The Two Sides Of Waste Management

An editorial sifts through the differences between Integrated Waste Management and Zero Waste.
October 23, 2005, 5am PDT | Brenda Meyer
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"Sheehan and Spiegelman note that the municipal solid waste management system was established a century ago to protect public health but evolved in such a way that it provided an indirect subsidy to the "throwaway society," collecting (at taxpayer expense) all the detritus of the consumer culture and making it "go away." Rather than proselytize ordinary people to recycle more (an IWM habit), Sheehan and Spiegelman instead suggest that corporations and consumers are behaving in a rational way. With no price connection between production and disposal, it's predictable that industry would shift over the past half century toward the manufacture of expedient, disposable products, often made from non-renewable materials and energy. (A disposable plastic razor is a good example, as is a "recyclable" plastic soft-drink container.)"

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Published on Saturday, October 22, 2005 in GreenBiz
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