Doesn’t Pay to Go Green

Saving Green != More $ Green

Going “green” to save the planet does not always put more “green” in your wallet.

Now there are some cases when you can actually save money such as rechargeable AA batteries, but for the majority of recycled products you buy, you actually pay more.

Why is that?

You would think that if products were made from existing products the cost would be cheaper.  For example there is no cost for raw materials and in many cases the recycled material is already in the form needed for the recycled product.

Companies are slow to embrace, charging consumers more for the “new” thing.

Not sure it does cost more to produce a recycled product, but I would not doubt it is because companies have not invested in the necessary equipment.  This is the reason Hybrid cars are so expensive and take so long to deliver to the customer.  There is a bottleneck in some part of the manufacturing process.  Hopefully is not on purpose.  Did I tell you I am a bit of a conspiracy theorist? 🙂

A local Honda dealership was handing out information sheets showing why is was “not worth going green.”  They based it on the cost of the vehicle and available units on the lot, using the current price of fuel and longevity of the rechargeable battery to show that it would not be any cheaper to by a Hybrid Civic over the conventional Civic.  This was such a disappointment.  How many prospective buyers of a Hybrid were convinced it was not worth it?  It comes down to the failure of Honda to meet the demand for the Hybrid Civic and mass produce it at a reasonable cost.

Successful Product Launches?

Here are a few that have made media attention…

  • Reynolds Wrap introduced a 100% recycled option for aluminum foil.  Why did they not replace the existing product?  Are people concerned that recycled products are dirty?
  • Glad recently announced to have reduced the amount of plastic used in ALL of their garbage bags without compromising the product.  Great work Glad!
  • Deer Park announced several years ago now I think, that they reduced the amount of plastic used in their disposable water bottles.  Much better, but why not install water dispensers using the trucked in spring water and stop making disposable bottles?
  • Recycled Batteries have been around for a very very long time.  I remember the “yellow” ones, NiCad, from years ago.  They were weak and took a very long time to charge.  Batteries today home much more power and some even can hold a charge for months unlike the traditional ones which start discharging as soon as you remove them from the battery charger.  I would have to say that recycled  batteries have personally saved me lots of money over the years, especially now since they are widely produced and the novelty of them has past. Much like the Compact Florescent bulb.  At one time very expensive and now very cheap to produce and purchase.  True that we have moved on to LED bulbs because they don’t contain mercury, are even more energy efficient, and produce less heat.

Getting Local

So I am from NY, not the city, but upstate.  Over the years the number of products that can be recycled had improved.  I remember as a child on a few plastics, I think only #2, were recyclable.  This may have been due to the rural area I grew up in, or the limited demand for recycled products of the other plastics to not make the collection profitable, but one thing was always great……

5 cent bottle redemption!

Why cannot something so simple be implemented everywhere?

Not only would more people recycle to get back the nickel they spent when they bought the product, but it also reduced the number of recyclables in the trash cans.  If you did not want the nickel, there were many others going through recycle bins and trash cans eager to redeem them.  Not to say this is idea, but it was a win for the environment and a win for the person struggling to eat on the street.  Not to mention countless schools paid for trips with can and bottle drives.

The nations capital

One wonders why DC does not have a bottle redemption, or at least place recycle bins near community trash cans along the streets.  Heck, just paint half of them blue, slap a recycle logo on it and just maybe, people would carry that can a block further to recycle it.  As it stands now, unless you are in a very limited area around the Mall or Golden Triangle, there are no recycle bins.  Even those were just installed within the last few years.

Recycling trucks come down the same streets, there would be little to no additional cost.

While we should not need to “pay” people to recycle, installing bottle redemption machines at local grocery stores would seem to help.  They could operate much like a change machine either dispensing cash or a redeemable coupon for money.  The crushed output from the machines could then be emptied into the stores recycle bin for recycling.

Why Not?

So my question is…why have the local environmental groups not made progress in this area.  It seems like such a basic “need” which would not take much to implement.