Downcycling

The bellow article is another good article on FAKE Green.  It presents a profound concept of “down-cycling”.  This is what we are in danger of doing with renewables.  We are already doing this with recycling.  If one considers the labor, water, and fossil fuels it takes to separate and then try to utilize recyclables we see down cycling fully.  Yet, it is better than nothing at all but let’s not call it green.  Here is a definition:

“Downcycling, or cascading:

is the recycling of waste where the recycled material is of lower quality and functionality than the original material. Often, this is due to the accumulation of tramp elements in secondary metals, which may exclude the latter from high-quality applications. Wikipedia”

Downcycling is a great concept to describe blind techno optimism with its complicated tech and quality destroying efficiency.  Efficiency can actually lessen the quality of life with nature and human social life.  A concept that needs to be added to this blind techno optimism is simplicity.  Simplicity with its essential component of wisdom:

Wisdom     Knowledge of systemness:

“Knowledge of systemness is the hardest won knowledge there is. It includes not just ordinary knowledge, but wisdom as well – the knowledge of what ordinary knowledge to gain and how to use it. This will be more valuable to some future population than computers or solar collectors because from this knowledge all other technical aspects can be regenerated.”

We are now at a time were less is better than more in regards to knowledge and tech.  This is where FAKE Green is a failure.  FAKE Green wants more for less but too often diminishing returns destroy value and Jevons Paradox makes efficiency mean more with more leading to less.

 

 

“Vaclav Smil on natural gas (ethane) and plastics”

https://tinyurl.com/ua9zskr     energy skeptic

 

“The effort of collecting, transporting and cleaning plastics for possible recycling has largely failed, created much more pollution and contributed massively to climate change. The idea of burning plastics and using the energy to heat our homes was proposed by the plastics company Dow more than 30 years ago: it suggested treating all plastics as “borrowed oil”. At that time, ordinary domestic waste had a calorific value of low-grade coal, so the suggestion was that this waste should be burned in efficient plants with heat recovery and treatment of the gases produced, perhaps even trapping the carbon dioxide produced, rather than trying to recycle the complex (and dirty) mix of plastics.  Today, with higher use of more complex plastics, this makes even more sense. Mixed plastics cannot really be recycled: they are long-chain molecules, like spaghetti, so if you reheat and reprocess them, you inevitably end up with something of lower performance; it’s called down-cycling.”  While this could be polluting if not done right, people will certainly turn to burning plastic and anything else they can get their hands on at some point of energy decline. Better to do it correctly now in an incinerator than in backyards in the future as well as to protect our land and waterways from plastic pollution right now.”

 

“In 2010, packaging consumed almost 40% of the total (mostly as various kinds of PE and PP), construction about 20% (mostly for plastic sheets used as vapor barriers in wall and ceiling insulation), the auto industry claimed nearly 8% (interior trim, exterior parts), and the electrical and electronic industry took about 6% (mostly for insulation of wires and cables).  All of these products begin as ethane. In North America and the Middle East ethane is separated from natural gas, and low gas prices and abundant supply led to surplus production for export and favored further construction of new capacities: in 2012 Qatar launched the world’s largest LDPE plant and, largely as a result of shale gas extraction, new ethylene capacities are planned in the USA (Stephan, 2012). The dominant feedstock for ethane in Europe, where prices of imported natural gas are high, is naphtha derived by the distillation of crude oil.  Plastics have a limited lifespan in terms of functional integrity: even materials that are not in contact with earth or water do not remain in excellent shape for decades. Service spans are no more than 2–15 years for PE, 3–8 years for PP, and 7–10 years for polyurethane; among the common plastics only PVC can last two or three decades and thick PVC cold water pipes can last even longer (Berge, 2009).”

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