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Environment Climate Change, Pollution, Endangered Species, Industrial Agriculture, Degrading Habitats & Renewable Energy.

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Old Jul 13th 2011, 01:53 PM
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Default Mandatory recycling?

People piss, whine and moan about liberty a lot in this country, generally ignoring the broader attacks on liberty that actually effect them more. I think mandating recycling might have a similar reaction. I think one way to mitigate this inanity is to do it on a local level. People seem to mind local government regulations a lot less than state and federal ones. They seem to think they are more connected to the politic, even though local politics is even more corrupt and cronyist than the big leagues.

Anyway, my thoughts go kind of like this:

My city provides two services (well, more than that, obviously, but for the purposes...): garbage pickup and recycling pickup. Same day, and within hours of each other. You put out your garbage in regular bags, and you put out your recycling in blue or clear bags off to the side. Easy peasy.

So what would be the problem with simply banning putting certain products (glass bottles, 1 and 2 plastic, aluminum cans) into the garbage pile instead of the recycling pile? A modest fine for consistently ignoring the regulation, and sensibly enforced (I'm not advocating police go pawing through people's garbage or anything like that)... just a citation from the city like you get if you don't mow your lawn, for instance.

Thoughts?
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Old Jul 13th 2011, 02:34 PM
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Default Re: Mandatory recycling?

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Originally Posted by Donkey View Post
People piss, whine and moan about liberty a lot in this country, generally ignoring the broader attacks on liberty that actually effect them more. I think mandating recycling might have a similar reaction. I think one way to mitigate this inanity is to do it on a local level. People seem to mind local government regulations a lot less than state and federal ones. They seem to think they are more connected to the politic, even though local politics is even more corrupt and cronyist than the big leagues.

Anyway, my thoughts go kind of like this:

My city provides two services (well, more than that, obviously, but for the purposes...): garbage pickup and recycling pickup. Same day, and within hours of each other. You put out your garbage in regular bags, and you put out your recycling in blue or clear bags off to the side. Easy peasy.

So what would be the problem with simply banning putting certain products (glass bottles, 1 and 2 plastic, aluminum cans) into the garbage pile instead of the recycling pile? A modest fine for consistently ignoring the regulation, and sensibly enforced (I'm not advocating police go pawing through people's garbage or anything like that)... just a citation from the city like you get if you don't mow your lawn, for instance.

Thoughts?
I'd imagine that this would probably at least double the cost of trash pickup. The people collecting trash would need to stop at each individual house and pick through the garbage looking for violations.

So, people might object to paying more for a service where the only personal difference is that you might have to pay even more (via fine).

I would think a better scheme would be to cull out recyclables at the trash processing facility. Not as good for punishing sinners against the Earth, but certainly more economical in terms of labor.
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Old Jul 13th 2011, 02:40 PM
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Default Re: Mandatory recycling?

Something awesome just occurred to me. If my neighbors pissed me off, I could go dump a bunch of soda cans in their garbage each week on pickup morning.
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Old Jul 13th 2011, 02:46 PM
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Default Re: Mandatory recycling?

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I'd imagine that this would probably at least double the cost of trash pickup. The people collecting trash would need to stop at each individual house and pick through the garbage looking for violations.
No they wouldn't. When I say sensibly enforced, I mean if there is clear, egregious violations, cite them. It's not a "check every time," it's an "if you get caught."

It shouldn't be treated as a revenue stream, it's simply policy prodding.

Quote:
So, people might object to paying more for a service where the only personal difference is that you might have to pay even more (via fine).
So would they not object if the price could be kept the same?

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I would think a better scheme would be to cull out recyclables at the trash processing facility. Not as good for punishing sinners against the Earth, but certainly more economical in terms of labor.
I wonder how efficiently that can be done, with the volumes of garbage we emit.

I imagine in the future, when we are truly starved for hydrocarbons and metals, dumps will be literally mined for non-degraded recyclables.
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Old Jul 13th 2011, 02:48 PM
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Default Re: Mandatory recycling?

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Something awesome just occurred to me. If my neighbors pissed me off, I could go dump a bunch of soda cans in their garbage each week on pickup morning.
Yeah that was a problem that jumped out to me.
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Old Jul 13th 2011, 05:04 PM
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Default Re: Mandatory recycling?

Oddly enough mandatory recycling could be a violation of NAFTA. The problem is that if the US were to make recycling of newsprint mandatory, for example, the impact on the canadian logging industry would be significant. In the interests of free trade we must eliminate natural old growth forests, IOW.
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Old Jul 13th 2011, 05:46 PM
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Default Re: Mandatory recycling?

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Originally Posted by Donkey View Post
No they wouldn't. When I say sensibly enforced, I mean if there is clear, egregious violations, cite them. It's not a "check every time," it's an "if you get caught."

It shouldn't be treated as a revenue stream, it's simply policy prodding.
How do you propose this could be defined in regulations?

I don't think you can - and the result thus ends up being exactly what Drgoodtrips suggested.

Bureaucracies can't work with fuzzy logic. They require rules and enforcement.

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Originally Posted by Donkey View Post
I wonder how efficiently that can be done, with the volumes of garbage we emit.

I imagine in the future, when we are truly starved for hydrocarbons and metals, dumps will be literally mined for non-degraded recyclables.
Likely a US phenomena. Seems the US has a culture that won't recycle. No one else seems to have this problem.

Here in Canada, we have problems with 'what to do with all this recycle material'? Apparently we recycle at such a high rate that our systems (no doubt setup based on US data) are unable to handle the volume.
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Old Jul 13th 2011, 05:50 PM
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Default Re: Mandatory recycling?

In case anyone is curious, we've had curbside recycling for many years now (lawn/garden waste, plastics/bottles, paper/cardboard and compost material) all picked up on different days.

We also have a limit on garbage cans per house. You can only have one garbage can. If you put out more garbage than you are permitted, they don't take it.

You can purchase special stickers from the city if you have 'extra' garbage. If you put one of those special stickers on the garbage bag, they'll take it.

In other words, charge penalties to those with lots of garbage. The only way to get your garbage load down to the '1 bin' limit, you need to recycle (which is free).

This seems like a smarter and more efficient system.
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Old Jul 13th 2011, 06:44 PM
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Default Re: Mandatory recycling?

Those are good ideas. And I don't claim to have all the details to a solution, I was just throwing the idea out there.
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Old Jul 13th 2011, 07:04 PM
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Default Re: Mandatory recycling?

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Those are good ideas. And I don't claim to have all the details to a solution, I was just throwing the idea out there.
Yes, I see that. I was just pointing out that proven policies are already out there that actually do work to address this particular problem.

That's always the first place to start when faced with a political problem - look around to see how other jurisdictions are doing it - and which ones work, and which ones don't. This model in Toronto isn't the only way to go about the problem.

Unfortunately, this particular policy solution doesn't recognize anyone's God-given right to force the state to dispose of as much of their garbage as they please.
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