Cactus at Angry Bear lists a Commentator who asks a real question: Is the Resource-Cost of Recycling greater than the Resource-Cost of producing new Product? The problem is very real, and the solution is simple: introduce economies-of-scale into the Recycling system. Use of Ole Keynesian’s example may provide Insight. An automated Steam process would clean Peanut Butter jars better than Kitchen methods of Hand-Washing. An automated Process could strip off the labels, Steam-clean the jars(whether glass or Plastic immaterial), separate into Class of Container, and ship to useable Provider; the entire Process utilizing the entire jar, label, and lids in Recycling condition. Automation could minimize Water use, Soap use, and amount of Discharge water.
Who would pay for both Capital and Labor?
Let the Market plus a specialization tax handle these complexities simply. A simple Specialization Tax of an estimated 7 Cents per Container could be charged to all Retailers of Container products. A Nickel would be granted the return of any Container to the Retailer–uncleaned; this to maximize Container returns, with Retailers allowed to subtract their extension of Payment for the Returns from the Specialization tax charged. The remainder of the Specialization tax would be collected by the Government agency responsible, who would be charged with purchase of the proper equipment, Recycling site, Collection of Containers from Retailers, payment of all Labor involved, and Sale of the final Recycled material. This is not far-fetched, and Recycle Centers can be set by Container volume, with Collection trucks visiting up to an entire County; it being especially effective if Retailers are charged with paying for any Containers, not just their own Sales products, with resultant repayments if necessary by the Recycling centers.
Any Economist will tell the Reader that Retailers will simply pass on the Cost of the Specialization tax onto the Consumers of the Container products through higher Prices. This does not detract from the Container collection system, in that empty Containers assume the character of Bargain coupons. An effective centralization of effort produces an effective Recycling system at relatively cheap Cost to the Consumer and Retailer. Effective redistribution, utilization of uniform Standard sizing of Containers, and modern Sterilization practice could eliminate need for remelting of Containers. The entire Recycling system could become a self-paying Profit company providing effective worth of Service to the communities involved. lgl