBS

Our kitchen has recessed flood lights. The incandescent flood lights lasted for ten+ years. When they started to fail a few years ago, I couldn’t get any more incandescent bulbs, so I had to switch to those CFL bulbs (“Compact Fluorescent Lights”).

The CFL’s have failed after only a short time (no where near what they advertise), sometimes after only a few weeks. At first, I thought that maybe I just got a bad bunch, so I kept trying. Same frequency of failure every time.**

I have had better luck with the CFL’s but the light from them is dimmer than incandescent bulbs. The CFL’s still burn out as often as the incandescents.

[quote=“Cruella, post:3, topic:46645”]
Was it the lamp that died or the bulbs?
[/quote]Unfortunately the lamp; after wasting money on new bulbs.

[quote=“Pappadave, post:4, topic:46645”]
All quite true (unfortunately.) Take “Ethanol” for example. The “theory” is that we can save on both pollution and consumption of fossil fuels by adding 10% or 15% ethanol (ethyl alcohol) to our gasoline–in theory, reducing fossil fuel consumption by that 10 or 15%. BS on steroids. Ethanol is produced by the process of DISTILLATION (which is where we get the term 'still when talking about moonshining). Distillation requires HEAT and that heat (on a large, commercial basis) comes from burning…wait for it…fossil fuels, mostly. In fact, it takes more energy from fossil fuels to make a gallon of ethanol than that ethanol will produce when burned as fuel–making ethanol both expensive AND inefficient as a fuel. Secondarily, when ethanol is burned as a fuel in most automobiles, it REDUCES the useful life-span of many internal combustion engine parts and last thirdly, most ethanol is produced from corn or other sugar-producing plants that COULD be used as food…both for food animals or for direct consumption by human beings reducing the AVAILABILITY of those foods for animals and humans, which raises the PRICE of those foodstuffs for that purpose. Ethanol therefore, is not only a net LOSS in supposed fossil fuel “savings,” it’s a HUGE loss when all factors are considered.

EDIT: Finally, of course, is the FACT that burning ethanol introduces more smog into the atmosphere than does burning straight gasoline.
[/quote]Thank you. I totally forgot that example. Bush’s appeasement of the “sugar-daddy” Archer-Daniels’-Midland. Not saying Bush is worst by far though.

Thanks to BobJam on the low flush toilets as well.

Another I had forgotten was air conditioning. The non-freon A/C works a lot less effectively than the old kind. I personally have no idea if they caused an ozone hole over Antarctica or not. My guess it was the enviros stirring the pot, as usual.

2 Likes

We’ve got a bunch of CFL’s in use, but we’re converting gradually to LED’s. We have kitchen chandelier that takes three bulbs, and we use 60 watts in each one. When we replaced the first two with LED’s, you couldn’t tell the difference. The third one has a slightly different “color,” but unless you look directly at it, it’s not noticeable. LED’s are expensive, but they’re coming down. After I had bought my first two, at around $8 each, my nephew was “promoting” them; he said they’re much safer than the CFL’s, and they last almost “forever” - I don’t think anyone has had any that long. I think he put them everywhere in his house that he bought a few years ago, and he said, “They cost $32 apiece, but they’re worth it in the long run.” He was surprised when I told him I bought several at $8.

I’ve had two CFL’s fail - one was before they were “required”, and it was one of the original design with loops, instead of the squirrely kind. The other one that failed was one of the newer ones, and it only lasted a few months. I’m anxiously waiting for the rest to fail, so I can replace them with LED’s.

BTW, I stocked up a bit on incandescents when I knew they were going to be phased out, but not near enough. I especially stocked up on those small size bulbs (like appliance bulbs), because I knew the CFL’s would never fit in a couple of my lamps that require them. Now I’ve seen the equivalent in LED’s, although I still have quite a few of the incandescents. Funny thing, the small bulbs are exempt from the ban, because CFL’s aren’t safe in an oven!

2 Likes

One unnamed point is, the standard incandescent bulb is made in America, all the others are made elsewhere mostly in China. In essence another product moved out of the American labor force. There is a misnpomer when it comes to light quality, and that is equating a 12W fluorescent to a 40w incandescent they cannot equate. This has placed a problem with lighting engineers when they figure lumen and footcandle power. Fluorescent is a limited color spectrum light no matter what they say. halogen also has some color limitations. LED is a very harsh light and not all that comfortable for reading and desk tasking.

I’m all right with the LED bulbs. They work prettyu good, and so far they are lasting better than incandescent…Cost a lot, though. Have to see how they hold up.