Friday, April 28, 2017

The Economies of Scale and Density

Much like Boise County, Alaska is full of desperate junk piles like this part of the lot where old cars go to die:

Everywhere we went, even in Fairbanks, there were rusting piles of steel, including shipping containers.  Rhonda is really bothered by this, but I explained that recycling steel is a problem when low density means land is cheap enough to waste on piles of completely rusted steel pipe; there isn't likely enough demand in Alaska for steel to build a recycling mill; and the cost of shipping it before or after recycling anywhere in the world is enormous.

As you probably know, just about everything but reindeer is shipped to Alaska by ship, except pot and reindeer (the Denny's serves a reindeer sausage omelette).  The spicy chicken sandwich at the local Carl's Jr. is $1; in Fairbanks, $3.38.  Meals out are expensive as are grocery stores.  Behind the Safeway were semitrailers labelled Matson, which should tell you how most of their stuff arrives.

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