Recycling

Interesting video on how glass is recycled (via Marginal Revolution).

At the end, of the video the guys says, “the interesting things is if you buy a Snapple bottle in New York and turn it back in through one of the recycling bins, we’ll turn it into another Snapple bottle.”

I did find that interesting that it must be cheaper and easier to break down the bottle and remake it than it is to wash it and reuse it.

 

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Paperless Office

I’ve been hearing about the paperless office for decades. But, as technology was integrated into business, it seemed like more paper was generated.

One example: When we had meetings, we had to make copies of the presentation for everyone. We all took notes on those copies and then went back to our desks and refined the presentations based on the notes. Over the course of weeks, my paper recycling box would become stuffed with the remnants of this process.

I just noticed recently that has changed. We all have laptops, tablets and wi-fi that work pretty well. We have LCD projectors in most of our meeting rooms. We email the presentation to the meeting participants and we project it on the wall. So, meeting participants follow along on their own computer or on the projected presentation. We make notes, electronically, directly on the presentation.

I looked around at a meeting this week and noticed it. I went back to my desk and looked at my paper recycling box. I couldn’t find my paper recycling box. I haven’t needed it for months and I haven’t paid much attention.

Sometimes change happens and you simply don’t notice it.

Bottle deposits

On a recent business trip, a conversation arose with the locals  about the state’s beverage container deposit and refund policy, which is meant to encourage folks to recycle.

It’s also caused a cottage industry for people to collect containers in neighboring states that do not require deposits and transport them into the state to collect the deposit fee.

To solve this problem, the state wants drink makers to produce unique packages that will only be sold in that state.

Regulation begets regulation.  The deposit/refund scheme causes abuse, so more regulation comes along to fix the abuse.  This will likely result in more unintended consequences and more regulation and bureaucracy to fix those.  Few people question whether the whole scheme is worth it or not.

However, the locals recognized the special container fix would likely raise prices for beverages in the state as manufacturers have to separate batches of beverages made for that state and change their distribution processes to make sure only outlets in their state get those containers.  It may also result in less choice as smaller players may opt out of selling in that state.

I mentioned that my state has no such laws, yet people there seem to recycle just fine.  It made me wonder if anyone has studied whether a container deposit scheme results in any more recycling or if states and localities just adopt such schemes because they sound good.  Anybody know?

One more thing, even if the scheme produces more recycling, how would we know if it’s worth it or not?  Certainly, some folks will say we must conserve landfill space at all costs, but that’s easy to say when you don’t have to pay the costs.  I wonder if those same people would conserve landfill space if they were directly faced with the costs.