My Kansas Department of Health and Environment calendar informs me that today is America Recycles Day – a reminder that it’s past time to remove the old newspapers from the garage and take them to the rhino lunchbox (aka newspaper recycling dumpster) in the Homeland parking lot and drop another load of aluminum cans by the Humane Society. (I disavow all responsibility for creating the newspaper piles and empty cans; it’s simply my mission to dispose of them responsibly.) Will my doing so make any real difference? If you have questions about that and other environmental conundrums, see yesterday’s New Scientist feature on Dumb Eco-Questions You Were Afraid to Ask. As you may already suspect, the questions seem a lot less dumb when you read the answers.
(One example: “According to Alcoa, the world’s third-largest aluminum producer, manufacturing a can from recycled aluminum uses only 5 percent of the energy of making one from scratch — an energy saving that could power a 100-watt bulb for 4 hours.”)
Postscript: My only significant reservation about New Scientist‘s list is the answer provided to the question “what is the single most effective thing I can do for the environment?” In this one instance, the answer, not the question, is dumb.