Closing the gap
When Rose Atkins came to Charlottesville, she was surprised to see so many people in her office. She came from a place that had a lot more children than Charlottesville and was surprised to see the number of secretaries and workers in her office. So we could start there in eliminating some workers [“City fills $3 million gap in school budget,” March 6].
Also, the children in Charlottesville public schools are decreasing not increasing. If they have to count Charlottesville college kids that go here to increase their numbers so Richmond will send more money, then something is wrong with our system. In that same article, the Daily Progress reported that the school board wanted to entice families to move into the city so more children would go to city schools. Since our tax rate is .95 a hundred, compared with Albemarle County’s at .76 a hundred, I don’t think that is going to happen. Also many of the city students go to private schools.
Our graduation rate is very low in the public schools, and I don’t see a lot of new ideas. There was a reading program in the Washington Post (March 7, 2012 on p.B2) that offered a unique way of helping kids to improve their reading. It was called, “Reading program offers tutoring that helps both ways.” There are a lot of people out there trying to help kids and that includes our teachers. But I think Charlottesville is not very frugal, and they waste a lot of our money on non-essential items.
Carolyn J. Belt
Metrics of ecology
In her article about recycling clothes hangars [“Plastic hangers (and other stuff you don’t need),” February 21] Rose Brown stated that plastic hangers were not easily recycled, and that “Metal hangers aren’t much more eco-friendly. The plastic coating that is applied to keep them from rusting also makes them difficult to recycle.”
Nothing could be further from the truth.
Per the Wikipedia page on “Ferrous Metal Recycling” and my own personal experience, steel coat hangers are one of the most “eco-friendly” and recyclable products we have in the home. When steel is recycled, scrap steel is placed in a furnace and heated to a temperature that melts the steel, about 2500 degrees. At that temperature, the plastic quickly goes away. Home appliances are also easily recycled, even those that are enamel coated. The enamel also melts, albeit at a much higher temperature than a plastic coating. Metals other than steel are unlikely to be used for hangers because of the cost, but most metals are easily recycled.
Ms. Brown advocates the use of recycled cardboard hangers. I have no firsthand knowledge of these hangers, but my guess would be that more energy is used and more pollutants are generated in the initial manufacture and the subsequent recycling of paper. Also note that if one purchased heavy guage metal hangers, they would easily last a lifetime.
That brings up a concern I have for any claim of a product being “eco-friendly” or recyclable—how is that measured? To properly evaluate any product, you should do a full mass and energy balance of the manufacture of the item, then do a life-cycle analysis of the product to the end of it’s life. For example, for either a plastic, cardboard, or metal clothes hanger, one should compare the cost of the raw materials that went into the item, the energy required to produce it, and the emissions generated during production. Then one should look at how the item is disposed of a the end of its life, to include energy required to destroy it, pollutants generated, or cost of land filling. None of this information is easy to acquire on something like a clothes hanger, and including it for hangers would increase the initial cost, but it is the only way to compare the options.
I enjoy the articles on sustainable living, but we need more accurate information.