## Re: [CF] If You Recycle, It's Peachy Fine To Otherwise Kill The Planet

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• ... From: De Clarke ... Online sources seem to agree that the conversion factor is 3413 BTU / KWH:
Message 1 of 30 , Oct 3, 2003
----- Original Message -----
From: "De Clarke" <de@...>

> 400 watt/hours is .4 KWH ... and (hmmm)
>
> kWh x 3.6 = MJ x 0.2778 = kWh
>
> and
>
> Btu x 1.05506 = kJ x 0.9478 = Btu
>
> so if 3.6 KWH is a MJ and 1.055 BTU is a kJ, then
> 1055 BTU is a MJ is 3.6 KWH
>
> which means that 293 BTU (1055/3.6) is 1 KWH

Online sources seem to agree that the conversion factor is 3413 BTU / KWH:

on

So you would need to deflate your can counts by a factor of about 11.6. So a
Hummer owner needs to recycle 84 cans to drive 10 miles on the energy saved.

Thanks for the number fun. Someone will be along any minute now to correct
me.

Steve

>
> so now we're getting someplace at last. we now know that
>
> 400 watt/hours is .400 * 1KWH, or .400 * 293 BTU, or 117.2 BTU.
>
> and we remember that there are 114K BTU in a gallon of gas. so...
>
> to "save" enough energy to be the equivalent of 1 gallon of gas, we need
> to recycle on the order of 114,000/117.2 or 972.7 cans [assuming we accept
> the peculiar notion of "saving" which means that the *more* cans we make
> out of recycled metal, the more we "save" -- "the more you spend, the more
> you save!" but let us assume for the moment, for sake of the thought
> experiment, that the making of cans is a categorical imperative and our
> only choices are whether to make them out of virgin metal or recycled
metal...]
>
> we think a Hummer gets 10 MPG; so to drive a Hummer 10 miles on the
energy
> saved by recycling cans takes one gallon, or 972 recycled cans-worth of
> energy savings. the average American drives about 10,000 miles per year
> (or so I have read), so the Hummer-owning American would need to buy 1,000
> (10,000Mi/10MPG) gallons of gas per year, or 1000 * 972 recycled cans,
> or
>
> 972,000 cans
>
> now, tomfrostjr recently guesstimated that
>
> The rest area near me has enough aluminum cans going into its
> dumpster to probably run a Hummer 50,000 miles per year on the amount
> of energy that's being wasted by not recycling them.
>
place.
>
> 50,000 miles would be 5x the estimate above, or 4.86 million cans. now we
> need another rough metric. how many cans can one individual account for
per
> year?
>
> 99 billion aluminum cans, or 374 cans per person were used in 1995.
>
> http://www.green-networld.com/tips/aluminium.htm
>
> so to run one Hummer 50,000 miles on "aluminum can recycling energy
savings"
> would require the total aluminum can discard of 12,994 people (as of 1995)
to
> be recycled. (4.86M/374)
>
> while it's quite possible for 13K people to visit a rest area on a major
> insterstate highway in one day, let alone one year, they obviously only
pass
> through briefly and discard only a few, at most, of the hundreds of cans
> they would use in one year -- the rest end up in home garbage cans, tossed
> out the window onto the verge, or at other rest areas etc.
>
> if we posit that each person would throw away an average of, say, 2 cans
> at the rest area during a brief stop, then we only need 2.43 million
> people to use the rest area in a year, callously discarding recyclable
> cans, for its dumpster(s) to yield enough wasted can-energy to run
> that Hummer 50K miles. [if the rest area has recycling bins as well
> as dumpsters then the problem becomes intractable, as we have a hard time
> estimating the percentage of people who will use the recycle bins vs those
> who will just toss a can into the garbage; so let's assume there are no
> recycle bins at the rest area.]
>
> given all this, 13,315 cans per day would have to be tossed, or 459 lbs of
> alloy per diem (I think there are about 29 cans to a pound of metal these
days),
> in order to waste enough energy in a year to drive that Hummer 50K miles.
> that does seem like rather a lot of cans, but I guess it could be a very
busy
> and popular rest area.
>
> of course only *one* Hummer could be driven 50,000 miles on the saved
> energy if those 2.43 million people all recycled their cans properly at
> the rest area. GM, on introducing the H2, hoped to sell 40,000 of them in
> the first year. to fuel all those Hummers at 10MPG and 50K miles per year
> each, busy little recycling bees would have to "save" the energy from the
alloy
> cans used by (hmmm) 2.43 million people per year using 40,000 major rest
areas.
> a sobering thought... especially since the H2 has been on the market for
more
> than one year.
>
> if a Hummer gets 10 MPG and 40,000 Hummers drive 50K miles per year, then
> collectively they consume 5000 gallons * 40K or 200 Mgals per year.
> and since 972 cans roughly equals a gallon, that means 200M * 972 or
> 194K-million (billion) cans... which is almost twice the total number
> of cans produced in the US in 1995 (99 billion vs 194 billion). another
> sobering thought -- Hummers are a niche vehicle and represent only one
> small elite slice of FUV-dom; we can breathe a sigh of relief because
> they don't all drive 50K miles per year, only to gasp in dismay as we
> realise how outnumbered they are by the legions of other FUVs on the road.
>
> a perhaps more interesting sidelight is this: if you have to drive
> 10 miles in your Hummer to the recycling centre and 10 miles back, how
> many cans must you carry with you for recycling in order to make the
> trip a net energy savings?
>
> looks like the answer is: 20 miles round trip, 10 miles is 972 cans,
> so 20 miles is 1944 cans, or the average yearly can-consumption of 5.2
> people. so if the trip is made any more than once yearly for a family of
> 5, or if each person in the family doesn't consume their quota of 374
> cans per annum, the trip would be a net loss. (and of course we're not
> counting the trips made to the grocery store at 10 MPG to buy the cans
> in their filled incarnation...)
>
> more vividly yet, if you were to drive a 30 mpg car rather than a 10
> mpg car, you might then buy only 300 gallons rather than 1,000 gallons
> of gas for your average-American 10K miles per year of driving. the 700
> gallons you didn't buy would be the equivalent of recycling 700*972 or
> 680,000 cans that year, at 972 recycled cans per gallon -- or 1819
> years' worth of your average American alloy can consumption at 374 cans
> per annum.
>
> oh well... enough fun with numbers. like I say, someone should
double-check
> 'em because it's late at night and zeroes can get misplaced when one is
sleepy.
>
> on the whole I'd say a pretty good case can be made that no matter how
> much you recycle, your gasoline consumption is likely to be a far bigger
> contributor to your net energy footprint -- even scrupulous recycling
> for a family of 5 would only "pay" for one 20 mile round trip per year
> in the Hummer...
>
> de
>
> --
>
............................................................................
.
> :De Clarke, Software Engineer UCO/Lick Observatory,
UCSC:
> :Mail: de@... | Your planet's immune system is trying to get rid
:
> :Web: www.ucolick.org | of you. --Kurt Vonnegut :
> :1024D/B9C9E76E | F892 5F17 8E0A F095 05CD EE8B D169 EDAA B9C9
E76E:
>
>
>
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>
• ... interesting! told you there could be an order of magnitude error at that time of night :-) but I wonder, why the discrep between the conversion table I
Message 2 of 30 , Oct 3, 2003
Steven Schoeffler (steve@...) wrote:
>
> ----- Original Message -----
> From: "De Clarke" <de@...>
>
> > 400 watt/hours is .4 KWH ... and (hmmm)
> >
> > kWh x 3.6 = MJ x 0.2778 = kWh
> >
> > and
> >
> > Btu x 1.05506 = kJ x 0.9478 = Btu
> >
> > so if 3.6 KWH is a MJ and 1.055 BTU is a kJ, then
> > 1055 BTU is a MJ is 3.6 KWH
> >
> > which means that 293 BTU (1055/3.6) is 1 KWH
>
> Online sources seem to agree that the conversion factor is 3413 BTU / KWH:
>
> on

interesting! told you there could be an order of magnitude error at
that time of night :-) but I wonder, why the discrep between the conversion
table I found (above) and the 3.4K BTU number from your other source?
if it were exactly a factor of 10 I would think "simple typo", that
whoever set the table I was looking at got a dp in the wrong place. but
a factor of 11.6 is odd.

> So you would need to deflate your can counts by a factor of about 11.6. So a
> Hummer owner needs to recycle 84 cans to drive 10 miles on the energy saved.

so they can go recycling more often :-)

> Thanks for the number fun. Someone will be along any minute now to correct
> me.

thanks for the new data. I'll try to find out the reason for the discrep
between the kJ-MJ table of conversions I was using, and the 10x greater
factor that you found.

de

--
.............................................................................
:De Clarke, Software Engineer UCO/Lick Observatory, UCSC:
:Mail: de@... | Your planet's immune system is trying to get rid :
:Web: www.ucolick.org | of you. --Kurt Vonnegut :
:1024D/B9C9E76E | F892 5F17 8E0A F095 05CD EE8B D169 EDAA B9C9 E76E:
• ... too bad, it looks like they needed some proof reading! I ll have to resolve that BTU to KWH issue for my own satisfaction as well as to improve the
Message 3 of 30 , Oct 3, 2003
David Hansen (davidh@...) wrote:
> On 2 Oct 2003 at 23:16, De Clarke wrote:
>
> > > However, if
> > > messages are too long then my eyes tend to glaze over and I press the
> > > button for the next message.
> >
> > <grin> as a chronic verbosity offender I apologize for the daunting
> > line-counts.
>
> My eyes don't glaze over with your messages though. Most are
> interesting enough to read at least once.
>
> However, I did skim the aluminium can calculations:-)

too bad, it looks like they needed some proof reading! I'll have to
resolve that BTU to KWH issue for my own satisfaction as well as to
improve the thought experiment -- since energy is the only real currency
of civilisation, it seems like we all should be at least as conversant
in energy units as we are in nickels, dollars, pounds and pennies, etc.

it's rather sad to me that we all come out of school with a pretty good
grasp on feet and yards, pounds and gallons (well most of us anyway), but
relatively few people I know -- including myself -- have a good grasp on
quantitative energy. it would be fun to put up an educational web page
for people who want to "think green", documenting useful unit conversions
and equivalences. how hard would you have to pedal a bicycle for how
long in order to generate enough power to run a 27 inch TV for 1 hour?
if you leave a 100w light bulb burning all night, how many square feet
of Nevada desert under direct noon sunlight would recapture that
amt of energy? how efficient is a solar panel, and how many MORE sq
feet of Nevada desert would be needed to *really* recapture that energy
with technology available to us today? how much energy do I save by
buying a local piece of fruit vs a long-distance piece of fruit? what
are the energy inputs in petro fuels per food calorie produced, for
an organic farm vs an industrial farm?

tomfrostjr's initial speculation about the waste of potential energy
savings incurred by tossing Al cans into the trash, opens the door to
a whole set of vexing questions which the average person doesn't have
enough information to answer. the fact that we are not schooled from
an early age in energy units the way we are in other units of time,
distance, volume and weight, imho says something about the societal
assumption that energy is "free", but also about a deliberate erasure
of the real-world energy economy, in favour of that collective fantasy
or game called the money economy. we "use" physical units all the time
in building stuff, figuring out whether a new couch will fit in the
living room, deciding whether we can lift that heavy sack of taters,
etc. but we don't "use" energy units in a meaningful way unless we
are off-the-gridders or longhaul sailors counting milliamps and tweaking
our windmills/solar panels.

most people (self included) are equally illiterate in water consumption.
I had a hose burst in the garden a while back and was embarrassed to realise
afterwards that I didn't have in the front of my brain (or even the back)
a basic sense of "gallons per hour lost from wide-open tap." I didn't know
my local water pressure and even if I had known this number, I had no idea
how to guesstimate the number of gallons wasted -- other than "really a lot"
for empiricism and measured the time needed to fill a 5 gallon container,
then guesstimated the number of hours (!) that elapsed while the hose was
burst. the answer was a large scary number. but it illustrated for me that
while I know that "leaving the tap running" wastes water, I have no
quantitative idea how much water is lost per minute from my kitchen tap,
bathroom tap, etc.

the inability to do basic resource accounting is imho a major cause/result
of the engineered divorce between consumer society and physical reality...
one reason why people don't understand the true cost of driving.

de

--
.............................................................................
:De Clarke, Software Engineer UCO/Lick Observatory, UCSC:
:Mail: de@... | Your planet's immune system is trying to get rid :
:Web: www.ucolick.org | of you. --Kurt Vonnegut :
:1024D/B9C9E76E | F892 5F17 8E0A F095 05CD EE8B D169 EDAA B9C9 E76E:
• ... From: De Clarke ... Don t megaflops count?
Message 4 of 30 , Oct 3, 2003
----- Original Message -----
From: "De Clarke" <de@...>

> since energy is the only real currency
> of civilisation

Don't megaflops count?
• ... rediscovered source of this table:
Message 5 of 30 , Oct 3, 2003
De Clarke (de@...) wrote:
> Steven Schoeffler (steve@...) wrote:
> >
> > ----- Original Message -----
> > From: "De Clarke" <de@...>
> >
> > > 400 watt/hours is .4 KWH ... and (hmmm)
> > >
> > > kWh x 3.6 = MJ x 0.2778 = kWh
> > >
> > > and
> > >
> > > Btu x 1.05506 = kJ x 0.9478 = Btu

rediscovered source of this table:

yes, these additional quotes resolve the problem.

"The equivalent imperial measure to joules is British Thermal Units (BTU).
One kilojoule = 0.9478 BTU."

http://www.santos.com.au/investor/conv_calc/default.asp

1055 Joules = 1 Btu
252 calories= 1Btu
1 kilowatt-hour of electricity = 3413 Btu's
1 cubic foot of natural gas = 1030 Btu's
1 Therm = 100,000 Btu's

http://www.unep.or.kr/highlight/energy/main/reenergy.htm

1 kWh means 1 kW of power being used for 1 hour.

Kilowatt-hours relate to megajoules as follows:

1 kWh = 1 kJ/s x 3600 s = 3600 kJ = 3.6 MJ

http://www.seav.vic.gov.au/glossary.html

it's quite obvious when fully awake :-) stupid me -- I was reading the
LHS of the table when I shoulda been reading the RHS.
"BTU *times* 1.05506 = Kj", not "1.0556 BTU make a Kj"...

OK, so, having got our East and West sorted out :-)

1 MJ is .2778 KWH, not 3.6 KWH.
1 MJ is 947.8 BTU, not 1055 BTU.

and 947.8/.2778 is... 3411.80705544 BTU/KWH

or 3412, which is quite close enough to 3413 to keep us all happy.

and the factor of 11 was a compound error, not a single error.

and I'd-a known (at the gut level) that the numbers were wrong, if
(reverting to my subsequent grumbling) we were all fundamentally
energy-literate -- just as I'd know that a price label was wrong if I
found a loaf of bread in the local market marked \$32.50 instead of \$3.25.
my ability to read a table wrong (even in haste and when sleepy) and not
immediately suss the oom+ error, is more evidence of not having the same
basic grasp on energy units that we all do on weights, measures, etc.
even half asleep I would know that the loaf of bread was mispriced, or
that a sack of potatoes of a certain size has to be 5 lbs, not 50 lbs;
and if the human race is to survive I think we'd all better learn to
know in our guts how much everything costs in kJ and BTU :-) [project
for this winter: work on that energy units and equivalences webpage].

speaking of units, how many folks I wonder have an intuitive grasp of disk
storage space, now that computers are so ubiquitous among the middle and
upper classes? I suspect that many of us are far more gut-level comfortable
with units of MB and KB, floppies and thumbdrives and MP3 player NVRAM and
so forth, than we are with watt-hours. we know what "big" is and about
how many files of size X will fit on our floppy/hard drive/palmpilot etc.

we also, as "consumers," know how long batteries last (thinking in Time
units, not Energy units) and how long (Time again) it takes to recharge
one. but I bet we don't know the efficiency of our charger and how many
real-world energy units E1 it takes to recharge a battery in order for
that battery to yield us discharge units E2 over the useable period.
lossiness in particular is something we neither know nor care (yet!)

similarly, drivers know how far (Miles) they can get on a tank of gas,
or how long (Time) they can drive between refilling the tank. they may
know how many dollars (Money) it takes to fill up. but they have no idea
how much energy they use, or how efficient (inefficient!) their car is.

de

--
.............................................................................
:De Clarke, Software Engineer UCO/Lick Observatory, UCSC:
:Mail: de@... | Your planet's immune system is trying to get rid :
:Web: www.ucolick.org | of you. --Kurt Vonnegut :
:1024D/B9C9E76E | F892 5F17 8E0A F095 05CD EE8B D169 EDAA B9C9 E76E:
• ... Sure do! How many megaflops/watt-second does your box do? ;-)
Message 6 of 30 , Oct 3, 2003
At 01:21 PM 10/3/03 -0500, Steven Schoeffler wrote:
>Don't megaflops count?

Sure do! How many megaflops/watt-second does your box do? ;-)
• ... Hmm, I think I can work that out. ah, but how many furlongs per fortnight can you travel on your bike? and how many MPB (miles per bagel) can the average
Message 7 of 30 , Oct 3, 2003
Whitney Turner (wturner@...) wrote:
> At 01:21 PM 10/3/03 -0500, Steven Schoeffler wrote:
> >Don't megaflops count?
>
> Sure do! How many megaflops/watt-second does your box do? ;-)

Hmm, I think I can work that out. ah, but how many furlongs per fortnight
can you travel on your bike? and how many MPB (miles per bagel) can the
average cyclist achieve, without a head wind and on flat paved surface?

:-)

de

--
.............................................................................
:De Clarke, Software Engineer UCO/Lick Observatory, UCSC:
:Mail: de@... | Your planet's immune system is trying to get rid :
:Web: www.ucolick.org | of you. --Kurt Vonnegut :
:1024D/B9C9E76E | F892 5F17 8E0A F095 05CD EE8B D169 EDAA B9C9 E76E:
• I ve thought about this a little.... to the extent of noting that a pound package of spaghetti contains 8 servings of 15% each of the Daily Value of calories
Message 8 of 30 , Oct 3, 2003
package of spaghetti contains 8 servings of 15% each of the Daily Value of
calories on a 2000 calorie diet: so 1 pound of spaghetti will approximately
run one human for one day.

Steve

----- Original Message -----
From: "De Clarke" <de@...>

> how many MPB (miles per bagel) can the
> average cyclist achieve, without a head wind and on flat paved surface?
>
> :-)
>
> de
• ... Eew. Meet http://tinyurl.com/ It converted the hideous thing to the nice short http://tinyurl.com/pmmv
Message 9 of 30 , Oct 3, 2003
On Fri, 3 Oct 2003, De Clarke wrote:

Eew. Meet http://tinyurl.com/

It converted the hideous thing to the nice short http://tinyurl.com/pmmv

***********************************************************
Riin Gill
Interlibrary Loan 734-615-6168
Taubman Medical Library fax 734-763-1473
University of Michigan
***********************************************************
If you were riding your bike, you'd be having fun by now.
• Steven Schoeffler corrects De: (snip) ... 11.6. So a ... energy saved. TF: Thank you. 84 is at least in the ball park of the number I got: 20 (aluminum cans
Message 10 of 30 , Oct 4, 2003
Steven Schoeffler corrects De:

(snip)
> So you would need to deflate your can counts by a factor of about
11.6. So a
> Hummer owner needs to recycle 84 cans to drive 10 miles on the
energy saved.

TF: Thank you. 84 is at least in the ball park of the number I got:
20 (aluminum cans needing to be recycled, to save the energy
equivalent of a gallon of gas; that's what my guesstimate of how far
a Hummer could be run on the energy savings, was based on).

Here's how I got the number 20 (or 21 1/3 now that I've aroused
nitpickers): You don't have to look far in aluminum can recycling
propaganda to see the boast that recycling an aluminum can saves the
energy equivalent of half its contents in gas. Well that's 6 ounces.
6 goes into 128, 21 1/3 times.

In short, the _real_ Enemy of the Environment in the news story that
started this thread, was the vandalizer of the recycler's Hummer.

Also, part of De's calculations had included:

(snip)
> > if the rest area has recycling bins as well
> > as dumpsters then the problem becomes intractable, as we have a
hard time
> > estimating the percentage of people who will use the recycle bins
vs those
> > who will just toss a can into the garbage; so let's assume there
are no
> > recycle bins at the rest area.

TF: You mean you have that much faith in the kind of bureaucrats who
run rest areas? The rest area does indeed have several "aluminum cans
only" containers, but the attendants are instructed to just throw the
contents thereof into the dumpster!

- Tom Frost Jr.
• With corrected figures, and with briefer text (for which I m sure all and sundry will be grateful ) let s re-do the can math. I d like to get this as
Message 11 of 30 , Oct 4, 2003
With corrected figures, and with briefer text (for which I'm sure all
and sundry will be grateful <grin>) let's re-do the can math. I'd like
to get this as close to right as possible, 'cos it could be the first
example of energy-literacy for the proposed web page [one of my astrophysics
buddies at work is rather interested in this and is working on a set
of questions involving equivalents of work done, weight moved, heat
dissipated, etc, such as "how many bricks would you have to lift to
the roof of your 1-storey home in order to store/use as much power as
your TV set uses in an hour?"]

so, back to our cans, Hummers, and gallons:

----------------------------------------------------------------------

ONE GALLON OF GAS 114,000 BTU

ALLEGED E-SAVINGS OF .4 KWH
RECYCLING ONE AL CAN

BTU PER KWH 3413 BTU

BTU SAVED PER RECYCLED CAN .4 * 3413 or
1365 BTU

CAN-SAVINGS-EQUIV per GALLON 83.5 CANS

MPG of HUMMER 10 MPG

BTU to drive HUMMER 10 MILES 114,000 BTU
= 1 GALLON

CAN-SAVINGS-EQUIV to drive HUMMER 83.5 CANS
10 MILES (1 GALLON)

CSE to drive HUMMER 10,000 MILES 84,000 CANS
(Average American driver's
annual mileage)

CSE to drive HUMMER 50,000 MILES 420,000 CANS
(TFJ thought experiment
referencing rest-area

NUMBER OF AL CANS PER YEAR PER 374 CANS
PERSON (1995 datum)

NUMBER OF AL CANS MFRD PER ANNUM 99,000,000,000 (99B) CANS
(1995 datum)

NUMBER OF PEOPLE'S annual 1122 PEOPLE-YEARS
CSE NEEDED TO
drive HUMMER 50K miles

NUMBER OF CAN DISCARDERS at rest 210,000 PEOPLE
area (at 2 cans per person)
needed to drive HUMMER
50K MILES, in 1 year

NUMBER OF CSE PER DAY to drive HUMMER 1150 CANS
50K miles in one year

NUMBER OF CAN DISCARDERS per day 575 PEOPLE
to achieve this rate at
rest area

NUMBER OF CSE needed to drive 3,360,000,000 CANS
40,000 HUMMERS (one years'
projected unit sales)
10K MILES per year

NUMBER OF CSE needed to offset 167 (83.5 * 2) CANS
20 MILE round trip in
10 MPG HUMMER

NUMBER OF CSE achieved by driving 58,450 CANS
30 MPG car intstead of 10
MPG car 10,000 MILES

YEARS OF INDIVIDUAL CAN CONSUMPTION 156.3 YEARS
equiv to above CSE

NUMBER OF CSE achieved by not driving 333 GALLONS = 27,805 CANS
a 30 MPG car as opposed to
driving one, for one year at
an assumed 10,000 miles

NUMBER OF PERSON/CAN/YEARS equivalent 74
to above

[once again, I invite y'all to double check these figures]

In English: 1122 people would have to recycle every single Al can
they use in one year, to "save" enough energy to offset the energy consumption
of driving one Hummer 50K miles. (And those people would have to recycle
their cans without incurring any further energy costs, such as driving
to the recycling centre or using an electric can-crusher). If that Hummer
only drove the national average of 10K miles in one year, then "only"
1/5 as many people -- 224 people -- would have to dedicate their recycling
lives to compensating for the gas consumption of this Hummer. As my
yuppie neighbour memorably said, some years ago "Oh, it's so nice that
you're conserving water -- that means we can use more!"

You would have to recycle every Al can you use for 156 years, to produce
the same "energy savings" benefit you would achieve by driving a 30 MPG
car rather than a 10 MPG car for just one year. Since you won't live
156 years, it appears you'll need a friend or two to participate in this
justification of a 10 MPG car :-)

The Hummer driver who drives 20 miles r.t. to recycle cans must carry
at least 167 cans per trip to make the "savings" from the cans offset
the energy cost of the trip -- for a zero-sum game. The cyclist who
eats organic and locally-grown food would have a much higher "profit
margin" on this trip (not to mention the benefits of exercise and
improved humour) for far fewer cans.

And we are still begging the question of why the H we "need" to manufacture
99 Billion cans per annum to contain watered-down sugar syrups with fizz,
produced and marketed via an insanely wasteful web of long-haul transit.
We wouldn't need high-tech light containers for drinks if the drinks weren't
being hauled by air and truck several thousand miles before reaching their
consumers... glass (also recyclable, at lower temps) would work fine if
we weren't obsessed with reducing freight weight and packing more cans in
each cu ft of container space, or making the containers proof against the
violent stresses of longhaul transit and repeated middleman handling.

----------------------------------------------------------------------

So, to dwell a little longer on the implications of the above:
The Hummer driver who thought better of it and decommissioned his Hummer
in favour of a 30 MPG compact, would save more energy than he could ever
achive in 2 lifetimes of recycling cans, in just one year of average
driving mileage (10,000 miles).

Or looked at another way: if a person could, by reason or wheedling
or flattery or shaming or tax disincentives, be persuaded to trade in
their 10 MPG Hummer for a 30 MPG compact -- then the carping critic, nagging
spouse or preachy enviro who persuaded them to take this step would have
achieved 2 lifetimes' worth of can recycling activity in energy savings,
in just the first year of that Hummer's inactivity, and the same savings
for every year thereafter. That seems worth nagging about.

The person who refrains from driving their 30 MPG car for *one year* or
10,000 miles, choosing to walk or bike instead, achieves an energy savings
in just that one year, equivalent to the average can-consumer recycling
every single can they use, faithfully, for 74 years (or an average lifetime).

The person who persuades, bribes, shames, begs or ridicules even one other
person to stop driving their 30 MPG car and ride a bike or walk instead,
has contributed to an energy savings in the first year that is equivalent
to a 74-year lifetime of faithful recycling.

The lesson I draw from this is that it is very much worth our while to
make every kind of outreach and effort to "uncool" gas guzzling SUVs and
encourage at least a return to moderate gas frugality, and at best, an
increased popularity of carfreedom. Each year of the difference between
Hummer and subcompact or moped is worth 2 lifetimes of can recycling,
and each year of the difference between subcompact and feet/bike is worth

And the choice of vehicle we make seems to outweigh the importance of
our recycling activity by about the ratio of 1 or 2 lifetimes to one year.

[ BTW, "recycled" Al cans are not made from 100 pct recycled alloy. some
virgin metal is also introduced into the process. the "savings" is a reflection
of the percentage of recycled material and the E-cost of resmelting it as opposed
to the cost of refining virgin ore. but virgin ore is still dug and refined
and smelted in the making of "recycled" cans.

Axiomatically, the savings accrued not *not making 1 can* will always be far
larger than the savings accrued by making 1 can partly out of recycled metal. ]

de

--
.............................................................................
:De Clarke, Software Engineer UCO/Lick Observatory, UCSC:
:Mail: de@... | Your planet's immune system is trying to get rid :
:Web: www.ucolick.org | of you. --Kurt Vonnegut :
:1024D/B9C9E76E | F892 5F17 8E0A F095 05CD EE8B D169 EDAA B9C9 E76E:
• ... (snip) ... consumption ... TF: But 1121 of them don t. Therefore, those of us who do it for them are justified in using a cage to haul the cans. If De
Message 12 of 30 , Oct 5, 2003
--- In CarFree@yahoogroups.com, De Clarke <de@u...> wrote:
(snip)
> In English: 1122 people would have to recycle every single Al can
> they use in one year, to "save" enough energy to offset the energy
consumption
> of driving one Hummer 50K miles.

TF: But 1121 of them don't. Therefore, those of us who do it for them
are justified in using a "cage" to haul the cans.

If De says I need to recycle 84 cans instead of 21 to save the energy
equivalent of a gallon of gas, that's no problem; I easily get 84 on
a bikeload. After I save up a few hundred cans, I use my 30 mpg
"cage" to take them to the deposit-law state that I live 30 miles
from, N.Y., to cash them in.

I also have an 8 mpg truck that I use for other things - things that
are _also_ permitted under 1) De's arithmetic, 2) the Bicyclists'
list's own description at its homepage,
http://groups.yahoo.com/group/CarFree (which, for the information of
my latest attacker Jason Neiss, includes the words "or reduce").

- Tom Frost Jr.
• ... Not me, though I did have a pretty good grasp of the far more sensible metres, kilogrammes and litres. ... I agree that it is relatively few. However,
Message 13 of 30 , Oct 6, 2003
On 3 Oct 2003 at 10:41, De Clarke wrote:

> it's rather sad to me that we all come out of school with a pretty good
> grasp on feet and yards, pounds and gallons (well most of us anyway),

Not me, though I did have a pretty good grasp of the far more
sensible metres, kilogrammes and litres.

> but
> relatively few people I know -- including myself -- have a good grasp on
> quantitative energy.

I agree that it is relatively few. However, those of us with a good
grasp do not always want to do the same thing in our leisure as we do
during work time.
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