Dave Killion — September 12, 2010
Victoria City Councillor John Luton confesses in a recent blog post to be “obsessed with recycling“, but given the contents of the post, he is only half right. That is, he is obsessed with recycling as many things as he can as often as he can. Unfortunately, his obsession does not extend to understanding that sometimes recycling is the wrong thing to do. He is obsessed with the intent of recycling, rather than the outcome.
The ironic result of such obsessions is that they frequently bring about exactly the opposite of their intent. In this case, Councillor Luton probably imagines that by keeping material out of landfills, and by leaving virgin materials untouched, he decreases his impact on the environment. Unfortunately, this is only true when the costs of recycling are lower than the costs of throwing out waste and producing new materials. If you are being forced to subsidize a recycling program, then this is probably not the case.
If the government requires you, by law and under threat of penalty, to give over a portion of your time to washing some of your trash and sorting your garbage into different coloured bins, you are not helping the environment. If you are forced to hand over money to pay for recycling programs that otherwise can’t support themselves, you are not helping the environment.
So I encourage the Councillor to abandon his one-sided obsession with recycling in favour of a deeper, more profound obsession that takes into account the myths that surround recycling. Then he can start doing the environment some real good.
Disclaimer: The articles and opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the Libertarian Book Club.