11 Responses to “Don’t recycle”

  1. remistevens Says:

    Recycling: another great example of fixing the leaky faucet by enlarging the drain.

  2. Marcus T Says:

    Recently my surround sound amplifier started its quick decent into the abyss of “non fixable” electronics. (Quotations provided to reiterate that there are no non fixable electronics, but it would cost more to have it fixed then to buy a newer more feature rich product.) As it sat in a lump in my laundry room, I tried to decide what I should do with it. At first glance, it appears to be fine(despite a few dog tooth marks and no remote). It powers up and sends sound to the speakers. Problem is, at random intervals it had begun to send DC power through the speaker lines, thus, pushing the cones in the speakers out to there full extent, making a horrible crunching sound and, ultimately, working hard to destroy my speakers.

    Options:

    1. Take it to the dump for proper hazardous waste removal.

    Seems like a decent plan. Should only cost me about 30 bucks. 30 bucks for what? At the dump are they going to disassemble the unit and remove all capacitors, microchips, transistors, etc. and dispose of these things in a responsible and proper manner? (does anyone know how this is accomplished?) Or is the dump going to collect several of these types of things and put them in a sealed container and ship them off to someone else with less moral standards and slack laws on the subject, who will ultimately bury it in the ground somewhere?

    2. Wait till noone is looking and throw it in the garbage bin. Out of sight out of mind. Not very responsible but very convenient.

    3. I live near acres upon acres of bare land. Some farmed, some natural. I could put it there. Maybe a combine will come along and mix it in with the soil never to be seen again. Hmm…maybe not.

    4. Southern Ontario. Home of the largest lakes in the world. Head out in the boat, pitch it to the depths never to be seen again.

    5. Take it to the Goodwill and pawn my problem off on some other poor shmuck.

    Any of these sound good to you?

    My point is, there isn’t a good way at the present time to dispose of all this cheap, dangerous shit that we’ve all collected over the years. So if recycling is a step towards a better solution then I’m all for it. Is it the ultimate answer? No. Should we throw it in the garbage and wait for someone else in the future to dig it up and come up with a better use for it. Sounds like procrastination to me. I know! There’s lots of room in Harper’s office right now, since he isn’t concerned about running an organized government anyways, lets jam it in there.

    Next time you drink a beer, try to remember how the container it came in happened. Maybe we should just keep using up all our resources till all that’s left is to dig up all the old shit and sort it out of its disorganized and possibly useless state instead of using it again now. And again tomorrow. And again a few weeks later.

    Maybe if we all breathe deep enough we can use up all the oxygen too. We don’t use it, We’re all to busy with our heads up our own asses.

  3. remistevens Says:

    Marcus,
    Raw materials are far more disorganized and possibly useless than those in a dump. Populations are very predictable, dumps are easily categorized.

    You complain that it shouldn’t cost you $30 to dispose of your old amp. When you recycle you are paying these very same costs through taxes. The more volume of recycling they need to pick up, the more tax dollars are spent to run the system. And far far more often than is admitted, ‘recycled’ items end up in the dump anyways.

    Our society is disturbingly addicted to consumption. Blame corporate, you talk to any business person and they will tell you that circulation of goods is the heart of a good economy. Since a strong economy is more important than anything else in existence, maxing out circulation is paramount. Meaning: so long as corporations are running the world, they are going to encourage as much circulation as is humanly possible. You max out circulation by selling cheap shit that breaks, and if you can, fix it, and re-sell it to the public. This is exactly what recycling is. If corporations are profiting from this system, why are we baring such a large chunk of the cost. I’m not giving Walmart free labour.

    So back to the metaphor; society is the addict consuming the corporate dealer’s goods. How do you help an addict? Do you try to lessen the negative effects of his addiction, or do you try to cure him of his addiction? If you just make the heroin addict more comfortable, he’s never going to stop taking drugs- in fact he will probably become further entangled.

    The problem that needs to be addressed is that we consume far too much, we need to cure this. Its partly our fault, but its mostly the way goods are distributed and produced. If recycling is picking up the tab of overconsumption, what need is there to address the actual problem? Don’t fix the leaky faucet by enlarging the drain- otherwise there will be no reason to fix the ever growing leak.

    The biggest environmental problem the world is facing is our over use of energy, this creates global pollution problems. Landfills suck, but they’re pretty localized- its a lesser problem. Recycling raises our energy usage and enables increased consumption. As the sky gets darker and darker and darker.

    If the public is paying for waste recycling, there is no reason why business would want to rethink their practices. Why would they? If anything it would encourage them to design cheaper and cheaper goods. On the other hand, if business has to pay for waste recycling, they may want to stop creating so much needless waste and start selling goods that don’t need to be rebuilt now and again tomorrow and again a few weeks later.

    Sending your amp to the dump is like sending it to Harper’s office. It forces government to find solutions to the problem of why your amp broke so quickly.
    Wouldn’t you rather the government forced companies to sell good amps instead of finding ways to allow them to keep re-selling shitty amps?

  4. Marcus T Says:

    I agree that Corporations should stop making cheap products. However, shouldn’t the onus be placed somewhat on the consumer? Humans don’t take the time to research anything anymore. Our entire existence seems to be based on finding the “best deal”. Problem is, quality never enters that equation. How do you stop the corporations from making cheap shit? Stop buying it.

    It’s easy to blame the corporations solely. Humans are too stupid to fend for themselves. I, personally, am tired of being a sheep. I will no longer be herded around.

  5. Marcus T Says:

    Here’s a good example. In my work we used the same 70 volt amplifier as our staple product in bars and restaurants. It had adequate features, power, and a decent price point. Eventually, the company started to outsource to China. Price dropped a little for the consumer, and a lot for the company. Problem is, parts became unreliable and they started breaking down constantly.

    At this point, it became detrimental to ours and the clients businesses to continue to use this product. How do you explain to people that they need to pay more for a different product when the other one worked fine for so many years?

    I was worried that this would really effect the business and didn’t know how people would respond to this. As it turns out, when people have the importance of quality explained to them, they are more than willing to shell out a little more money for the peace of mind that a product will continue to work. This has been applied across the board in our business. Better products, happier clients.

    Sure you can go to Best Buy and purchase a huge TV for next to nothing. Then you can go back in a year and get another one to replace it. And then again, and again, and again, and again……

  6. remistevens Says:

    Yes, people understand the importance of quality when its explained to them. Your message is effective and logical, but its completely lost against the ten billion daily messages people are bombarded with pressing the importance of bargains. The “importance of quality” message is being intentionally squashed by corporate and corporate owns almost all the media.

    Its completely unreasonable to expect consumers to fully research every product they buy, whose got time for that. People aren’t stupid, they’re just too damn busy working for the man. You have a huge bias when it comes to TV’s, you’ve got ample time to do the research and understand the product. If you wanted to buy a rice cooker, or slippers, or a space heater are you going to research to the point where you are as knowledgeable as you are about TV’s? Of course not, you work full time.

    I have no idea where someone would buy a tv other than a big box store. I did a quick google search on “which store sells quality tvs”- best buy was the first result. Even when researching, you have to cut through so much corporate bullshit its excessively time consuming to determine which information is true against the many many messages that are false. JVC is a brand name, i would have assumed i could trust it until you told me that they put their name on knockoffs.

    Then there is the problem of available stores. Back in the day before corporate retail took over the market, i could have bought a TV from Mr. Benner down the street. I knew his family, i knew he wouldn’t jerk me around. Sure there are still independent retailers out there, but they are so few and far between its not going to be someone you know personally. I’m not going to travel 100K to buy a tv from Mr. Nebber, i don’t know the man, he might be a crook for all i know. At least with the big box store im somewhat familiar with their return policies and such.

    Finally, there are many small towns in the US who only have a Walmart. If they’re the only game in town, yes Walmart is solely responsible.

  7. Marcus T Says:

    I understand all of that. It’s as simple as this though. If you buy the cheapest product you can get anywhere, that’s exactly what you get. You can, in a lot of cases ( not all), tell the quality of something just by looking at it. If it looks and feels cheap, don’t buy it. I realize there are exceptions to this rule, but my point is, people don’t care. If it’s the cheapest they’ll buy it.

    Maybe instead of attacking the corporations (a losing battle), you should turn your attention to the consumers. Lead the sheep around the river, don’t get mad if the currents too strong and 1/2 of your herd gets drowned.

    Or is that what you are doing with your blog?

  8. remistevens Says:

    sure is man, but sometimes its fine to buy the cheapest, depends on the product- and no one is an expert on all products. Thats the problem.

    further, i think the ONLY way to re-direct the flow of a corporation is through the consumers. We can’t tell them to clean up their act, but we can change our behavior in such a way as to make them want to go environmental.

    How do you make pigs switch from their trough? Fill a different trough with more food. We’re dealing with pigs that eat resources, and anything that contains resources. Look at mining and raw material processing- the attached waste products are always highly regulated. A company takes ore out of the ground, they desperately research ways to use all the byproducts; it saves them money to turn something expensive into profitable. Why are landfills any different? Lets give companies a head start by sweetening the dumps with lots of glass and metal. As consumers we need to toss all our discarded valuables into the dumps so that the pigs will pick up on the scent and move over to the new trough as a source of food. Devouring everything in the process.

    Gobble Gobble, Oink, Oink
    Goodbye landfills.

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