Cormac McCarthy –

Now that we all know that ‘recycling’ is another word for exporting our waste to unsuspecting poor counties and now that we know that there is currently no pressure on corporations to change their practice models, what is the best thing to do to for the planet?

If we look for solutions within the narrow parameters of corporations, we will never find one, as the only acceptable one for them, would be one where they could increase their profits whilst implementing a sustainable solution.  This will never happen, (in the short to medium term at the very least).  In the meantime, I would like to make a bold suggestion, not to engage with the farce that is recycling.  As with every other corporate ‘solution’, passing the responsibility on to individuals whilst the ones who have the power to change everything refuse to compromise their profits, is a recipe for failure.  And failure is what we have had up to this point. 

Food and consumer goods manufacturers are producing inappropriate material that cannot be recycled and not using recycled materials in their packaging.  For example in one fell swoop, all producers of tissue products could be forced by the government to produce this material in 100% recycled materials only, mixed materials (Pringles tubes, disposable coffee cups etc.) could be banned – this would focus the minds of these corporations to find a solution, they claim is too ‘difficult and complex’.  After an outcry over Walkers’ Crisp packet waste, recycling points were created across Britain that collected in 18 months, less that one day’s output, that still could not be recycled by Walkers’!

It really is time to stop waiting for corporations to act on this matter, they will not.  The UK along with most governments have targets for recycling, which in some cases they are reaching by shipping large amounts that people are putting in their recycling that can not be recycled, to any poor and unsuspecting countries that will take it (and also to ones that have not consented).  This corporate and government irresponsibility is creating a rubbish time bomb for poor countries, destroying environments and habitats. 

Apparently there is no market for recycled plastic, paper etc. well a government that was looking out for people and not corporations would force them to use it, thereby creating a market.  The solutions are simple, very simple, but corporations will not do anything beyond window dressing and greenwashing unless forced to by government and government won’t do anything unless forced to by an outcry from its population. 

What would happen if we in the west stop engaging with this dishonest charade that is ‘recycling’? What would happen if we put all this ‘recycling’ in the rubbish/landfill? 

  1. It would be disposed of in the country in which it was consumed and not exported to poorer countries who have no obligation to dispose of it or endure it.
  2. Government would soon have to look for genuine ways to reduce, reuse and recycle.
  3. It would drive a wedge between the corporations and the government, with the government realising that it will need to reach its targets from corporate action.
  4. Government would be more likely to look for solutions from the producers and retailers of this rubbish.
  5. It would transform recycling from a charade into a reality.

Every day we play along with the recycling charade is another day that the corporations evade their responsibilities and we don’t have another day. 

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