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Why people should not sort their trash (1 Viewer)

jurek

Well-known member
I came across this article with a provocative title:

Should the Swiss stop sorting their trash?

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/should-the-swiss-stop-sorting-their-trash-/45843158

Somebody counted how much time households in Switzerland spend sorting trash, which is essentially compulsory and unpaid work for the environment. The time turned substantial country-wide, and more productive would be if trash was sorted centrally, and citizens devoted this time to other work.

I interpret it as an example of the new problem.

Environmental regulations became a large monetary and unpaid burden on households. Far from 'just do a little for nature' it is no longer little but much. Yet there are calls to do more and more.

Should NGOs be more careful in how much burden their policies put on people? Would people still support conservation once their count how much it costs their own wallets? Should new environmental regulations be accompanied by lessening this burden in some other way?
 

NorthernHarrier

Active member
The answers to the questions you asked should include an accounting of the future benefits of today's work, should it not? The fact that we are being asked to spend more time now attending to recycling and other environmental work does not mean that it costs us more in the long run. The question is: are we willing to give up something now to maintain our environment in better shape in the future. Obviously, there are limits on how much time and effort people will give to recycling their trash, but we should be considering the benefit in the long term, not just in the short term.
 

eca321

Member
A very interesting article, thanks. I wasn’t aware of the Swiss system. The results look impressive, there are no landfills! It does remind me somewhat of other articles I have read about some issues around individual responsibility, the main concern here being that as it is so effective, the producers and government regulations are excused from reducing waste entering the market in the first place.
 

jurek

Well-known member
The fact that we are being asked to spend more time now attending to recycling and other environmental work does not mean that it costs us more in the long run.

You are wrong. Most 'we' people will not necessarily live to experience personally the eventual benefit (or otherwise) of less rubbish.

The question is: are we willing to give up something now to maintain our environment in better shape in the future.

You are wrong, again. Recycling in Switzerland (and many other countries) is since many years not a voluntary activity but enforced by central regulations.
You are also wrong because by writing 'something' you are implying that the burden is negligible, and it no longer is.

The core questions remain unanswered:
1. What society finds to be acceptable limits of time and money spend on environmentalism?
2. Why NGOs and individual environmental activists do not pay attention to the cumulative burden of all small pro-environmental steps imposed on people? If anything, they should care because this can finally cause a backslash.
 

opisska

Jan Ebr
Poland
I don't understand how does sorting trash take amy time. The amount of effort in throwing the thing in a mixed bag or in one of the separated ones is really the same. When a bag is full, I go to throw it out, no matter which one it is, just picking the right bin. It's really such a minimal effort.

I actually think that a lot of "ecological" stuff is a complete waste of effort, or even counter productive (see how the misguided fight for miniscule reductions in CO2 emissions lead to the proliferation of small diesels that spit out cancer), but this is just such small effort.
 

dantheman

Bah humbug
There is also the point that if you are going to spend loads of time shopping for stuff online or in shops (overly packaged food, random [email protected] or even just everyday essentials) you can also spend a bit of time sorting it and putting some effort into recycling it. That doesn't represent 'lost' millions of euros or dollars imo - it's just a common sense responsibilty. You take the goods, you at least make a bit of effort.
 

jurek

Well-known member
The point is that doing 'little for the environment' cumulatively becomes significant burden.

And, as Jan noticed, with lots of environmental action the environment can still be destroyed. Regulations can be taxes or protectionism in disguise, and do little real good to the environment. Or they can be forced on individuals because they will do much without thinking, but big lobbyist companies would be doing harm at the same time.

This topic will become very visible soon, because after Covid epidemics both individuals and societies will have significantly less cash and time.
 

Andy Adcock

Well-known member
England
I don't understand how does sorting trash take amy time. The amount of effort in throwing the thing in a mixed bag or in one of the separated ones is really the same. When a bag is full, I go to throw it out, no matter which one it is, just picking the right bin. It's really such a minimal effort.

I actually think that a lot of "ecological" stuff is a complete waste of effort, or even counter productive (see how the misguided fight for miniscule reductions in CO2 emissions lead to the proliferation of small diesels that spit out cancer), but this is just such small effort.

We only sort our rubbish by seperating out the glass, we're asked to wash bottles and cans but even this, is too much effort for some and they don't recycle.

If further seperation is introduced here, I think people will rebel a little more, it's not just the time, you have to find space inside what are often very small spaces for extra boxes for the materials. The more people are asked to do, the less they will be inclined to do it.

Another knock on effect of my neighbours not recycling, is that we have communal bins and the 'household waste' bin will be overflowing whilst the recycle bin are only a third full. It pisses me right off and I have let my opinion be known to these people who I consider to be selfish on several levels.
 

Ian Pritchard

Well-known member
United Kingdom
We have one bin for all recyclable materials, including paper, which makes it easy. I often wonder how much gets rejected through contamination.
 

Sterngucker

RⒶdneck
United States
The answers to the questions you asked should include an accounting of the future benefits of today's work, should it not? The fact that we are being asked to spend more time now attending to recycling and other environmental work does not mean that it costs us more in the long run. The question is: are we willing to give up something now to maintain our environment in better shape in the future. Obviously, there are limits on how much time and effort people will give to recycling their trash, but we should be considering the benefit in the long term, not just in the short term.




I do believe you are right on the money :t:
 

Ries

Well-known member
I came across this article with a provocative title:

Should the Swiss stop sorting their trash?

https://www.swissinfo.ch/eng/should-the-swiss-stop-sorting-their-trash-/45843158



Environmental regulations became a large monetary and unpaid burden on households. Far from 'just do a little for nature' it is no longer little but much. Yet there are calls to do more and more.

Sounds to me as people (again) being too lazy to work if it does not deliver immediate gratification in the firm of money (or food? Gives me images of caged experiment animals you need to immediate reward with food for each action or they won't learn it). People should be developed enough by now to excert energy outwards for longer term goals, not easy visualised or soon rewarded to their own egoic good.
 

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