December 11th, 2015

Ars has a great article about the Sims recycling facility, NYC, Sunset Park

This is a nice walk-through of a state-of-the-art recycling facility that is no longer heavily labor dependent. It mentions that a lot of the automation came from Europe and why that is the case. This is a lesson we are trying to learn by building capacity in solar panels here in the US, rather than ceding that manufacturing ability to other countries.

Towards the end, it discusses the economics of recycling. While it does not get into the interaction of recycling and the business cycle, it does discuss the interaction of recycling and the current price of fossil fuels. It also mentions former Mayor Bloomberg's infamous canceling of recycling in NYC, reframing it in a positive light for recycling (and, presumably, Bloomberg):

"But Quinn said that was mostly a product of the early recycling attempts, which involved a collection of small projects that were difficult to keep profitable. Bloomberg wanted something that was efficient and likely to be profitable in the long-term. "Although it was maybe not the best PR move to stop recycling, it really was done with the intention of making this a long-term, sustainable plan,” Quinn told Ars."

Great article, worth your time.