FOR A BETTER WORLD, RECYCLING INITIATIVE FBWRI
Description of the problem in general:
Solid waste or items disposed of daily by people across the Global has always been a serious environmental issue, but has been greatly compounded by the exponential population growth the world has seen.
With the advent of recycling programs in many parts of the world, and recycling awareness campaigns, the amount of waste generated per individual has actually show a small decline. Declining as it may, the amount of solid waste generated daily has shown a massive increase, due to the population factor.
Dealing with waste in the past was more of a problem of where to hide it, not what to do with it. Now there is a going trend and motivation inspired both from the grass-roots level, to the political level, to address this issue head on and find practical and viable solutions to deal with this delicate issue.
Solid wastes are considered no longer essential items that are discarded from both human and animal activities. They cover everything from:
Organic items: food scraps, carcasses, plants, feces…
Inorganic items: plastic, metal, wood, chemicals, tires/rubber, batteries, packaging, cardboard…
A sound recycling program could effectively recycle over 90% of all these types of waste, converting them into recycled products as cardboard and plastic, or as a fuel source with methane gas generation from human waste.
Unfortunately there exists no complete recycling program anywhere in the world, rather different countries, and towns/municipals adopt parts of cohesive recycling program to focus on limited recycling activities based upon what resources they have available to create such programs.
Improving waste resource recovery, proper use and sound recycling procedures
It has been shown that by passing laws requiring people to separate their trash into proper recycling bins, has little results over the increase in recycling. Awareness programs to boost consumer consciences in motivating them to care for the environment has been much more successful. Its way better that a citizen recycles because he/she believes its the right thing to do, and not because he/she feels obligated.
The largest inhibiting factor to any recycling program in the world is the lack of resources, lack of personnel and lack of facilities to properly address the issue.
When something is a business and presents a profit motivation, then many companies and people respectively will more than gladly participate. When its merely a moral obligation, or a legal obligation then there is no guarantee that people will comply.
How do we motivate people to recycle?
The saying “What’s in it for me?”, certainly applies to a recycling program like any other social project. If we list the current arguments as in
“It’s good for the environment”,
“It’s the right thing to do”.
“It’s for a better future”
Then we are rolling the dice hoping that we pull enough moral strings that we can successfully motivate people to recycle, but this is merely a gamble with no measurable means to ensure its success.
Now if we offer an incentive to complement the moral argument, then we shall greatly increase our chance for success and citizen participation.
In this capitalist world, what motivates people more than anything, is the opportunity to make money. Recycling has been proven to be a very profitable business, but for select companies that dedicate to the business, not for the individual.
Profit and moral based motivation
Exchange for benefits
Governments could offer an incentive where when its citizens deliver their properly separated items to designated recycling facilities, they receive a voucher, and each voucher is worth points. This could be called “RP’s” or Recycle Points. With these RP’s, then, the citizen could be offered a discount either by the private sector as an added incentive for the citizens to patronize their stores, and from the Government sector in discounts in the payment of their taxes, public utilities, or any other concept where monies are collected for services.
Involvement of the private sector:
A pilot campaign can be launched with select national retailers, that will offer discounts over their products and services, in exchange for the “RP”‘s. The retailer then in turn would receive tax discounts from the government for all the “RP”‘s they have collected.
Benefits for the private retailers and businesses:
The private sector shall benefit directly by providing a motivation to people to patronize that particular business. They will increase their reputation as being a “Green” business, and provide growth opportunities. They will also benefit from receiving discounts on their taxes, which will allow them to be more profitable, and as a result provide more jobs.
Involvement of the government:
Participation of the private sector
The government in turn can offer incentives to the private industry to invest in, and operate recycling processing facilities. The government can sell bonds, offer tax incentives, offer land, and other resources including real cash, to participate as a partner with the private industry for the management of such facilities. Including partnering with such organizations as UNOPS. The revenues generated from the sell of these recycled materials back to the private sector and industries, will in turn compensate the government for any and all tax breaks and other incentives they have offered to its citizens for their voluntary participation in the recycling program initiative.
Government incentives for its citizens
The government can offer to it’s citizens, in exchange for their RP’s, the following benefits:
Discounts on property taxes
Discounts on payment of any government related service
A global health plan option covered in part by the Recycled Points “RP’s”
Exchange “RP”‘s for basic food staples, and household items
Benefits for achieving a higher – education or education programs
And many more possible programs.
Penalties for non-compliance
As the FBWRI will offer benefits to the people that willing participate in it by providing compensation for products, services and food items in exchange for the earned “RP”‘s, for people that refuse to participate, or hold a small amount of “RP”‘s, penalties can then be applied.
For example, when a non-complying citizen is required to pay any type of tax as in vehicle, income or housing, instead of them being eligible for a discount, they in turn would end up having to pay a much higher percentage than would normally be charged.
This provides, then, a two-fold incentive.
1) Participate in the program voluntarily, and receive direct financial benefits
2) Refuse to participate and then be penalized financially
Both will serve as a very strong motivation to convince people that its best to recycle.
Long term benefits of the FBWRI
The FBWRI will serve to benefit our world in many ways:
Great reduction in land-fill stored solid wastes
Activate participation of all of its citizens greatly reducing the burden of obtaining and maintaining the proper personnel
Empowering its citizens to take positive and pro-active action for their community
Provide more opportunities for its citizens to gain income, and more income means a stronger healthier economy, a happier citizen, and a more successful government
Generate more employment, helping to solve both the solid waste crisis and the unemployment crisis “Two birds with one stone”.
Make a model example for the world to follow, being a true innovative leader in the recycling initiative.
Provide much needed sound revenue sources for State and Local governments
Provide funds that could be used to improve quality of life, education, medicine, medical care, and social projects
Reduce the overall waste management facility costs and cost of ownership
Encourage green industry to expand and offer more growth opportunities
Waste management has reached its critical mass. It can no longer be buried in land-fills and simply hidden out of the way like has always been done in the past. Not only is there the problem of too much waste and too little space, there is also the increasing problem of the world running low on resources. The throw-away society model may had worked in the past when the world was a much smaller place, but this reckless philosophy can no longer provide any meaningful future path for communities. Many items that are thrown away, were merely used to package a product, and such packing can easily be recycled and re-used.
An awareness needs to be implanted in the citizen, such that they realize that all current activities in their lives, will in turn, affect the quality of life in the short-term and in the long term for their own children. The concept of “it doesn’t affect me” needs to be replaced with “it affects us all”.
FBWRI is a project that should had been implemented many years ago, so saying there is no time like the present is a gross understatement. By combining moral incentive with a financial incentive that will allow for a self-sustaining recycling program to function, should be the model that the world follows. Economic leading countries are in an incredible position to set an example for the rest and help build a better future for all.