Tuesday, September 1, 2009

N.C. to ban plastic bottles in landfills

Starting October 1 of this year! Are we ready?

Also included in the legislation is a ban on wooden pallets, used oil and antifreeze, oyster shells, tires and certain types of batteries.

Read short news articles about it here and here and here.

The full legislation is here.

What is the intent of this legislation?

Do you think the ban will accomplish that goal?
(Be sure to consider N.C. recycling rates in your answer)

Do you think the legislation will result in any unintended consequences?

The larger issue is of course, why do we throw away so much trash (and why do we recycle so little)? We'll get to the details of these later in the semester... but it's all about costs and benefits.


Anonymous said...

This is ridiculous! One of the articles states that aluminum cans have already been banned but you still see people throwing them away without thinking twice.

There is no way to enforce these BANS. What they need is a REWARD system like the states of NY, NJ, PA and CA have. Charge people a small "deposit" fee when they buy disposable containers that are recyclable. Have receptacles where they can "return" their recyclables and get their deposit back. If they're too lazy to recycle, homeless people will come and search through your trash cans and take out the recyclables and get the deposits. Its a great system! Its been proven to work. Lets do it!

They should also consider adding environmental ethics or something similar to public school curricula to educate young people about the importance of the three R's (reduce, reuse, recycle!) and other environmental issues. I've been recycling and conserving water since I was a young'n because of these programs in the NY school system. Of course, the NC education system is low on funding already.....but perhaps this should be higher on the priority list than other expenses (three principles in one school???).

The intent of this bill is to increase recycling by outlawing the disposal of some recyclables in landfills but having a middle man or three between the disposer and the landfill (and most likely a severe lack of funding) makes this VERY hard to regulate. I have no doubts that this have very little impact on the recycling rates in NC.

As for unintended consequences....I can't think of any. Most people have access to recycling. It will require an increased labor force in the recycling sector to ensure that receptacles aren't overflowing and materials are reaching the recycling facilities. More "Green Jobs", yay!

Most products we see in the stores now were made to be disposable (probably 99% of them). If they were reusable, the suppliers wouldn't make as large a profit (who are they making a profit off of, though?). Since they're not reusable, the least we can do is recycle them.

The world is finite but the market and its players treat it as if it is infinite. You can't have endless growth in a finite system. You can't have everyone gain in a finite system. When one person gains, someone else loses.....and the ultimate loser, when all is said and done, is all of us...we are all one...one love, one heart, one world...the only one we've got. So when it comes down to it, none of us should be making profit - all we got is all we got, so STOP THROWING IT AWAY! - N


Mook said...
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Mook said...

As per our discussion in our last class, it seems as the end consumer will eventually want to recycle, and here's why...

Once this legislation goes into effect, it is going to be chiefly the State's responsibility to ensure that the mentioned plastics stay out of landfills. Sure, as a consumer we will feel the obligation to "save our planet", but with no viable enforcement by the government, your average consumer probably won't be affected by the new bill and be encouraged to start recycling. That is, not until the price of your bottle of water starts to increase. As mentioned in some of the articles, companies, and eventually the government itself, are now beginning to more-or-less go through landfills to recover old plastic bottles. These companies have to pay for this somehow... it'll probably just end up coming from the taxes embedded into the cost of the water bottle that we'll end up paying as the government forces these plastic companies to pay more taxes for clean-up efforts.

new legislation = government having to clean-up = companies paying more to have the government to clean-up = companies charging the end consumer to make-up for clean-up costs

This leads to the consumer starting to have to pay more and more for a single water bottle. They'll notice how the price is rising and wonder why. Maybe this will shift the consumer to start recycling so that they won't have to chip in for the taxes that companies have to pay to have the government clean-up/ enforce the bill.

The government is virtually enforcing their legislation, not by hiring "trash police", but by eventually handing the cost of keeping water bottles out of landfills on to the companies that make the bottles, thus handing the charges to the end consumer. Man, the government is smart.

-Mook Cahill