21 January 2008

recycling screed

I was just thinking that the recycling movement came out of the 60's,
when people started realizing how much pollution was being kicked out.
It was able to take off because it also fed on the idea that
irreplaceable trees were dying so we could fill landfills with them.
I see Recycling as the end product of a campaign to stop pollution and
save the trees.

Nowadays, however, I'm of the opinion that trees are a renewable
resource, as long as the methods and the scale of lumber operations
are restricted.

So that leaves us with the desire to stop pollution. And it has never
been addressed. Why? Because the people who are responsible for
pollution are not being made to pay for it - the companies that make
the polluting goods or packaging. That's step number one to reduce
pollution and stop needless recycling efforts.

Step number two is to repurpose as much of our waste as possible.
Recycling costs money to process. Repurposing much less so. And this
is where our habits would really have to change. Why recycle bottles
when we could merely re-use our existing bottles? I buy glass gallon
growlers of beer from my local brew pub. When I'm done, I take the
growler back to them, and get another one, filled up, for $4 cheaper.
I've paid a one-time $4 fee for a bottle that I can keep re-using. It
doesn't get tossed in the landfill at all. And it doesn't get
recycled until it's actually broken. If we could convince people to
adopt this sort of system for other goods, I think it would go a long
way towards reducing pollution AND bringing recycling to manageable
levels.

Essentially, everyone needs to shop at their local co-op, instead of
chain supermarkets. And General Mills (for instance) needs to sell
bulk cereal to grocery stores that can be dispensed with a spigot into
whatever re-usable container the customer wants to use. I think you
see my point.

1 comment:

  1. Of course I've already come up with a rebuttal to my own post.

    Spoilage. With our current distribution scheme, spoilage of food has to be offset by serving-size compartmentalization. If you have 50 gallons of cereal in a bin, and you only sell 20 gallons in a week, then that last 30 gallons of Cap'n Crunch (tm) is going to go pretty stale.

    So I guess the third step in combating pollution is to work out a better distribution model. One that preferrably doesn't rely heavily on fossil fuels.

    ReplyDelete