Owens-Illinois used to do some glass recycling, but that didn’t save them from being expropriated.
There are some fly-by-night paper recycling efforts that send poor teenagers out to rifle through the trash of law firms and government ministries, pulling all the office paper. But I’ve never been sure how the economics of that project works — are they getting paid for paper pulp or for personal data?
The country has a state-owned aluminum recycling plant at the Alcasa mill in Ciudad Guayana, but the only aluminum fed into the huge gas furnace is waste aluminum from Alcasa and nearby Venalum. There is apparently some small amount of aluminum recycling, but as far as I can tell the waste metal is shipped out of the country to be melted down.
And plastics? It was quite amusing when I once chased a Reuters reporter as he approached the vice-minister of hydrocarbons, thinking he was going to ask about a long-delayed joint venture with Braskem or some other big chemical plant. Instead, he asked when Venezuela was going to use its extensive chemicals industry to start recycling plastics. The vice-minister seemed more amused than interested by the idea.
The one thing that gets recycled in Venezuela is news. Are you wondering why I haven’t written about the arrival of the
Songa Petrosaudi Saturn in Venezuelan waters to drill the Mariscal Sucre gas fields? Yeah, it’s basically that I wrote it up three months ago (how time flies when ships are trudging across the Atlantic). Next news is when the rig builds a well, and after that who cares until gas starts arriving on shore.
Are you wondering why I didn’t write up President Hugo Chavez’s comment that Venezuela would “soon” start drilling offshore fields in Cuba? PDVSA Vice President Eulogio del Pino told me the same thing when Paraguay President-Elect Fernando Lugo visited Venezuela. Was that really June of 2008? Why yes it was. I recall that “soon” was the very word he used. Maybe I’m remembering wrong. Maybe he was talking about the 3-d seismic exploration. But I am pretty sure we were talking about drilling. And now it’s almost 2011.
Anyway, it’s all just rationalization. You want to know the real reason why I haven’t been writing much? It’s now spring here in Chile. There’s a great book fair in town, I just built a lot of furniture, and I’ve been wrapped up in what is certainly the most important story in South America.