Throughout his interview, Kammen touches on sustainability in a few places, discussing plastic vs metal straws and incentivizing developers to prioritize product life cycles through performance contracts. However, he does not bring up one of the more controversial ways to go green - recycling.
While recycling metals is well understood and economically viable, recycling paper and plastics is much, much harder. These products cannot be re-made into their original forms, and must instead be "down-cycled" into lower grade products. Second, we do not have the capacity to do much of this recycling (in particular plastics recycling) natively - instead, plastic waste must be shipped abroad where the externalities associated with the industry can be offloaded to poorer countries. But most importantly, at present recycling plastics is not economically viable - it takes more money, and releases more greenhouse gases to recycle a pound of PET than to make one from scratch.
I'd love to get Daniel Kammen's opinion about whether the push towards recycling makes sense to help combat climate change. While the idea is sound in theory, the fact that recycling only saves energy for metals makes me wonder if the effort to get people to change their ways would be better spent elsewhere.
Link to Kammen's interview: https://www.labxchange.org/library/pathway/lx-pathway:825945a0-367c-45dc-82b7-3d160c6e6f7a/items/lx-pb:825945a0-367c-45dc-82b7-3d160c6e6f7a:lx_simulation:fa741ca2?source=%2Flibrary%2Fclusters%2Flx-cluster%3AModernPrediction