Steaks made from human waste: now that is taking recycling too far…

June 17, 2011

Recently I did a post on when has science gone too far.

This may (or may not) be a case:

You’ve heard the vulgar term “eat sh.. (human excrement)”.

It seems as though it has come to pass, so to speak. I just read a story that says Japanese researchers have actually produced synthetic steak from human excrement. I mean I’m a fan of recycling, but this is far too extreme. Of course I realize that it may not be much different from the Donner Party resorting to cannibalism (and that soccer team that crashed in the Andes years ago), but that was an extreme circumstance (and I think they were going for the flesh anyway).

The story said that people actually ate the product and liked it. That begs the unanswered question (in the story I read): did they know what they were eating and/or where it came from?

It also reminds me of the futuristic (maybe not now) Charlton Heston movie Soylant Green in which a product was made out of unsuspecting human beings who were marched off like lambs to the slaughter.

“Soylant Green is made out of people”, cried out Heston in an anguished warning.

“That Kobe Beef steak is made out of crap!”, I cry out.

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ADD 1: A friend of mine reminded me that parts of animals and perhaps animal waste products do get into the human food chain through livestock feed, or at least that has been the case in the past. Even so, the idea of eating our own waste matter is just too revolting to contemplate as far as I am concerned.

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P.s.

A disclaimer: I was only using the term “Kobe” in a rhetorical or metaphorical sense. I did not really mean that that type or brand was made out of you know what.

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Was green before it was cool, but now feel a fool

January 13, 2009

(Copyright 2009)

I’ve always believed in recycling – if it’s not too difficult.

When recycling was first offered in my area, many, many years ago, they gave us three bins and you were supposed to sort the paper, plastic, and bottles. That was a chore, but I did it for the most part.

I would sometimes have problems with others in the household complying with the sort on the inside, you know: mixing recycle with garbage.

I didn’t like having to put all those open bins outside because they were susceptible to being strewn about by whatever forces would do so – wind, dogs, kids, whatever. And the bins weren’t big enough.

Then they came along with one big plastic can for recycling and you could put everything in there. I liked that, recycling made easy.

I probably didn’t bother to read all the directions as to what was recyclable and what was not. I do think that when we lived in a city just south of where we live now their literature said they didn’t want glass in with the recycling. But when we called the garbage service and asked what were we  supposed to do with the glass, they said: just put it in the recycle bin. So I did.

Then we moved to where we are now. I have been assiduous about sorting recycle and garbage. Well, a lot of our wet garbage goes into the garbage disposal at the sink. But we do have some other garbage. Actually, though, we usually have less than a sack full. But the tall recycle plastic can is usually full to the max – much of it newspapers, but a whole lot of various  packaging (mostly for food), as well.

Within the past year or so we’ve been notified that we are no longer supposed to throw old batteries (I’m talking flashlight size and smaller – I wouldn’t be trying to ditch a car battery) into the garbage or recycle. They expect us to haul them (one or two at a time?) ourselves to the solid waste place and pay a fee.  Same goes with florescent tubes. I don’t know what people are doing about that. I expect many are just chucking them in the trash anyway. Don’t have any florescent tubes around, but I do have several small dead batteries.

I have always noticed while driving through the neighborhood that most folks around here seem to pay little attention to recycling. They throw cardboard waste and other recyclable stuff into their garbage cans and probably, for all I know, throw garbage into the recycle cans. I know this because their cans are often overflowing. But everything seems to get picked up.

Well, so I thought, until this past week. As usual, my recycle can was full – but not as usual, a little too full. That gave the driver a red flag warning to peek in. He apparently found something that did not belong. And instead of dumping my can, he left me a yellow tag. But even though there was a space marked for telling me what the offending stuff was, he left that out. He just marked “contamination found”.  Later, in a phone call to the city garbage department we concluded it was probably a picture frame.

And here are a few more things that my yellow tag notes that would be verboten: plastic bags (I know, they foul up the recycling machinery. But what are you supposed to do with them? They don’t really want them in the landfill either because, as I understand it, they don’t bio degrade. Years ago when they made paper grocery bags strong enough, we used them, but sometime about 30 years ago, they began putting out thin sacks that give way at the bottom — I know waste more paper by double bagging), Styrofoam (similar problem, really not good for landfill), waxed cardboard (that perplexes me), and the most mystifying of all – shredded paper. They will take shredded paper from businesses, not from homes.

Two things I have concluded in all of this. First, we are far too wasteful a society with all the packaging we use. Second of all, recycling is a good idea, but it will work better if it is made easier.

I’m only willing to spend so much time sorting out my garbage, and after this week I have reduced my time allotment for it all. I won’t have my garbage lids open ever again. I just hope the driver doesn’t peek inside.