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What an interesting discussion this has been. I for one am of the opinion that it is time to throw in the towel and admit that recycling is not the answer nor will ever be the savior people once thought it to be. Whether we are talking about plastic, EPR, ADF, or whatever, recycling products should be minimized and reuse and putrescability maximized. Recycling has always been about resource conservation, and for that purpose, it may still have a use, but for saving the planet, it is most ineffectual. Besides remaining mindful of which products are derived from renewable resources, we need to follow the process, the product, and the end life and ensure all are benign. Recycling and/or reusing products that create toxins during their production (most plastics, chemicals, paper, etc), useful life (internal combustion engines, off-gassing building materials, pesticides, cleaning fluids, etc), or EOL (plastics, electronics, batteries, etc) is merely palliative - it makes us feel better, maybe puts off having to take substantive action, but doesn't cure the underlying problem.
 
Both consumers and producers are complicit in the continuing degradation of spaceship Earth. It is unrealistic to think either has more responsibility than the other in creating change. If producers are amoral, then so are those who willingly or blindly consume their products. It is the collective thinking and discussion that is at fault and needs to be shifted and raised to a higher plane. Most people do not recognize that their choices are the underlying cause of environmental destruction. Some of this is due to the lies and misinformation that accost us via advertisers, the media, and even from governments and professional groups. This din makes hearing and extracting the truth terribly difficult. Exacerbating this sad fact is that most people do not want to change and want only to do what is easiest.
 
Rowing against the current has never been easy and that is why sensible legislation is helpful. Asking business to take back products without clear guidelines is foolish. Industry has shown again and again that it will do what is cheap and expedient and not what is best. Likewise, expecting individuals to change old habits without some type of legislation to push them along is ridiculous. We need look no further than to bottle bills and how effective they have been in changing peoples behavior to know this is true.
 
Many present technologies are inappropriate and flawed. They create more problems than they solve by being resource intensive, harmful to people and Nature, and highly inefficient, i.e. they create unusable by-products (waste). The effects are everywhere and are increasing quickly as corporate power waxes and consolidates under the banner of "free trade" and "globalization." Governments have become lowly shills pushing "globalization" on the world.
 
Anyway, these are some of my thoughts. I think this subject cuts to the core of why we are here doing this work.
 
David Wollner
BRING Recycling 

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