The choices can lead to a dystopian future of corporate control, continued mediocre recycling rates, markets determined by a few corporations, more incineration of garbage in cement kilns and industrial boilers, a new generation of pyrolysis plants in every population center of the country and more virgin plastic pollution. This would maintain a linear system for an economy and environment that needs circulatory. Or, states and communities can invest in a zero waste infrastructure, as outlined by American Recycling Infrastructure Plan, under the control of local and state government with input from organized citizens, small businesses and the voting public.
As we’re seeing with broader discussions in the U.S. right now, democracy matters and the future of individual voices are stake. When it comes to waste and recycling, widespread debate about the actual reality of EPR and its alternatives will determine the outcome of who decides. In making those decisions it’s important to keep four principles in mind: Tax what you don’t want, invest in what you do want, ban dangerous materials and vote for champions of zero waste.
Read the full commentary here.