Letter: Bow’s recycling woes

Published: 5/19/2019 12:01:22 AM

I feel bad for Bow’s recycling committee, being blind-sided by financial “realities.” Our town meeting passed an advisory resolution to the effect that we value recycling and wish to continue even at a cost.

Years ago New Hampshire’s bottling industry headed off a bottle return bill in New Hampshire, even as we are surrounded by states with bottle deposit. The industry attempted to compensate by sponsoring recycling programs in New Hampshire. How is that working out now? The industry still avoids taking back the bottles and cans.

We are missing two essential facts in this discussion. One, the private sector privatizes profit, while socializing costs. We buy the products, business collects the profits. Business considers the generated trash as “externalities,” not accounted for in their bottom line. We pay through taxes or pay-as-you-throw fees to discard the packaging and no longer usable products. The second fact is that capitalism can exist only in a healthy, well-functioning society if it is heavily regulated. No self interested business will volunteer to take responsibility for discarded packaging if its competitors do not also take on that expense.

It is time that we the people require all private (or public) entities to take cradle-to-grave responsibility for all the materials and packaging used in the course of doing business. Why should we pay? Take back the plastic straws, grocery bags, hard plastic lettuce bins, coffee cups, leftovers containers, etc. Good luck, Bow.

FRED PORTNOY

Canterbury




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