Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Still on the recycling tip. This excerpt from today's Murray Campbell's column in The Globe and Mail explains much:

The important point is that the government is using a recycling model that lets manufacturers and importers of consumer goods off the hook.

Current recycling efforts work through Waste Diversion Ontario, a non-Crown agency set up by the former Progressive Conservative government in 2002 to develop and implement waste-diversion programs for a wide variety of materials. The agency is behind the Blue Box program and it has also dealt with used oil...

It all sounds terrific, but the government is pushing an ineffective model. WDO is an industry-led organization and its instinct is to push responsibility away from business and on to the shoulders of consumers. For example, the electronic-waste proposal would allow manufacturers and importers to add the fees to the consumer's bill. It would give people looking to discard computers and TVs no incentive to go to a recycling depot apart from a desire to act virtuously. That's why the WDO's hope that the recycling rate will double to 60 per cent is, as recycling consultant Clarissa Morawski has concluded, probably "wishful thinking."

... Much better would be to adopt the polluter-pays principle behind the extended responsibility doctrine that prevails in Europe, in which manufacturers are responsible for the entire life cycle of their products and packaging.

In other words, if Dell, for example, sells a computer, it has to pay for its safe recycling. Only this will give industry the incentive to reduce costs and design products that are more environmentally friendly.

It's time to write some letters to the government start my own NGO.

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