Shift happens

Changes to the recycling system move us away from the primary goal of diverting recyclable materials from our landfills.

The only people who really like to see change happen are panhandlers.

For years those on the front line of the struggle to reduce the amount of waste going to the landfill have been fighting to get those who produce the packaging to take responsibility for it.

Lo and behold—they have won! But it is maybe a case of careful what you ask for, because the outfits that sell us all this well-packaged merchandise have seen it coming for years too. So they hired lawyers and consultants to help them sort it out.

Even though they probably liked the old-fashioned way of dealing with waste—passing the responsibility on to the next guy.

But now their lawyers argue, often quite convincingly, that they shouldn’t be responsible for all the sins of the world.

Under the old system the regional district would collect everything in blue bags at the curb. It would be taken off to a sorting facility and then sold on the market that had developed for things like tin cans and #4 plastic and such.

But now we have the producers responsible for packaging arguing that a Glad bag that you buy in the box at the grocery to put your sandwich in isn’t packaging. It’s only packaging if you buy something in it. So the Glad bag CAN be put in their recycling stream if you used it at the health food store to put some organic nuts in.

The old system seemed way, way better—recyclables were collected according to the market that existed for them. Simple, yet elegant. Now we have packaging industry insisting that the system needs to be more complicated.

What a waste!

 

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