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Environment & Science

Reduce, recycle, fuhgettaboutit! NYT writer claims recycling a waste of time, critics disagree




AirTalk asks listeners if recycling still makes a difference or if its an exercise in futility to solve a larger problem.
AirTalk asks listeners if recycling still makes a difference or if its an exercise in futility to solve a larger problem.
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Recycling's long been touted as a way to extend the life of landfills, reduce carbon emissions, and reduce the need for mining, drilling, and logging.

Here in California we sort our household waste into multiple containers, feeling good about ourselves in the process. But in a recent opinion piece for the New York Times, columnist John Tierney argues that recycling is a useless practice that has very little impact on the national environmental footprint and on the overall efforts of conservation and waste management.

Many in the recycling business disagree. Mark Murray, Executive Director for the environmental nonprofit organization Californians against waste, says that California has seen great success adopting recycling success, not just on the waste management front, but also in terms of their infrastructure.

Do you recycle? Do you think it makes a difference? Or is it just an exercise in futility that doesn't solve the larger issue?​

Guests:

Mark Murray, Executive Director for Californians Against Waste, an environmental nonprofit organization.

John Tierney, New York Times columnist who wrote the recent opinion piece "The Reign of Recycling"