In my undergrad at Florida International University, I took a class on US Environmental Policy. The professor summarized US policy in one sentence I'll never forget. He said, "If the policy isn't working, the US will do more of it."
In this edition of failed US environmental policy, we have recycling.
There was an article in Bloomberg about the beverage industry investing half a billion dollars to improve the US recycling rate by one percentage point.
One. Percentage. Point.
This is a good use of money for the bottom line of the beverage industry. It isn't a good use of money for people or the planet.
The beverage industry created recycling as a means to continue producing single-use beverages, which was more profitable for them than the previous reusable bottle model. They convinced lawmakers that single-use provides more jobs, that littering can be solved by increasing waste infrastructure, and that recycling is an environmentally sound solution for packaging waste.
But recycling isn't working and throwing half a billion dollars at the problem won't solve our urgent environmental problems.
Oil companies took this same playbook. They tout, "carbon capture," technologies as a solution. But that's not what they are; they are a faux solution that allows their (very profitable) status quo operations to continue.
Why do we keep falling for this?
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