Worshiping At Someone Else’s Altar


People who imagine that these tasks take no investment of time must not be terribly busy. But if we don’t perform this important labor for free (so we are scolded sternly), someone else will have to be paid to do it. That will only raise costs. In other words, the only way to make recycling economically viable is to constantly pile more work atop those of us who only live here.

Not that recycling seems to be viable — not beyond aluminum cans and plastics number 1 and 2. The rest of it can’t be processed at a profit. (Glass bottles and jars present a particular challenge.) As it turns out, much of the more valuable stuff can’t be processed at a profit either. Not unless the rest of us do a lot of the labor.

So why is this a thing? It’s a simple math formula: Government + Tree Huggers + Environmentalists = Mandatory Recycling. Think about it. How is this any different than an oppressive theocracy? Hint: it’s not; they’ve just eliminated the robes and rituals for a pile of regulations. And instead of the Inquisition you get some doughy apparatchik tooling around in a vehicle which you paid for, burning gasoline that you’re also paying for, waiting to fine you because you didn’t perform your free labor in exactly the right way.

In the meantime, what began nearly half a century back as a movement among happy optimists has become like too much else to which government turns its attention: heavy-handed, coercive, distant and thick with detailed rules. Recycling may be important, but it’s no longer romantic. It’s not fun. Nowadays, recycling isn’t solidarity. It’s ritualistic drudgery.

Don’t forget, as the author has seemed to, the shrieking choir of zealous harpies that keep this in place. And if you can’t hear them now, just wait until some fool mentions that perhaps some of these things should be rolled back a bit. And prepare to be deafened if the proposal is to stop it entirely.

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