``Nightly News'' on NBC produced an interesting report that Asian economies including China have been buying greater and greater amounts of recycling from the United States -- the figure rose to $6.1 billion in 2006 from $1.2 billion in 2002.
This is a by-product of huge economic growth of the national clients of firms that sell recycled goods. An eco-system, however, is quite vulnerable to being a victim of economic expansion.
So the situation represents good and bad.
The recycled materials are scarce in these booming markets' geographical areas.
For the U.S. to supply recyclables is good for their economies and the U.S. economy and, in one respect, their eco-systems.
It takes 90 percent less energy to produce a can from recycled cans than from ore, the ``Nightly News'' report said. Use of recyclables involves less water, less energy, and it produces less waste and greenhouse gases, according to a spokesman for the Natural Resource Defense Council whom the network interviewed.
But the key word here is less. What is the total consumption of water and energy, what is the total production of waste and greenhouse gases, even after the recyclables are included? After the large-scale use of recyclables is instituted, does a nation's industrial system become sustainable -- does it not jeopardize the environment -- or does it only delay the day of reckoning?
As I said, the key word is less, also as in consuming less.