Recycling Strikes Back
I’m back in Germany, the land of serious recycling. We separate much of our excess into bio, packing, paper and everything else (“all the rest, and only that,” as the instructions in our apartment state). Of course, this doesn’t include the three types of glass – white, green and brown – that are to be carried to a set of common receptacles two blocks from our apartment. The picture shows me depositing an empty olive oil bottle in the green-glass container (on a Saturday, not on Sunday, since Sundays are forbidden, perhaps due to externalities created by the noise of crashing glass, perhaps for religious reasons); but I wasn’t at all sure the bottle was green, not brown. These stringent rules raise the price of using containers and other things that are to be recycled. As such, they decrease demand for such products and indirectly help the environment. Maybe this is the most important route by which recycling rules aid the environment!