[LINK] Of nomads and nanotech [Was: 'New mobile phones will
double as credit cards']
kauer at biplane.com.au
Sun Apr 29 12:25:20 EST 2007
On Sun, 2007-04-29 at 08:46 +1000, Ivan Trundle wrote:
> Which is flawed, in itself. The 'Green Point' laws in Germany began
> this madness. Although it sounds like a good idea, it is now
> mandatory in many industries to return all packaging (and in some
> instances, components) to the originating factories.
> The original legislation was intended to make producers responsible
> for all outputs, but the process of delivering the material back to
> the originator makes a mockery of conservation and green practice.
Not madness; just a bootstrapping problem. I could be wrong (not sure
which law we are talking about) but as I understand it, it's not
mandatory to actually *return* the packaging; however the originator is
responsible for its disposal, and is forbidden from treating it as
garbage (i.e., simply dropping it into the waste stream, even if they
pay to do so). If they are taking that packaging back, then it is
cheaper for them to do so than to dispose of it locally.
Even if it really is law that they must physically take it back, then
the fact that they do so says that it must be cheaper for them to take
it back than to not produce it in the first place. Perhaps they are
re-using it - a plus if the energy/C02 costs are lower for reship/re-use
than for making new.
Either way, it's a cost for them, and that will start to have a reducing
effect - especially as energy costs ramp up.
We are already seeing packaging designed to be retained by the consumer
or distributor - packaging that doubles as display material, or that can
be converted into a toy or gadget in its own right.
Packaging that composts, dissolves benignly, is nutritious, i suseful in
construction or in some other way can be consumed, re-used or
re-purposed at the delivery end is probably the future.
Making producers of stuff responsible for its appropriate disposal,
whether it is packaging or the products themselves, is a very important
first step. Not madness, but this *is* new territory, and we should
expect the laws to take a while to get right.
PS: I think all manufacturers should be required to mark their output
with an identifier, and should be required to accept it for return at
any retail or wholesale outlet of that product, at no (direct) cost to
the returner. They should also be liable - simply and directly - if it
is misused, misuse to include littering.
That would get rid of a LOT of Macdonalds wrappers and Coke cans of the
sides of the roads, and would massively reduce unnecessary packaging.
Deposits would start being asked and returned by manufacturers, as the
cost of such systems would be lower than the risk of the many thousands
of littering fines they would otherwise suffer. It would obviously have
to be phased in over several years, and governments would make an
absolute killing out of the slowpokes, so enforcement would be no
"Anonymous" products would be illegal (much of today's packaging is
unidentifiable as to producer). For example, butcher's paper: Either the
manufacturers of such paper would have to mark it and take
responsibility for it (putting the cost of their product up, but saving
the butcher responsibility, for which the butcher might be happy to
pay), or butcher would have to mark it before using it.
I can dream...
Karl Auer (kauer at biplane.com.au) +61-2-64957160 (h)
http://www.biplane.com.au/~kauer/ +61-428-957160 (mob)
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