Why is New Zealand not recycling? Is New Zealand not recyling?

Answered Dec 21

Other commentators have focused on the actions of households. The problem is the ultimate destination of the material.

On the surface, there appears to be plenty of recycling occurring. Cities have recycling bins available, and pick up the contents weekly.

But where does it go?

Into a big pile.

The reasons are economic.

The material must be transported to a recycling facility. Which may be hundreds of kilometres away. Or may be overseas, such as in China. The cost of transport may be higher than the market value of the material.

What do you do when the Chinese government restricts importation of the material?

Put it in a big pile, right here in New Zealand.

An alternative is sending it to Malaysia. Where they put it in a big pile, and openly burn it.

NZ’s recycling crisis after China ban: ‘This situation is not sustainable’

New Zealand’s plastic stockpile is at 400 tonnes and could be going mouldy

Kiwis’ recycling is piling up in Malaysia and being burnt in secret, environmentalists say

What would happen if there were no plants on earth?

Answered Dec 18, 2017

I am guessing that you mean, “If all the plants disappeared right now”(?)

All humans and other terrestrial animals (e.g. livestock like cattle and chickens) would starve to death. Most people would be dead within a year, from immediate shortages, and competition/conflict over dwindling resources.

Anyone living longer would need to have stockpiles of grains, rice, canned goods, or other long-shelf-life food. They would still die when that ran out.

On a very long-term scale, the atmosphere would change, due to the lack of CO2 uptake, and the lack of O2 being pumped out.

All animals (including carnivores) are directly or indirectly dependent on plants.

On a more positive note, many of the bacteria, archaea, and fungi would still survive, although the balance of particular species would gradually change with the new environmental conditions.

Are there any study to design bacteria so they can produce all essential nutrients by photosynthesis?

Answered Dec 15, 2017

Thanks for the A2A.

The answer is “no”, because photosynthesis is about using the energy from sunlight, to help use carbon dioxide as a building-block to put together sugar molecules, which are made of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen. Those sugars function as energy storage (which is how plants survive every night), and also as building material, which is how plants grow new stems, leaves, etc.

Some bacteria can do photosynthesis for sugar-assembly, but there are many other essential nutrients.

If the organism has the necessary enzymes, they can use certain “carbon skeletons” (including acetyl-CoA and Krebs cycle intermediates) as building blocks for lipids and part of amino acids.

However, it still needs to get certain other, vital things from the environment (which cannot be generated by photosynthesis, either by bacteria or by plants).

It needs things like:

Nitrogen

Phosphorus

Sulphur

Iron

Magnesium

Those need to be obtained from the environment, which can be anything from the jelly-like medium in a petri dish, based on various recipes, by microbiologists (ahem), to just the regular, random soil in your backyard (different places support different microbes).

Another commentator seemed to interpret your question as being about food for humans. And the answer on that is “no”, because your food needs to get the above-listed nutrients from someplace that isn’t just photosynthesis.

What would the earth be like if there are no bacteria to decompose animal and plant remains?

Updated Feb 6, 2018

Those are called saprophytes, although there is a wide range, and some fungi also perform this function.

If no decomposition was happening at all, then the nutrients wouldn’t be available for recycling into plants, so my guess is that all other life on earth would eventually starve. It might take awhile.

Also, partly decayed plant and animal matter is among the things consumed by worms, insects, etc, so it would disrupt the food-chain / food-web from that angle, as well.

Edited To Add: Another group of bacteria whose absence would be disastrous are the participants in the nitrogen cycle, because all plants need nitrogen in a form that is generated by those bacteria.

Edited To Add Again: I recall reading an article stating that, plant matter (fallen leaves, etc) near the Chernobyl nuclear disaster site wasn’t breaking down as normal. If true, that suggests that, the radiation has harmed a range of saprophyte bacteria and fungi. This could have a sort of secondary impact on the ecosystems there, for future plants and animals.