In the current system, manufacturers who profit from the sale of their wares have little incentive to make durable products or minimal, easily recycled packaging, or to incorporate recycled feedstock in their packaging. There is a bill in the Massachusetts House of Representatives Ways and Means Committee, H447, An Act Reducing Packaging Waste in the Commonwealth, that assigns a fee to packaging sold in Massachusetts. The fee is based on the product’s recyclability, recycled content, and cost to manage at end of life. It provides an incentive for more lean and thoughtful packaging design, and to create domestic markets for our recyclables. The proceeds provide funding for improved recycling infrastructure development, municipal solid waste relief and public enlightenment.
The world suffered a great loss with the death of Anthony Bourdain earlier this month. Through his television shows, interviews, books, and public speaking engagements, Bourdain provided us with a taste of a wider world. Bourdain spoke of food waste as “an issue that goes fundamentally against my instincts as a longtime working cook and chef, where we were taught from the very beginning that one just does not and cannot and must not waste food." In 2017, he produced WASTED! The Story of Food Waste.
The harm to recycling has been inflicted by recycling’s friends, not its enemies. Is recycling dying? No. But to successfully sustain recycling programs and to spring back from the current market mess, we need to become realistic about the problems facing recycling. We need to start setting goals based on real-world analysis, not subjective wishfulness. We need to create a business atmosphere that encourages the development of viable manufacturing facilities that can be substantial recycling markets. Recycling can succeed if we acknowledge its costs, set realistic goals and design our programs to accommodate human behavior. Why not start now?
It’s World Environment Day—“a global celebration of nature, a day to reconnect with the places that matter most to you.” It’s a fantastic opportunity to get involved in a cause and do something in your local community to help make a positive impact on our environment. According to organizers, World Environment Day is the UN's “most important day for encouraging worldwide awareness and action for the protection of our environment.”