« Freakonomics Radio

52. Weird Recycling

2011-12-02 | 🔗
Clever ways to not waste our waste.
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either Carlos area, earnest region, I recently had lunch in Chinatown, Chinatown York City, where I live with a very pleasant. fellow men, Carlos Island. We met up at a place. The golden unicorn to eat, something I'd never had before chicken feed, also known as chicken pause of Carlos is the guy that you want. chicken Pox with heat he works at produce farms, the third largest. chicken producer in the? U S and he's the vice president of International, which means I mentioned Everything that review does on the side of the business of the chicken and Turkey's that's outside of the United States, and my main focus is on exporting products letter not so desired in the U S sending overseas and Europe the poor, you like you, the chicken is, I care
for man you're, not just stay spokes in Europe right, you love the bar, that's very true! It's it's! Actually the best part of the chicken Esparza. It's my favorite thing. I'm happy! from W N Y see an ATM american public media. This is Reaganomics radio. Today, we'll recycling, clever ways to not waste our ways. Peers, your house, even doesn't it. I'm gonna, go out on a limb here and say that most Americans would vigorously not agree with Carlos. I Allah, the chicken pause are the best part of the now we haven't seen him yet we will soon I'm just describe what they're gonna look like when I use Mr Google to help me out, and I say chicken be or chicken pause, it looks to me:
like a kind of sweaty human hand missing a thing. Yeah became brown and wrinkly- and that's actually won reasons. I prefer the black beings because they look less like you. We ordered some dumplings a neutral dish, some chinese broccoli and a basket of chicken feed for everyone at our table and then tucked into those little sires, they were about the size of my kids hands. My kids are nine and eleven. The pause were fleshy an bony. At the same time, You have to sit out. Yes, you Dave. I believe, however, that what do you think so? Here's what I think I think it's perfectly fine doesn't you know, disgust me or repel me in the least. I can't say the best thing I be in the last: even fibres
flowers for over five years, but I love that you love them, so I'm going to be with the paw for a little while our order caused a bit of stir with golden unicorns wait staff for Re Lamb who works on for economics and came with us They just ass me help me we're Carlos from because they said that westerners never ever order chicken pause. We above five baskets on the table right now. So all the waitresses interests common across the man ass. He is what he does and where he's once they find out that Carlos I other works for Purdue, which makes him chicken Paul royalty. We get first class treatment, including
special off the menu ginger infused chicken pawed dessert, which I'd rather not relieve right now. But you got the feeling that even with out the Purdue connection. They would have smiled and our party because, as they said, it's the rare Eric and who orders the PA in China. Meanwhile watch out, it's not the breast. They crave like we do here the drumstick right, but what really floats their boat is the chicken paw. I Allah tells me the: U S: exports about three hundred thousand metric tons of chicken pause to China and Hong Kong. Every That's roughly the mass of the empire state building. It's amazing that you're taking something that for your company in this country is pretty much value. Its brought infected may be negative cos you normally would just dispose of it. Yes, that's right, so nothing ghost waste on a chicken, but the chicken pause absent. The export market just have no value
I mean it's very: where did all those hundreds of million millions of chicken Paul right. You, you produce about twelve million chickens per week, so that more than half a billion chickens per year, that just produce is producing hats rate and each have to pee so we are building a billion pause? Ok, so take me back a little bit our many years. We need to go back to the time before there was a robust export markets where, with those billion plus, if there were that many then feet. Be going so did they go to rendering in and it might end up in dog food or anything like that, but I would certainly not for humans and then in ninety ninety one. We started harvesting pause and our first plan and it's actually a huge operate. so using opportunity casting in the alternative is almost zero. So the upgrades tremendous in fact it's one of the more profitable items for checking company right now, the boss
and in what was the general feeling within per do about this idea of creating an export market for until we look on your face, it wasn't green I've been or open, because the idea that we're going and a lot of money in infrastructure for this. What what? What are you thinking that its turned out to be one of the most profitable items that we have in fact there's? There's a lot of chicken companies would be out of business, but wasn't for that. Is that right, Purdue included! It would be very difficult for us to survive without getting its critical part of the business demand in China is bottomless for chicken pox. If we produced literally, if we is twice as many pause did, that they be sold by nine theirs. And why don't you? Because you don't have enough demand for the rest, the chickens exactly right, so you just need to learn to grow chickens with four feet.
I've asked our geneticists about it doesn't know like yet the idea of a or footed chicken aside and assuming you have no problem of people eating chicken in the first place. Don't you of this idea me what's not to love one man's trash is another man's dinner. I am very attracted to this kind of thing. I grew up on a little farm in a big family without a lot of resources, anything they could be reused or re purpose was big. Last mayonnaise jars got turned into milk jugs for a cow junk mail became scratch paper, nor the cardboard tube from wire coat hangers. We ask them to make fire starters recycle It wasn't a political thing: you it was a way of life, so I'm always
look out for recycling stories, the weirder, the better, which brings us now to Cleveland Ohio. We ve got a little bit of radio that we might want to turn off every fair that a lot of our voluntary says. That's Tisch, Daulby she's, the executive director of a nonprofit called men wish international mid, wish, represses medical waste and sends it to poor countries, now feel like me, you hear the words medical waste and you picture used syringes and bloody gauze. But that's not we're talking about here of more than two million tonnes of medical waste generated each year by: U S, hospitals, a lot of it is perfectly good. Even unused equipment and supplies. Radio producer Dan Bob Cough walked through the meadows. warehouse with disturbing. Never here, as you can see it s not about different in terms of and the front Have a lot of box supplies, but as we work our way back
Seymour exam tables even baby crabs and equipment that would be going overseas. What is this over here? This is an ultra, so machine, and this is going to Mongolia and we have a shipment they'll be going to Mongolia later this year. Vehicle masks. What we have here is a collections for sharps below collection sets syringes and basic
a lot of items that you're gonna need for diagnostic and lab work. Not there are plenty of under funded hospitals and clinics in the U S, but midway can't send stuff to them because of liability issues and regulations on disposing medical waste, even unused medical supplies, so they ship it off to more than ninety countries around the world. Africa is a common destination. When I went to nigeria- and I saw what having nothing really meant, it blew me away. That's Lee Ponsonby he's a euro logic oncologist at case western medical center in Cleveland. He started med wish during college. After He volunteered as a surgical assistant in Nigeria in ninety ninety one we started our day literally sewing up rubber gloves from the day before. So we had a little lady sat in a corner filled him with water, the surgical gloves, and if there is water dripping, one of the fingers are as a whole should take a needle and thread, and so it up until there is no water dripping. We would make our
say lean water and add salt and sterilize it. We would literally, we could by very inexpensive fishing line, nylon fish learn to use and we were cut it openly and we would use it into suture too. So people up for the day surgery we made on gaza- and you know what, at the end of the day it worked, and but it was amazing to me that there are sometimes surgeries we couldn't do because we just didn't have the instruments are the tools to simple stuff, often the doctors. There had the text that had the training and they had their capability, but we just have the instruments and the tools to do certain things that we need to do and we literally saw see people die and that's when it blew me away. I said this should just not happen. It doesn't make sense of theirs, literally people does he one person written from your face dying because you didn't have a certain tore instrument that you know you're, throwing away in the? U s that just doesn't make sense, and that's where I just came back, and I said we just need to do something about it:
to me for a minute about why some of these supplies get tossed. Why do a bunch of boxes of gauze, let's say get tossed her tongue, depressed users or surgical, gloves, wyant Eartha? Aren't they just kept in the closet being used, A great story has recently one of the milk supply companies had an error in the way that the instructions were printed, and it says you know, the instructions in Spanish were messed up, and but the product was still good, but they couldn't sell it not format, they couldn't sell it marking appropriately. So they call to say: hey. We ve got five palates of. I forget what the product was. Let's say they are rubber gloves, but the instructions are miss printed. Would you guys, but does it good use- and we said absolutely those are still very useful piece of equipment for us.
I understand that wooden tongued oppressors haven't expiration date. Is that true, isn't amazing? I mean that is again. If our organization points things out like that, that can help improve things. Even here in the? U S, I would love it yet that kind of south drive me crazy and that is the manufacturers have or were like the worry and the concern of liability is pervasive through everywhere. So all these products, have the expiration dates and someone just don't make any sense and is so yeah some little products, even like a tongue oppressor, wouldn't under pressure, may have an expiration date. Now you know maybe there's reasons maybe splinters after it sits in the wrapper thirty five years, but I can't imagine it would be useful if it expires six months after as expiration. So I have always said that if what we're doing makes the signals in the? U S or our country more efficient, so efficient that we there's no more supplies being thrown away. Great will will find
then also deal will go on in the next thing, but until that time, let's make use of the stuff that's getting thrown away, in two thousand eleven med wish kept nearly two hundred tonnes so called medical waste out of landfills coming up so far we ve filled our best. Is saved some landfill space, maybe even save some lives. So what if we could light up the world with waste. We could take America up to say. Eighty percent
nuclear and run it for more than a hundred years. Thanks to Pennsylvania, lottery, scratch ass, pennsylvanians or scratching their way to find, and we new games every month, big top rises, and second chance drawings, excitements, always in order so Try Pennsylvania, lottery scratch, offer your ticket to fund and get yours today. Keep on scratching must be eighteen or older. Please play responsibly benefits older pennsylvanians every day for Europe radios brought to you by square if you run, business. You know how important it is to have a healthy cashflow. That's why we take payments with square either in person or online. You get your money fast act.
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from W and Y see in a p M american public media. This is for economics, radio, here's, your host, Stephen Dampener, so first to say who you are and what you do, what you do might take three hours because everything ok Nathan Revolt, ceo of intellectual ventures, accommodated invents new technology and I'm also cookbook author, there you go so net, so this episode is about weird heckling people who are we using recycling repassing, something that is thought to have little no value even negative value, maybe and turning it into a big positive and we're talking chicken pause, we're talking medical supplies, but I understand that you have your own entry into the weird recycling sweepstakes. Perhaps the weirdest entry and with recycling sweepstakes nuclear waste. We love it.
Nathan, mere vote is a physicist by training he's also the former chief technology officer at Microsoft. He and bill gates, and a few others performed a company called terror power which hopes to generate electricity, lots and lots of atrocities, the nuclear power and how much money have you re so far for terror power? I am not sure we even say, but what can you tell me? I just here in this isolated, sound stage known well here: it's not a microphone amaryllis tens of millions tending towards older. hundreds of millions and billions terror power would create energy using new technologies, a new type of reactor called a traveling wave reactor and old fuel old, as in used as in used by traditional nuclear power plants, meaning nuke
their waste. What's known as depleted uranium, you know the stuff nobody wants in their backyard when you concentrate the usual thirty five. You left with a mountain of Youtube. Thirty, eight, It's called depleted uranium is slightly Rio. Active is classified as nuclear waste, It's not as radioactive is spent fuel rods, but that's all more of it huge amounts of, and what is done with that. Typically, it sent a producer Kentucky Purdue Amphipoda, not just political, but between one three places is one of the primary places where there is a government runs bridge facility where armed guards role this vast thing. Is it really is Ariel photos of the show these thousand thousands of cannisters of you to thirty eight that sitting there
stirs. What size like a natural gas tank canister gigantic that Sunday tractor trailer the their big each one is, I think, ten tons of stuff, ok since their relatively our Jan, how big? How much is there? How many tons of this so that takes us to the recycling thing we have a reactor. They can burn that stuff as fuel, that that can bring the leftovers from left overs. So if we just take the stuff it produces the depleted uranium, we could take Amerika from its current mix of being what fifteen percent nuclear up to say. Eighty percent nuclear whereas as France does and run it for more than a hundred years, ok put Duca Kentucky is the Saudi Arabia of this new world, so you're talking about a new kind of power plant, a new kind of nuclear power plants that use a different technology. That, fundamentally, fr in some ways and very similar in other ways to existing nuclear plants. You talking about over recycling a kind
waste product that nobody wants anyway and that most people Consider worth less than zero, it should be made clear how you, don't really know that this would work. Do you well is a fascinating question. It'll work that now I can tell you with complete confidence. It will work. Have you asked me to prove that I would then take you to a set of theoretical calculations. Then I will take you to a set of computer simulate. and yet Fukushima was designed in the slide role Europe today using modern computing technology, we can understand the properties of all parts of the reactor vastly better than anything we did before and that the results of those computer codes has been very closely calibrated against experiments for a very long time.
Not that said, no one is actually going to build a power plant, just on my say so in my sunny confidence. So of course we will build a pilot plan that will be the first true proof of principle. The plants that terror power wants to build would be much smaller than traditional nuclear plants and buried deep underground, with little need for tending now. If all that sounds too good to be true, keep in mind that for the moment at least it's not yet the world's appetite for nuclear power and its fear of nuclear power waxes thirty years ago, the United States decided that we were freaked out about nuclear, the action that three mile island, which, by the way, killed zero people and an amusing thing. Is it there's three reactors at three mile island? Not only at the other two,
still going. They ve just been realising its like another, twenty or thirty years. So everything has continued to work just great there, but a combination, of that and a Jane Fonda Movie called the China sandwich came out twelve days before yet accident at three mile island cool How do we incidents? I wonder so? Nuclear are in II the idea of doing exciting new things in nuclear. Just the air now the balloon. There was no energy around it, but the thing that I wonder, Nathan is the term. So you ve had this new plan for a new type of nuclear plant on the board for several years right. You ve been working on this right. Yes, so you all this momentum, you ve got worldwide electricity demand, rising, rising, rising, rising rising and then last year, when the tsunami happened in Japan, and this nuclear power plant started to fall.
part. What are you thinking? I mean we ve got this wonderful nuclear power project here, but is this another three mile island in Chernobyl and Jane Fonda rolled into one? Is that what you're thinking? Yes, that's what we were worried about, and so there is a period of time when I was getting sort of commentary. Every hour. My blackberry was going off with a zillion different messages and we had people Japan and we had always tremendous amount of focus trend understand what the hell's going on, and it was not the easiest few weeks, be out there promoting a new nuclear project to talk about what happened. Talk about
How bad it was and talk about what it means for nuclear power. Will it turns out that, in the stretch of coast, where they built the vicar Schuman Age, he planned? In the last hundred years there has been a couple of twenty metre high salamis, so you build a nuclear plant on that same coast, they can only survive. May a three and a half meter salami. This was not a good decision, then the whole reaction to the plant once it occurred, things were ok or largely, Yes, there was a little bit of damage, but all All of the really serious radiological leaks that occurred at Fukushima occurred because of human error, because the guy's involved really had not done any level of safety drills replanting. Yet if you live on the sea shore in Japan, ya do snobby drills. They really didn't seem to have done that.
They were all left thumbs when it came to their response. It was easy to see I can say that in retrospect, but they could in a much better job. We I think of them using this waste that nobody wants its considered, dangerous, its costly and so on, and you have this plan to turn it into fuel that could power the world electricity for the world. I have to say it makes me think a little bit of the chicken foot, the huh Bull chicken put the nobody wanted until american chicken producers realise that that that China one So I wonder you know where your mind goes on. I ask you to compare the depleted fuel stockpiles with the chicken paw. Well, I love chicken feed as it turns out in my new cookbook. We have a fantastic recipe for puffed chicken feed tuft chicken feet like they need more puffing or no. What do you mean you blow air in like a picking up? What you do is you cook them succeed for
which makes some sort of soft you pull the bones out? Ah then, you d hydrate them a little bit. Then you deep prime, and if you ve ever had she children s or by fried pork rinds, they puff sup? Amazingly? Will you do that? If a chicken feed this causes great chicken flavour- and they also look like these weird twisted- put puffed sort of little gloves Obviously there are three fingered gloves, but it's great economics. Radio is produced by W N Y, see ATM american public media in Dublin productions. This episode was produced by Susie Lichtenberg
staff includes Diana Wind, Catherine Wells, Bray, Lamb, calling Campbell Increase banning David Herman is our engineer special thanks to Jacob Vermin more for economics. Radio subscribe to our flag cast on Itunes and good for economic Sakharov, we'll find lots of re applause, the books and more. If you thought you had to travel far over the patio bang up to taste the pastries parents,
to take another look with two times total points. A grocery stores, your same kitchen can come with more within the sapphire preferred from chased make life. What's yours alone at the one, doesn't Alison purchases per month from November. First one point able three: twenty one want to concentrate credit approval, Cardoso Budgetary Monetary sprang, a member of the icy.
Transcript generated on 2021-03-16.