A recent story in the Washington Post headlined “American Recycling Is Stalling” sent a shockwave through environmentalist circles. America’s recycling business, once lucrative for both cities and private employers, is now devolving into a “money-sucking enterprise,” the story concluded. And that’s despite years of growth in curbside recycling. One of the big culprits? Ironically, it’s blue bin recycling, according to the Post:
Trying to encourage conservation, progressive lawmakers and environmentalists have made matters worse. By pushing to increase recycling rates with bigger and bigger bins — while demanding almost no sorting by consumers — the recycling stream has become increasingly polluted and less valuable, imperiling the economics of the whole system.
Before we go further, what exactly are the “economics of the whole system”? As ubiquitous as recycling has become, the business model is rather opaque. How does the city make money from empty soda cans on the curb? Read more »
Editor’s Note: Citified has retracted this story, which was based on a flawed assumption about water management infrastructure. Thanks to commenters William H Ross III and tsarstruck for pointing out the error.
It’s like something out of a movie: twice in the past five days, swarms of mayflies have shut down the Veterans Memorial Bridge over the Susquehanna River in Lancaster County. On Saturday night, the bridge closure came after the low visibility from thousands and thousands of flies caused three motorcycle accidents (the injuries were reportedly minor).
Ryan Robinson of Lancaster Online reports today of “a surreal scene” that sounds like an entomological version of the frog scene from Magnolia. Fire Chief Chad Livelsberger told Robinson, “It was like a blizzard in June, but instead of snow, it was mayflies.” There was an inch-think slick of dead flies on the bridge, making cars skid and wheels spin as though the roadway were covered with ice. But the flies weren’t all dead, apparently, since they swarmed again on Sunday night, prompting a second shutdown of the same bridge.
Smallmouth bass with confirmed malignant tumor. Caught by angler in Susquehanna River near Duncannon, Dauphin County, on Nov. 3, 2014. Photo credit: John Arway.
The grotesque image seen here is not a movie still from some awful Sharknado spinoff. It is a photograph of a smallmouth bass caught by a fisherman in the Susquehanna River, and the Pennsylvania Fish and Boat Commission (PFBC) has confirmed that the growth on the fish is a cancerous tumor. It’s the first time a smallmouth bass has been documented with a cancerous tumor in the state. It’s also the first documented instance of fish cancer among all species in the Susquehanna River. Read more »
New Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf is continuing to undo moves former Gov. Tom Corbett made during his last year in office.
Wolf appeared at Benjamin Rush State Park in Far Northeast Philadelphia today to sign an order banning fracking in state parkland, reversing a move Corbett made last May. In his first week in office, Wolf voided two dozen “pending executive nominations” Corbett made late in his term. Today’s moratorium, effective immediately, forbids fracking leases on parks and forests owned or managed by the state’s Department of Conservation and Natural Resources.
We also invited Citified readers to weigh-in over social media and email with their own views on the prospect that Philadelphia could become a petrochemical capital, and maybe, just maybe, goose the overall manufacturing sector. The boosters were silent. Environmentalists, neighbors of the South Philly refinery, and health advocates, however, were not. Read more »
The prospect of a new Philadelphia Energy Hub is usually talked about in terms of the jobs it could create, a sort of giant economic defibrillator that, advocates argue, will resuscitate a moribund manufacturing sector. But there are serious side effects associated with large scale petrochemical development: environmental degradation, increased risk of catastrophe and harder-to-define but still-real impacts on a city’s image and quality of life. Read more »
On the very first day of New Jersey’s annual bear hunt, hunters snagged 124 black bears — including one giant 693-pounder. The biggest bear ever killed during the hunt was 829 pounds, in 2011. Read more »