Recycling and the Great Pacific Garbage Patch


Announcer: Welcome to Stuff You Should Know from HowStuffWorks.com.

Josh Clark: Hey, and welcome to the podcast. It's called Stuff You Should Know, appropriately enough. I'm Josh Clark. With me as always is who?

Chuck Bryant: It's Chuck.

Josh Clark: That's right, Chuck.

Chuck Bryant: It's good to be back, Josh.

Josh Clark: I know. It feels like it's been a while. Well, Christmas holidays.

Chuck Bryant: Right. I know that listeners think through the magic of iTunes that we never leave the studio at all, but in fact, we've been off for a couple of weeks and now we're back.

Josh Clark: Yeah, and do you know we've actually gotten offers to be rescued from a couple of our listeners?

Chuck Bryant: Oh really?

Josh Clark: Because -

Chuck Bryant: From Studio 1A?

Josh Clark: Yeah, on our Facebook page, I think I said that we're not allowed to leave.

Chuck Bryant: Right.

Josh Clark: That got a pretty good response.

Chuck Bryant: Nice. You should ask for pizza or cash.

Josh Clark: Oh, it's coming. I'm buttering them up.

Chuck Bryant: Or shrimp cocktail, your favorite.

Josh Clark: Shrimp cocktail, exactly. I can finally get the shrimp cocktail. Chuck?

Chuck Bryant: Yes.

Josh Clark: Do you remember back in the 90s? It may be a haze for you.

Chuck Bryant: No.

Josh Clark: You don't remember the 90s?

Chuck Bryant: No, it's not a haze. I do remember.

Josh Clark: That was a weird response.

Chuck Bryant: I was in college. I was studying and such.

Josh Clark: Oh, okay. So you do remember the 90s.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah.

Josh Clark: Okay. So Chuck, you are a child of the recycling generation.

Chuck Bryant: Oh yes.

Josh Clark: Do you remember when that thing just blew up? It came out of nowhere.

Chuck Bryant: I do. My brother and I were talking about this the other day, with the initial - yeah, we were, with the crying Indian in the 70s, which was just about littering.

Josh Clark: Right.

Chuck Bryant: The good old days when you would just throw trash out of your car.

Josh Clark: I know, like in Anchorman.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah.

Josh Clark: When they're walking through the park, everybody just throws their garbage.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, that's how it was, man, in the 70s.

Josh Clark: It's so nuts. Do you ever see anybody in their car just throwing something out these days?

Chuck Bryant: Occasionally.

Josh Clark: Doesn't it just boil your blood?

Chuck Bryant: Mm-hmm.

Josh Clark: It's like what are you doing. How can you be that unaware?

Chuck Bryant: I hit them with my car.

Josh Clark: Okay, so you're talking about the American Indian who is crying because of the trash.

Chuck Bryant: Right. And then recycling became - newspaper is kind of where I remember it starting.

Josh Clark: It did. As a matter of fact, the first curbside newspaper recycling program started in 1973 in University City, Missouri, I believe.

Chuck Bryant: Or Missoura as my mom would say.

Josh Clark: But it took a little while for it to take off.

Chuck Bryant: Right.

Josh Clark: From 1973 to the 90s, but in the 90s, it really gained traction and gained ground.

Chuck Bryant: It did.

Josh Clark: And if you'll remember correctly, you used to have to have all these different bins for this colored glass or this kind of plastic or paper. And then all of a sudden, it just went away. They're like just throw it all in one bin. And because recycling seems so important, I know I always wondered is this stuff really getting recycled.

Chuck Bryant: Right.

Josh Clark: And then when they went to this whole single bin hodgepodge of everything, I was like well that's it. They're not even trying to keep the pretense that they're not dumping this stuff, right?

Chuck Bryant: Right.

Josh Clark: So it turns out that they actually are, that you can pretty much guarantee that almost all of what you are putting in your recycling bin is getting recycled.

Chuck Bryant: Correct.

Josh Clark: The thing that threw us off where all of a sudden, we're just throwing everything in one bin is called single stream recycling. That's a result of recycling technology.

Chuck Bryant: Which is awesome because they made it a lot easier for people that maybe wouldn't be prone to recycle because they didn't want to separate everything? So yeah, it's awesome.

Josh Clark: It was a pain. It was definitely a pain. Now you just throw it all in one bin. They come get it. Back in the day, there used to be a lot of human contact with your garbage that was being recycled.

Chuck Bryant: Right.

Josh Clark: But these technological advances so imagine this, okay. There's like this conveyor belt that your recyclables are dumped onto. And they go through this weird gauntlet where there's like magnets that attract tin cans and then drop them into bins.

Chuck Bryant: Right, lasers.

Josh Clark: Lasers, always a personal favorite of mine. They're infrared lasers that are used to scan the wave length that's emitted by different types of plastic.

Chuck Bryant: Right.

Josh Clark: And they're appropriately taken off the conveyor belt.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, that's awesome, so crazy.

Josh Clark: Then there's others that have puffs of air that can only get light cardboard, like toilet paper or paper towel roll.

Chuck Bryant: Right.

Josh Clark: Just puffs it off. So all your stuff is going through this! It's being assaulted. And the way it reacts to these assaults, they're going to end up in the right kind of bin. So you need very little human contact or much less than you did before.

Chuck Bryant: Right.

Josh Clark: So that should put the single stream fear to rest, right?

Chuck Bryant: Sure. I've heard people -

Josh Clark: Do you feel calmer now?

Chuck Bryant: Well, I never really doubted it too much, but I do know people that think it's a liberal conspiracy and that nothing is being recycled.

Josh Clark: Well actually, there's an economist. I can't remember his name, but he went to the trouble of proving that recycling is actually more harmful than good.

Chuck Bryant: Really?

Josh Clark: Yeah, as far as an environmental cost benefit, it's actually more harmful because I think he took into account all the gas that the trucks burn and that kind of thing, and the electricity used in the recycling plants. He came to the conclusion it's actually more harmful than good. I don't necessarily subscribe to that.

Chuck Bryant: Right. I'm sure he was contradicted by more than one person.

Josh Clark: Yeah, but he was a respected economist. He wasn't just some crackpot or Joe Schmo.

Chuck Bryant: No fly by night economist?

Josh Clark: Right, exactly. But he may have very well been a conservative economist because, as you said, recycling is a big liberal conspiracy.

Chuck Bryant: Right, in some people's eyes.

Josh Clark: Exactly.

Chuck Bryant: Few, I would say.

Josh Clark: Probably.

Chuck Bryant: A lot of people are on board now in the 2000s.

Josh Clark: Exactly, but I was having a conversation with my father the other day. And he is -

Chuck Bryant: The herbal Elvis.

Josh Clark: Exactly. He was down. Actually, he was at the equilibrium point, so he was very lucid. And he and I were talking. He said the people at his recycling center; they don't have curbside pickup where he lives, out in the sticks. They take their stuff to the center. They were told by one of the employees that works there that they don't recycle any more. They just take all the stuff to the dump.

Chuck Bryant: Really?

Josh Clark: Yes. And I told him that the man at the recycling center was a total idiot.

Chuck Bryant: Right.

Josh Clark: And basically, Dad wanted to know why, as is his wont. And I told him that it's just an awful business model. So think about this. There's this thing called a tipping fee, Chuck. And in 2008, a tipping fee is what you pay to dump your stuff at a landfill. And it's usually per ton. In the U.S., in 2008, it was about 42 bucks on average.

Chuck Bryant: For -

Josh Clark: Per ton.

Chuck Bryant: Oh, per ton.

Josh Clark: Of everything. Anything you wanted to come dump, they weigh it by ton and then you pay 42 bucks a ton on average.

Chuck Bryant: Have you ever been to a landfill?

Josh Clark: Yeah.

Chuck Bryant: Ugh.

Josh Clark: I know. Actually, I've been to some that are kind of tranquil.

Chuck Bryant: Quite nice.

Josh Clark: Yeah, they have ponds and stuff, you never ever want to swim in, but there's like rolling hills filled with garbage, but it's grass over it.

Chuck Bryant: The smell, though.

Josh Clark: I've been to some where they're actually going to the effort to make it look decent, but yeah. And then you turn around and there's some rusty refrigerator with a corpse in it or something.

Chuck Bryant: Right, yeah.

Josh Clark: So they can be depressing places.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, they stink.

Josh Clark: But there's that tipping fee, right?

Chuck Bryant: Sure.

Josh Clark: You drive up and there's a scale that's imbedded into the ground. It weighs you and you pay appropriately. Some states are more than others. I think Vermont's tipping fee, the average tipping fee in the state is 96 bucks a ton.

Chuck Bryant: Wow.

Josh Clark: And I think Oklahoma is on the low end. It's like 14 or 17 bucks a ton.

Chuck Bryant: Right.

Josh Clark: So clearly, the more you charge in tipping fees, the more people are going to recycle, right?

Chuck Bryant: Exactly.

Josh Clark: But the point is that because you have to pay to dump this stuff, and you're not charging anybody any money to come drop off their recyclables, all you're doing is throwing your money out the window.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, that person is an idiot.

Josh Clark: You might as well empty out your bank account into a dump truck and back it into a landfill.

Chuck Bryant: Right. Did you explain this to your father?

Josh Clark: I did, yes. This is actually - you don't know this, but you were trapped right in the middle of a recreation of this conversation we had. So that's number one. The other thing is that you can actually get money from recyclables. They're a commodity.

Chuck Bryant: Right, yeah.

Josh Clark: So what happens? When you take your recyclables to a recycling center and they're diverted from the dump, thank God to a recycling plant, what happens? What do they get turned into?

Chuck Bryant: Well they get turned, eventually, back into the original raw material, which is a commodity. It's worth money, like you said. So they have every incentive to recycle.

J osh Clark: So that mixed office paper is being turned into cardboard maybe or old newspapers actually are very commonly used for cardboard, stuff like that.

Chuck Bryant: Right.

Josh Clark: Or plastic bottles are being turned into a fleece jacket. Did you know that?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah.

Josh Clark: And actually there's a plastic bottle you want to avoid. If you ever tip it upside down and you look, that's where you're going to find your recycling symbol.

Chuck Bryant: Right, and the number, correct?

Josh Clark: Yes, so if you see a triangular recycling symbol with a three inside, you should actually do this while you're at the store. Look at the bottle and if you see a three, put it back.

Chuck Bryant: Right.

Josh Clark: Keep looking until you find the laundry detergent or whatever you're looking for that doesn't have a three and it has a one or a two or something like that. And then all of a sudden, that one with the three will go away eventually.

Chuck Bryant: Right, like PVC.

Josh Clark: PVC.

Chuck Bryant: I know that's one of the big evils because it's - is it impossible to recycle or just really hard to?

Josh Clark: It's not. It's very, very - the ways you can recycle or things that you can recycle into are very, very limited, like maybe a plastic park bench or something like that.

Chuck Bryant: Because of all the additives, right?

Josh Clark: There are so many additives. And plus, it's actually - there's whole websites and organizations dedicated to getting rid of PVC.

Chuck Bryant: Interesting.

Josh Clark: Number one, it's impossible to recycle. That does generally end up in the dump, unless you take it to a specialty recycling plant. And number two, it contains thalomites and thalomites, it depends on the plastic. Thalomites are like a softener to soften plastic. So your vinyl shower curtain, that has thalomites in it when you put it in and it starts smelling weird, that's the thalomites and they're actually really harmful.

Chuck Bryant: Carcinogen, I bet.

Josh Clark: Children's toys, like the malleable ones that they chew on, bad news.

Chuck Bryant: Right.

Josh Clark: PVC, thalomites, not good stuff. So if you start doing this at the store, if you start - if you stop buying things that are made in or delivered in PVC containers, PVC is going to go the way of the dinosaur pretty quick. But okay, you want to look out for PVC, right?

Chuck Bryant: Right.

Josh Clark: Oh, I know what we were talking about, raw materials.

Chuck Bryant: Back to raw materials.

Josh Clark: Back to raw materials. So recyclables are a commodity because they're broken back down into their original composition, basically, right?

Chuck Bryant: Exactly.

Josh Clark: Okay. And then they're sold.

Chuck Bryant: For big dough.

Josh Clark: It can be big dough. Actually, I was reading an NPR article. And the price per ton that wholesale purchasers of recycled mixed office paper were paying, this past summer it was 90 bucks a ton.

Chuck Bryant: Really?

Josh Clark: Big money. These are companies that are buying hundreds of thousands of tons a month. So it was big business to recycle. And by the fall, it had dropped to nothing because even recycling is subject to -

Chuck Bryant: Inflation and gas and fuel prices.

Josh Clark: Well not just that, the economy. People stop buying goods.

Chuck Bryant: True.

Josh Clark: So less goods were manufactured. But it's also, because it's subject to economic whims, it's also subject to consumers, right?

Chuck Bryant: Right.

Josh Clark: So if you only buy products that are sold in recyclable or recycled materials -

Chuck Bryant: That are made from recycled materials.

Josh Clark: Exactly. The people who make these things are going to start buying more and more recycled stuff.

Chuck Bryant: Sure.

Josh Clark: Okay. Because that's what the consumers want! And if you stop buying stuff that's made with virgin, raw materials, all of a sudden, these trees are being saved or more plastic isn't being made.

Chuck Bryant: Right.

Josh Clark: So it's kind of cool to know that you can have this effect.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, each person can have an effect. You can also have an effect by making sure or doing your best to make sure everything that you put in your recycling bin gets recycled. And one of the ways you can do that is by cleaning the stuff. I know you referenced Minnesota in the article. And I believe it's the same, here in Georgia, about pizza boxes. I've heard that pizza boxes won't recycle because they have cheese and grease and stuff on them.

Josh Clark: I actually just throw mine away now.

Chuck Bryant: Do you?

Josh Clark: Yeah.

Chuck Bryant: It's probably a good idea. And I do a real good job of cleaning out all my glass products, just because it stinks and you don't want the barbecue sauce smelling after a few days. So that's the reason I do it. But it turns out it has a better chance of getting recycled.

Josh Clark: It does. And if you kind of look at it, like your bottle of barbecue sauce, if you look at it, you'll see that it's not just a bottle of barbecue sauce. There's several components to it.

Chuck Bryant: The lid.

Josh Clark: The lid, maybe that little ring that held the lid in place, the safety seal, that's now just kind of dangling around the neck of the bottle, the label.

Chuck Bryant: The paper label.

Josh Clark: If you break this thing down into its parts, you're increasing its chances of being recycled as well.

Chuck Bryant: Really? I did not know that.

Josh Clark: Because if you think about it, the label is paper, but the bottle is glass and the cap is plastic.

Chuck Bryant: True.

Josh Clark: So you separate it. You're making it easier for the people at the recycling plant, or I should say the magnets and lasers at the recycling plant.

Chuck Bryant: Right.

Josh Clark: And it's going to be likelier to be recycled.

Chuck Bryant: Right, and won't become a residual, which I believe is what the refuse is called that they cannot recycle, correct?

Josh Clark: Right, right, and they want - any recycling company would want to cut down on residual, right?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah.

Josh Clark: Because that's just lost money. So they're going to do a lot to make it - get as much money as possible by recycling as much stuff as possible, but you can definitely help.

Chuck Bryant: That's great.

Josh Clark: I agree.

Chuck Bryant: So does that take us to plastic and where that might end up?

Josh Clark: Yeah. You know plastic is kind of a big problem, right?

Chuck Bryant: Yeah.

Josh Clark: And not just PVC, but there's some plastic that's a lot easier to recycle than others. But it doesn't always get recycled. And when it doesn't get recycled, it can end up in some really screwed up places.

Chuck Bryant: Right, most specifically, the ocean.

Josh Clark: Yes.

Chuck Bryant: A lot of this stuff ends up in the ocean.

Josh Clark: Yes it does.

Chuck Bryant: And I have a stat for you if you're into that.

Josh Clark: You know I'm into your stats, Chuck.

Chuck Bryant: The UN did a little study, their environmental program, and they said in 2006, every square mile of the ocean has 46,000 pieces of floating plastic in it.

Josh Clark: Mm-hmm.

Chuck Bryant: Isn't that awful, 46,000 pieces.

Josh Clark: It is.

Chuck Bryant: Per square mile. And of the more than 200 billion pounds of plastic that we produce each year, all over the world, this is not United States, about 10 percent of that ends up in the ocean and a lot of that ends up on the floor of the ocean.

Josh Clark: Well not just a lot of it, 70 percent of it ends up on the floor of the ocean.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah.

Josh Clark: So if every square mile has 46,000 pieces floating.

Chuck Bryant: Sure.

Josh Clark: That's 30 percent of what's actually in the ocean.

Chuck Bryant: Right.

Josh Clark: The rest is on the ocean floor.

Chuck Bryant: Right.

Josh Clark: So plastic is, well it's plastic, right.

Chuck Bryant: It doesn't break down.

Josh Clark: It's this super, wonderful material that's so useful, but yes, it doesn't biodegrade.

Chuck Bryant: Right.

Josh Clark: It does break down. It photodegrades, but it doesn't break down molecularly into simpler compounds that can be absorbed by nature. It just breaks down into smaller and smaller pieces of the same thing.

Chuck Bryant: Conveniently, bite size pieces, which is one of the big problems.

Josh Clark: They're called mermaid's tears or nerdles. Who came up with either one of them?

Chuck Bryant: Mermaid's tears, that's probably the saddest thing I've ever heard in my life, actually.

Josh Clark: It is. It's almost as bad as the American Indian crying.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah. It's a mermaid tear. So yeah, what happens is this stuff ends up in the ocean and filter feeders, like our friend the whale shark and smaller ones.

Josh Clark: And catfish.

Chuck Bryant: Catfish, they take the stuff in because they think it's food, seagulls, albatross, they eat the stuff and it ends up killing a large share of them.

Josh Clark: Yeah, but wait. There's more. Aside from the choking hazard or any problems, digestive problems that can occur, these little mermaid's tears actually have this added property of attracting toxins, like a sponge.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, this one freaked me out.

Josh Clark: So any toxin it comes in contact with in the ocean, it can actually draw stuff to it. It soaks it up, absorbs it. It hangs on to it. And then when it's eaten -

Chuck Bryant: Right, little poison pills, basically.

Josh Clark: Pretty much.

Chuck Bryant: Floating and sinking in the ocean.

Josh Clark: And this is all over the place. There's a place in the Pacific Ocean. This is startling to me.

Chuck Bryant: It is.

Josh Clark: There's a place in the Pacific, in between Japan and California, right.

Chuck Bryant: Right.

Josh Clark: And it is called the North Pacific Subtropic Gyre.

Chuck Bryant: Right.

Josh Clark: And basically a gyre is a circulating -

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, it's like a vortex.

Josh Clark: Area of water. But this isn't like a funnel. It's much more wide than that. Actually, one of these gyres is twice the size of Texas.

Chuck Bryant: I know.

Josh Clark: This subtropic gyre, then one in the North Pacific, actually there's two and they're connected by a 6,000 long subtropical convergence zone.

Chuck Bryant: Right, 6,000 miles of basically trash and other things making its way from one to the other.

Josh Clark: Yeah, this is where the garbage goes. This is the garbage that if you have a cigarette lighter and it goes out or it comes out of your pocket because you had it in your bathing suit when you jumped in, it will likely end up in this huge garbage patch. There is a garbage patch in the Pacific Ocean that's twice the size of Texas. And it's just kind of slowly sitting there, turning. That's amazing.

Chuck Bryant: Well there's two, actually. There's two versions. There's the western and the eastern.

Josh Clark: Right and just one of them is twice the size of Texas.

Chuck Bryant: Exactly, and they're connected by the little trash trail, the 6,000 mile trash trail.

Josh Clark: And this is having, you could say, something of an impact on some of the island chains in the area.

Chuck Bryant: Right, Hawaiian Islands, some of the Hawaiian Islands.

Josh Clark: Some of them have beaches that feature five to ten feet of trash, five to ten feet deep.

Chuck Bryant: And the plastic sand is what they call it.

Josh Clark: Yeah, little mermaid's tears.

Chuck Bryant: I know.

Josh Clark: That turn into these really tiny, tiny bits that you just can't do anything about when it becomes mixed in with the beach.

Chuck Bryant: I know, so sad.

Josh Clark: It's bad news. There is one heartening thing to all this, to the Great Pacific Garbage Patch.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, let's hear the silver lining.

Josh Clark: It can be reduced. And the reason it can be reduced is because, I think, 80 percent of the trash in the ocean starts on land.

Chuck Bryant: Right.

Josh Clark: This isn't like ocean going vessels going out and dumping in this gyre or anything. It's pulled there and it's usually from land.

Chuck Bryant: That was good to hear. I mean it's sad, in a way because it's coming from us, but it is good to know that something can change about that.

Josh Clark: Right because it's every day people who are doing this. It's not some faceless corporation. It's not the people who are duping us into thinking that our stuff is being recycled and they're actually taking it and dumping it in the Pacific.

Chuck Bryant: Right.

Josh Clark: There's something you can do. You can not use plastic grocery bags any more.

Chuck Bryant: Sure.

Josh Clark: That's a great idea.

Chuck Bryant: That's very popular now days.

Josh Clark: You can recycle absolutely everything.

Chuck Bryant: You can, if you have eco-anxiety, which we've talked about, you can follow - you can walk up and down the street and pull the Aquafina water bottles out of the trash and recycle them yourself.

Josh Clark: You could do that or you could charger a helicopter and have them fly you out to the gyre and get to work.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, that's true.

Josh Clark: So that's just the tip of the iceberg.

Chuck Bryant: Right.

Josh Clark: On recycling and the world's biggest landfill, which is the Great Pacific Garbage Patch?

Chuck Bryant: Sad.

Josh Clark: It is. And we've got a couple of articles on them, coincidentally.

Chuck Bryant: This was a dual podcast. This is a bonus treat.

Josh Clark: It was, yeah. It's our first time ever. We hope you liked it. You can read both of these articles by going to our handy search bar and typing in world's biggest landfill or recycling reality. And you could do that at HowStuffWorks.com. And Chuck, we have a little listener mail.

Chuck Bryant: We do, my favorite part of the show. So today, Josh, we have - I'm going to start off with some corrections. Actually, I'm going to start off and end with corrections.

Josh Clark: Great.

Chuck Bryant: I have a few. We had a recent podcast on body armor, which was a special request from a soldier, Donald Anderson in Iraq. First correction is Donald actually wrote us back because we didn't have his rank.

Josh Clark: We found out his rank, yeah. He's a sergeant, right?

Chuck Bryant: He's a sergeant, part of the 4th squadron, 3rd Armored Calvary Regiment and he works on the AH64D turbine engine, which I did a little googling and that's in the Apache helicopter.

Josh Clark: Sweet.

Chuck Bryant: He's got a very cool job. And he thanked us for the podcast. And some people wrote in because we were talking about the spider silk being made from goat.

Josh Clark: We couldn't conceive of how that would happen.

Chuck Bryant: Exactly. We thought of it coming out of its derriere or -

Josh Clark: Wait. What was it we said? Let's listen.

Chuck Bryant: Yeah, let's listen.

Josh Clark: Yeah, they've actually, genetically engineered goats to produce spider silk.

Chuck Bryant: I had no idea.

Josh Clark: And I take it maybe their hair grows like that.

Chuck Bryant: I have no idea.

Josh Clark: Because I don't know where the silk would come out of the poor goat.

Chuck Bryant: So we did not know. We put the call out to our listeners. And because they're really smart and awesome, we had a bunch of people write in. And it turns out that the spider silk is actually created in their milk.

Josh Clark: Wow.

Chuck Bryant: In the goats' milk.

Josh Clark: That is so weird.

Chuck Bryant: And it's very strong. And apparently, it's compatible with the human body, so it can also be used for artificial limbs and stuff like that.

Josh Clark: Sweet.

Chuck Bryant: So I just have a few names, just to give people their due, Nick McCracken of Waynesville, North Carolina, Kimberly Fletcher of Campbell, California, Jeff Bule of the earth, did not say where he was from, Eileen Ford Holstedge from California, Michael Barsich, Matt Jensen of New York, Shawn Cashen who just wrote in like literally ten minutes before we went on the air. And one final person was unnamed. He's my favorite or she because the e-mail simply said the one. So it may have been from God himself. I don't know.

Josh Clark: Well thank you God and all the rest of you for that correction. Have you got some more?

Chuck Bryant: Well just one more small, quick correction. We did have a listener mail on a recent podcast. We butchered the name and gender of this person.

Josh Clark: Cos.

Chuck Bryant: Cos said something like Biteschtall of Wisconsin. And it's actually a female. I think we said Cos was a man.

Josh Clark: Yeah, we're really sorry about that, Cos. I don't know why we just automatically assumed you were male.

Chuck Bryant: Right. So it's actually Cos Batestall and she's a woman.

Josh Clark: She's a girl.

Chuck Bryant: And we're very happy for her.

Josh Clark: Okay.

Chuck Bryant: And we apologize.

Josh Clark: Yeah, thanks for letting us know, Cos. And if you want to let us know how to pronounce your name and tell us your gender or talk about goat's milk, whatever, you can send us an e-mail at StuffPodcast@HowStuffWorks.com.Announcer: For more on this and thousands of other topics, visit HowStuffWorks.com.