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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Sweet sweet synergy

In Curitiba, the municipal government accepted recyclables from residents and paid them in bus tokens. The poorest people had the time to scavenge for recyclables and bring them to the collection centers, so they benefited the most from this policy

Salt Lake City has mooted the potential for a local recycling center on several occasions, as part of it's general sustainability efforts. I have diligently environmental friends who have piles of glass outside their doors, awaiting recycling. There is an old Chinese woman who raids my dumpster for aluminum cans on a semi-regular basis.

I cannot help but believe that these elements can be coordinated to the benefit of all. Part of the problem of recyclables is their low bulk. Garbage is collected weakly, but rare is the household that could fill a garbage can full of recyclables.

Designate a regular pickup day. Have pickup bags of recyclables color-coded as we do for bags of leaves. Pay on delivery at the collection center. Use the money that would be spent on paying for pick-up and collection to pay for the recyclables, at above market-rates, in bus tokens.

Charity and sustainability in one go. Tough to beat.