This multi-award winning channel produces programmes made by volunteers trained by the charity WORLDwrite

Subscribe to our podcasts using your preferred service:

Help with our podcasts

Chill out with our scientist on waste


4 Chill out on waste

Scientist Joe Kaplinsky tells us not to waste valuable time sorting out our rubbish. He explains that even if the whole world produced as much garbage as the USA for the next 100 years we could still just bury it in less than a 20 mile patch.

Related topics: Science Progress

Subscribe to our newsletter


Leave a comment now

WORLDbytes – The School of Citizen TV » Tales from the Missionary Hut: Plastic Wealth said:

[…] WORLDbytes video, Chill out with our scientist on waste […]

suzanne bull said:

An intestering view point given on recycling. It is well documented and delivered. It showed great examples in evidence to the scale of waste and how it could otherwise be disgarded.

I was shocked to see the dangerous human dismantle of the ships iron taking place in less privalged countires to benefit wetsern profits?

It is an excellent insight to introduce technology which would develop employment and raise health and saftey domains.

Leigh Matthews said:

This piece is short and simple and cleverly involves you in the issue by answering those questions that resonate in your mind when it comes to recycling.
The reason why people worry is because we fear what we do not understand!
Climate change is a powerful and inevitable fact of life and i believe we should still recycle but look beyond that and take initiative to explore other methods if we are really sincere about making a difference.

“Nature is pleased with simplicity”- Isaac Newton

mels said:

recycling is important and reducing waste should be the responsibility foe everyone to keep environment.

Celinie said:

WE need to change our way to consume and our way to treat what surround us.. This documentary is interesting as it not only warn us about the environmental waste but also says how we should act- how the politic should especially act.

Amirah Khan said:

Recycling only takes a small amount of time out of your day. This is always a topical subject and it’s good, even though not necessarily my personal opinion, to tackle the recyling issue in an oppositional way. An interesting take on the everyday news on reasons to recycle.

Andrew Maragh said:

This video raises huge issues on quite a sensitive subject which is Recycling. Joe Kaplinsky questions Recycling and suggests rather than to Recycle why not bury the waste. I feel this doesn’t solve the issue for a healthier environment it only adds to environmental waste. But I agree with Joe in the sense that we need more help in Recycling and I feel that the media in general need to do more in helping people become more aware. Maybe then as Joe says, more high tech machinery can be made to invest for Recycling.

Andrew said:

I must say I have always tried to recycle when I can, to do my part for the environment. This video hasen’t completly changed my mind but it has made me question the effects of Recycling. I do agree that we need more help on Recycling, however I feel that within the media and advertisers especially, they need to do more in helping people become more aware so that maybe more high tech machiery can be made to invest for Recycling. But at the end of the day, any effort to reduce effects of global warming I believe is positive.

G. Dixon said:

The main problem is based around ‘consumerism culture’, this results in companies often looking at cheaper options to package goods. Often these options results in materials, which are easier and cheaper to reproduced, but often more damaging to environment.
Recycling is now a mega business in itself, and tends to do some amount of good, but looking at the effects of some recycling processes, eg. the one mentioned in the film, ‘ship breaking’ in parts of Asia…is it really solving the problem?

Sammi said:

This is true to the title ‘byte’ rather than an objective piece of reporting, and Joe represents the people of the ‘why bother, science knows best’ group, which are entitled to their voice. However, this is a subject that really requires and presents an opportunity for some very interesting well researched coverage. Hats off for getting the debate rolling and highlighting how different peoples views are on this matter, but now let’s take it further and produce a thoroughly researched, balanced and informative piece.

Philippa said:

This is a huge issue and one which does benefit from presentation of more than one point of view, so applause for that. But a two and a half minute monologue is just as dangerous and imbalanced as any one sided argument on such a challenging problem can be, and it could be said that it plays right into the hands of those who live to debunk any suggestion that we are jeopardising the world’s future with our wasteful, lazy short-termism.

Louise said:

I am not sure why Joe Kaplinsky would suggest not to recycle and offer to just bury the rubbish which to me does not solves the real issues which is ‘Over Consumption and Waste. I think that recycling has encouraged people to value food and products that they use. I agree that we need more help to recycle but i do not believe that machinery alone is the answer. I urge more focus towards the manufacturing companies as well as advertisers who impose a need for material goods. The production process itself needs to be reviewed. If products were produced to be biodegradable and recyclable in the first place would we have this issue?. I agree with a previous post who points out that plastic which is non-degradable presents an issue for Joes ideas of burying it as a lot of products that we use has some sort of plastic container. You would think that any effort to reduce the affects of global warming and environmental hazards is positive, and something that needs to be stressed and supported? I would suggest that joe focused on where toxic rubbish goes and how that affects our environment and impoverished communities health and lifestyle.
I was expecting something more from this video but was disappointed. I guess Joe is just fed up of recycling and now want to get paid for his trouble.

tsitsi said:

Not sure what the point of the video was. I’m sure that Joe is very knowledgable, but I think he came across as being quite arrogant because he attempts to argue against domestic recycling without actually providing proof. He expects us to change tact just on his say so. Whilst he might have a point I’m not (and I suspect other intelligent beings too) convinced that I should take him seriously. More effort could have gone into the presentation and I think that the inclusion of some evidence and an informed response from a pro-recycing advocate would have turned it into an interesting and insightful film. sorry this one didn’t do it for me.

Catriona said:

I admire the guts of this video in it’s obvious attempt to go against the grain of accepted views on recycling. The video unearths the fact that often people carry out recycling more as a way to expunge guilt about the environment, rather than doing so because we know these actions to be beneficial (just see the comments left by viewers). I think the video could have set out it’s efforts more clearly, perhaps in a debate or using sub chapters that aimed to debunk certain ‘recycling myths’. This would have required more research, but would give the piece more credibility and more interest. Just 5 minutes of internet research, and I came across an article that described how recycled plastics from the UK are shipped to China – doesn’t sound very environmentally friendly does it? Household recycling is an ambiguous topic which demonstrates that environmental issues as a whole need more rigourous scrutiny, which unfortunately Joe doesn’t deliver.

Martyna said:

I am pro-recycling and what Joe says worries me. He says we can hide the rubbish beneath us, but what about plastic which is non-degradable? Won’t that have a negative effect on the environment? His point of view is interesting as I’ve never heard this perspective before so I am definitely going to research it. Nevertheless I remain sceptical. Promoting recycling also promotes an awareness of the environment and that actions have consequences. Therefore, the act of recycling stretches further than a time consuming (although, it doesn’t actually take that long!) chore.

Daisy said:

Very interesting! Great to finally hear someone talking about why not to recycle. Everytime I’m washing my morning marmalade jars to get them ready for recycling, I wonder why I’m wasting so much water on cleaning garbage. They are being melted at such high temperatures that it will instantly make the traces of jam disappear anyway.
Though it’s quite daring and original to approach the subject from this point of view, I think it could have provoked more discussion if their was more depth into the story and some proof of what he is saying is actually true.

Anastasia Brindley said:

I agree with what others have said, people need to put more effort into things like this, not that I can talk… I try to recycle as much as I can, but I don’t do everything.

Simin Cox said:

The documentary made by Joe Kaplinsky appears to be based more on his opinions than on any facts. As he mentioned, “individuals recycling their own waste will not have a big impact on the overall situation”. Green issues and pollution are currently amongst the hottest topics of discussion in our daily life. To belittle the issue of domestic recycling and to promote the importance of ship breaking is quite frankly naive. I am finding it hard to believe that the recycling of a few ships every year can be considered more important than the recycling of every individual’s waste in the developed world.

All forms of recycling and waste efficiency are clearly important.

Tunde Ajala said:

This is an important note on why we need recycling and why the poor might find it expensive i do agree on why we need more machines for our rubbish and i do agree that investing scale in recycling may be a solution to our rubbish.

Alex Smith said:

This short piece possibly says enough to make the viewer reconsider the value of household recycling. It’s briefness and lack of evidence and credibility of Joe Kaplinsky fails to ensure a factual content to the audience, which is essential for the programmes reliability.
I also struggle to see the purpose of the video. I believe there is a wealth of issues that are unsatisfactorily reported on. Firstly he claims industrial recycling is more valuable, and yet there is no recognition of the UK’s current attempts at such recycling. If there was such industrial recycling heavily present in the UK perhaps the government would appear less ‘cheeky’ to include the nation in various national recycling programmes. Secondly, the triviality of household recycling is based on materiality, with no recognition for the positive aspects of engaging individuals with their own waste.
Finally, the quality of the sound is poor, and Joe appears uncomfortable which denotes both lack of confidence and experience.

Overall I would have much preferred to see this issue tackled as a debate, so Joe could answer the questions so many of the other viewers and I were left with – most obviously ‘how do we condense such vasts amount of rubbish into small spaces?’.

Kassandra Gordon said:

This is very interesting. I have always thought recycling was good. This clip will prompt me to do some research around what Joe said. It would be helpful to know where did he get his facts from .

kelly said:

I still think that recycling should be a prominant part of our lives, as anything that is beneficial in reducing waste or that can be re-used is surley a good thing? I’m not sure if it is as simple as burying it.

Eleanor Harrington said:

I agree with an increased industrialisation of recycling, yet I disagree with the idea of ‘chilling out’ over recycling over waste. I big problem in our society is wasting produce and the globalisation of over farming leaving land taking precious resources such as water for out benefit. By making Britain more concious on exactly what it is consuming and becoming more aware of its effects, can not be necessarily a wasted thing surely?

Charles Coombs said:

Joe is correct regarding industrial waste, but communities that recycle are protecting their environment above and beneath the earth. Air and water are our essentials for human life. Percentages have little to do with a mind-shift and new habits that recycling produces anywhere in the world.

zett said:

I think Joe has a few good points, but I don’t agree everything he says. High tech methods for recycling should be developed to deal with trash economically and environment friendly, but during this, the little things people can do should not be forgotten. Sorting rubbish is a tiny effort, so why not do it? What’s the problem, as long as it’s not used as an excuse? There are two ways to improve things: Great scale industrial development and the contribution of people in their everyday life. Both methods are important.

SarahMate... said:

Recycling some material like plastic sounds good to me. Because plastic is made out of petrol and we all know that there are petrol shortages nowadays.

muchi said:

Personnaly, I think it’s a tiny little effort to sort the rubbish

mariaber... said:

Well thats a relief I always had an inkling that personal household recycling was a complete waste of time and I’m not lazy I just hate the idea that what we are doing at a personal level is an excuse for not solving things at a society wide level..well said Mr chill out.