Out on a scrounging bicycle ride today I discover a big roll away trash container behind our little local bakery. Looks like they're doing some remodeling and installing new equipment--the roll away is full of old metal shelving, baking tins, aluminum baking sheets, metal fasteners, and the like. I pluck some copper tubing and brass connectors from the mix and put them in my bike bag, but in deciding whether all this merits a return trip in my old truck, two sorts of metal calculus must be undertaken, one economic, the other environmental: Worth it financially? Barely, given that the great bulk of the metal is tin/iron, worth four or five cents a pound at the scrap yard. Worth it environmentally? I figure it is--it's only about a mile round trip from my house, so not much gas to burn compared with all that scrap kept out of the landfill.
Oh yeah, then there's the existential calculus: I like loading scrap metal in the summer heat. So back I go to the roll away, my dogs Sam and Deogee riding with me in the truck.
If I think of it, I'll let you know after a run to the scrap yard tomorrow how the economics worked out.