General Question

roysters5's avatar

Should recycling be mandatory?

Asked by roysters5 (64points) March 16th, 2009

should recycling be mandatory in the US?

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43 Answers

patg7590's avatar

failure to recycle should be punishable by death
and reuse the shell casings
and put the offender’s remains in a compost pile.

asmonet's avatar


Even if all it achieves is to get people to consciously think about their waste.
^And I have seen that, uber.

ubersiren's avatar

Nothing should be mandatory.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

I think there’s going to come a day where it will be. We have SO much waste & the earth can hold just so much. We recycle everything here & our actual trash to go to the street is just usually one bag..MAYBE 2. It makes such a difference. Recycling allows materials to be used over & over again.

Lightlyseared's avatar

Why? The market for recycled materials has collapsed completely so all that stuff you’ve recycled is sitting in warehouses that are being heated and lit using vast amounts of energy before they are dumped.

Pcrecords's avatar

Yes we should. It’s not perfect yet but it’s a start. Like any major cultural shift from the motor car to cinema it takes time to develop and work perfectly. In a centuries time it will be so routine that it will seem ludicrous we created huge landfills.

I will say that it should also be practised within the three Rs reduce reuse recycle.

jbfletcherfan's avatar

@Lightlyseared Where did you get your information that it just sits & gets dumped?

casheroo's avatar

I think it should. I don’t think you punish the individuals, but you could punish the people who collect the trash and don’t separate and recycle it appropriately.

Blondesjon's avatar

Ubersiren beat me to it. Nothing should be mandatory. Don’t force a person to recycle. Make that person aware that if they don’t recycle then they will not be privy to any products created with recycled materials. They then have a choice.

not perfect i know, but if i was perfect i would have been hung, crucified, or stoned to death a long time ago

wundayatta's avatar

Maybe not mandatory, but definitely strongly encouraged.

tiffyandthewall's avatar

i think that if anything is mandatory, it should be something that will help the planet. maybe tax breaks for people who recycle, but i guess that would be pretty difficult to keep track of.
i don’t know all of the conspiracies on recycling, blahblahblah, but i think that simply strongly encouraging people to recycle is not going to cause anyone to recycle who wouldn’t have before. if you don’t care, you don’t care.

Sueanne_Tremendous's avatar

What, exactly, does “mandatory” mean? In the Milwaukee suburb I live in it is “mandatory” in that they give you a separate garbage cart to put all of your recyclables in. If you fuck up multiple times by throwing garbage in the recycling bin or visa versa than you can get a citation. But, they don’t follow me and make sure that everything that I buy that can be recycled is. Separating your garbage into recycle and landfill should be mandatory. Plus, the municipality should receive a good return on your recycled stuff and help keep taxes lower….or at least garbage fees lower.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

It’s mandatory to stop at a stop sign to prevent an accident.

Should it not then be mandatory to recycle to prevent a disaster?

That’s my initial thought.

Siren's avatar

Yes. It will help curb the producers from manufacturing useless packaging and all those flyers and inserts we get with our mail that about 2% of us actually read. I mean, who besides me has filled up their recycling bin with paper advertisements from the mail? I feel like I’m working for them sometimes when I take my recycling out.

I also wish all states would participate in bottle returns (ie get a nickel for your bottle). Californians do it.

cwilbur's avatar

Nothing is truly mandatory unless there’s a punishment for not doing it. What should the punishment for not recycling be, if you want it to be mandatory?

emilyrose's avatar

Yes, it should be mandatory. It a law in Vermont, in San Francisco it soon will be a law, and I am sure there are other places. The punishment is a fine.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

@cwilbur and who would enforce such a mandate? The plastic police? xD

It kinda SHOULD be mandatory.. but it’s not feasible.. at all imho. If you can’t get morons to stop throwing trash on the ground despite the penalty of $1000 or more.. you’re not likely to be successful mandating common courtesy anywhere..

ubersiren's avatar

@NaturalMineralWater : It shouldn’t be legally mandated to do anything. Our will to live should be the only reason we stop at a stop sign or recycle. If stop signs became optional, but not obsolete, there would probably be the same number of people who stop at them now. If stops signs became more of a suggestion than a law, people would take caution because they don’t want to die in an accident or kill someone else. I’m pretty sure not many people come to a complete stop every time now, even with these laws in place. And why should you, if you are a responsible driver who can clearly see that there are no cars coming, what’s the point of stopping entirely?

I’m against the state making anything mandatory by fine or jail.

emilyrose's avatar

I work in the recycling field so I do know a tiny bit about enforcement… basically how it works is that staffers from the waste/recycling hauling companies do random spot checks. If they see a lot of recyclables in the trash, they talk with the building owner and help them get the program set up better. If they continually throw out recyclables they may be issued a fine. In SF, the pay structure is such that recycling and compost are free for residents, and you need only pay for trash by volume, so there is a huge incentive to recycle and compost. For commercial customers, the price structure is also set up so that the more one recycles and composts, the more money they save. My old job involved consulting with large buildings on this issue. We would save them tens of thousands of dollars each year.

cwilbur's avatar

But there’s a difference between an incentive—such as recycling being free and trash collection charging per pound—and a punishment for not complying with a mandate.

If you’re going to say You must recycle, then you need to set a punishment for not recycling, and I think the nature and severity of that punishment determines whether it’s reasonable for recycling to be mandatory.

NaturalMineralWater's avatar

@ubersiren I don’t know where you’re from but if you removed the stop signs here it would be chaos.

TitsMcGhee's avatar

It’d definitely be an idea worth testing out. I’d give it a whirl.

wundayatta's avatar

Oh man, @TitsMcGhee, I really, really want to say something in response to that last, but it wouldn’t be kind, even if it is a zinger, so I won’t. But please, please don’t leave such openings in the future. There’s only so much resistance in me.

El_Cadejo's avatar

<wishes daloon would have just cracked the joke anyway>

TitsMcGhee's avatar

@daloon: DO IT. I dare you. I double dare you. I double dog dare you. I TRIPLE DOG DARE YOU.

El_Cadejo's avatar

oh shit son! she just triple dog dared you….this is some serious shit now….

on a side note, Christmas Story FTW

TitsMcGhee's avatar

@uberbatman: That’s what I was going for!

wundayatta's avatar

Nope. Lips are sealed.

btw—it’s been an awful long time since I hung around a playground

TitsMcGhee's avatar

@daloon: Ditto… but I would love to see chap 2 :)

wundayatta's avatar

@TitsMcGhee that’s a bit of a problem. It’s always been a problem for me. I get these things started, and then I can’t get back to them. What might help, is if you ask a question. Something related to the story, not just “what happens next?” More, why did this or that happen? I can’t do this to myself. However, if you post the story so far, and ask, you might get any number of good answers. However, you will have to state a disclaimer—that the question is not a homework question, nor is it a poll question.

TitsMcGhee's avatar

@daloon: I’ll work on that for sure.

SherlockPoems's avatar

People will do what you expect of them… mutual respect is what I am getting at. Demanding… well that just doesn’t work now does it?

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EmpressPixie's avatar

[Mod says:] Please stay on topic. Offensive, off-topic responses will be removed.

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TitsMcGhee's avatar

Whoa. Someone really wanted to say something that had nothing to do with recycling.

In other news, I just recycled some cans :)

Oh, and happy late Earth Day!

koanhead's avatar

Recycling is already economically mandatory for municipalities and such with limited facilities for storing and processing garbage (including the one where I live).
My opinion is that recycling should be “in-sourced”- I want a machine to chew up all my waste plastic and turn it into feedstock for my MakerBot or RepRap so I can make new cool stuff out of it. I want a little foundry so I can melt down my waste aluminum and make parts out of it, and another one for glass.
You may say I’m a dreamer, but I’m not the only one…

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