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Conservatives announce new recycling plan

Jul 15

Written by:
15/07/2008 14:50  RssIcon

Yes that's right, the Conservatives actually have a concrete policy. As you would expect it totally misses the point.


The Conservatives have announced plans to pay people for recycling their rubbish. While using the carrot rather than the stick is a good thing the policy still shows a misunderstanding of the waste problem.
Environmental campaigners have always made clear that the best way to tackle the waste problem is to reduce the amount of waste that each person produces. Under these proposals people would actually be rewarded for increasing the amount of waste they produce. The waste in question might be recycled but this still uses natural resources, and creates more waste.
The plans are based on recycling programmes which Shadow Chancellor George Osborne said had worked "incredibly well" in the United States. Here residents are given up to $50 (25 pounds) a month for their recycling by private contractors. Describing it as a “virtuous circle", Osborne said it also had the effect of turning low income communities - often the worst at recycling - into the best recyclers.
This market measure will surely fail to reduce waste and it also fails to address the environmental knowledge gap the exists between socio – economic groups. The knowledge issue is at the heart of the environmental crisis, as the majority of people lack the knowledge to make informed choices. The action reinforces the role of the market (and the state as its henchman) as the only force that can avert further environmental degradation. The state, acting as the markets all seeing eye, will be intruding further into our lives and our rubbish but without tackling the underlying problems.





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