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Old 08-25-07   #1
JOEBIALEK
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Recycling

According to Wikipedia {the free encyclopedia} "recycling is the reprocessing of materials into new products. Recycling generally prevents the waste of potentially useful materials, reduces the consumption of raw materials and reduces energy usage, and hence greenhouse gas emissions, compared to virgin production." The recent discussion concerning global warming has focused primarily on alternative sources of fuel for the purpose of transportation. However, another very important pro-environment tool is recycling. The effort needs to involve more than the consumer and the government. It needs to involve those who sell {and profit} from those products that can be recycled. For example, the manufactures of bottles and cans along with the producers of what's sold inside them as well as the grocery stores that distribute them must take on a greater economic role in the process of recycling. The voluntary "blue bag at the curb" approach is a good start but it relies primarily on the altruism of the consumer.

The question is: does the consumer bear sole responsibility for what happens to a can or bottle that contains the product used? or should some of that responsibility be borne by those who profit from its' use? Are these responsibilities being borne already and are they equitable? Some time ago bottlers would charge a five-cent "deposit" on a bottle to be "refunded" when the consumer returned the bottle. It would seem that this concept could be reoperationalized for a whole host of products. The consumer could clean the bottle or can, return it to the grocery story for a "refund" and the grocery store would return it to the producer then to the manufacturer etcetera each receiving a "refund" along the way. When all parties involved have an economic incentive to participate, recycling will make a much larger contribution towards preserving the environment.
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Old 08-31-07   #2
InKY
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I'm on my company's Sustainability Committee, so I consider this stuff often. Problem is, the consumer's got to use water to clean the bottle & use fossil fuel to return it to the store. Store's gotta pay someone to receive the bottle, and they've got to allot air-conditioned storage space to hold it until, say, a case of bottles is ready to go back to the supplier. Then they burn more fossil fuel to return it. The supplier then has to sanitize the bottle effectively for re-use. The harm to the environment is relatively equal, and there is extra cost for wages of people to coordinate & perform the whole operation. Also, you need altruistic individuals at every step of the way. Joe Store-Manager, for example often cares more about keeping his employee's man-hours low and expediting delivery time than he does about conserving resources.
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