January 24, 2006

How exactly do they think they'll make this work?

California residents must recycle dead gadgets - Engadget
Somehow I think the ideas our Californian Legislature has come up with to enforce these new laws might smack a little of breach of privacy. I know that if you put your trash in the green can and put it out on the curb it becomes public property, but the only way I can see that the state government would be able to enforce these laws would be to monitor what you throw away and then penalize you for tossing that busted cordless phone you don't need now that you have VoIP. I think someone somewhere would be able to poke all kinds of legal holes in this simply based on the idea that the government is using public property as evidence against private citizens. Not only that, but to be able to do this the refuse companies would have to catalog your trash in order to facilitate this enforcement.

Now don't get me wrong... I don't think recycling is a bad idea, but forcing a gadget-centric population such as California's to recycle would be prohibitive without that population being willing to give up some of their privacy simply because enforcement requires private citizens to tell the government what they've purchased, when, and when they disposed of it.

So, in response (isn't that what I've been doing?) I would suggest the California Legislature instead allow private corporations to create an incentive program for individuals who are willing to recycle their gadgets. Then they should charge a small fee, sort of like the Cash Recycling Value we pay now for aluminum cans. This will motivate recycling simply to be able to recoup the cost to purchase the item. Also, if you choose to eat the fee to be lazy the refuse companies can sort out your used gadgets for the revenue it would create when the recycle it themselves. That way the government won't have to be intruding on private citizens, those citizens might be able to make some cash in the recycling, a new revenue stream is created for companies who already participate in the recycling programs, and the refuse companies who happen to pick up un-recycled gadgets in your trash also have the opportunity to participate.

But that's just what I think. I know better than to think something intelligent will be done about this.


tammo21 said...

sometimes just a law alone is enough to get a lot of people to change. Take the airport security laws. They are a complete failure when it comes to enforcement, but the mere presence of the law still gets a lot of people to abide by it, especially paranoid people.

tammo21 said...

Oh yeah and I wouldn't mind a privatized government program to catch waste management companies at their transfer stations and sort through recyclables and non-recyclables.