Hazardous Waste Charges

I have had this discussion with a few folks, and figured I’d bring this one to my readership:

Why do governments assume we will pay fees to dispose of hazardous waste?

When I first moved to Ottawa every weekend the City of Ottawa would run a hazardous waste drop off at the dump near my house, where you could bring your paint cans, spray paint, old household cleaners and chemicals, etc.,. It was a good system (in my opinion) which made sure a great deal of these chemicals did not make their way into the landfill and were disposed of in a safe manner.

Since then the number of hazardous waste drop offs has been cut to 2 or 3 a year, and I am confident that a great deal of the hazardous wastes are not being disposed of in a safe manner.

CRT’s Disposal Charge by the Pound

My biggest complaint now is the disposal of CRT’s and old Televisions. A year ago I took a 14 inch monitor from my Church to a store that disposed of CRT’s and was horrified to see that I had to pay almost $30 to dispose of this device (I was charged “by the pound”).  My Church gladly paid the fee, but this kind of “fee” to dispose of something hazardous makes me wonder if this is the right way to do it?

Many people I know have voiced the unlikelihood of them paying this fee to dispose of their CRT’s, and instead the CRT’s will be disposed of in more creative ways. I agree that it is wrong to dispose of CRT’s in landfill sites (lead, and other interesting chemicals are some of the by products of CRT’s in landfill sites), however, making it expensive for consumers to dispose of them is not going to encourage folks to be good “ecological citizens” of this planet.

I found a way to dispose of 4 of my CRT’s, but it was at the expense of my former employer. They were having a “clean up the campus” week where you were supposed to clean up work spaces and put the “waste” in appointed areas. I decided to expand the “clean up” to my home office, which had many old CRT’s and I brought them to work, and my former employer disposed of them (I hope).

Solution to this Hazardous Issue?

My opinion is that there should at least be some kind of “amnesty” for folks to be able to drop off old TV’s and monitors without having to pay more than $10 per device (or free would even work better). Anyone care to disagree?

Interesting North American Car Manufacturer Solution?

Completely changing the topic, my mechanic gave me the best bail out idea for the North American car manufacturers. Make all cars sold for the next 4 years tax deductible (the purchase price). You want to see car sales sky rocket, with no money invested by the Government (other than a loss in Tax income)? This intrigued me (I’m sure it is completely impossible, but it was an intriguing idea).

{ 5 comments }

{ 5 comments… add one }

  • Hazardous Waste March 2, 2009, 9:35 AM

    I’d have to agree with Davids suggestion. Just add the cost for disposal to the purchase. It seems like such an easy solution.

    Reply
  • Jerry Hung November 25, 2008, 10:42 AM

    I agree totally, it’s crazy to PAY to recycle

    Hence I would try Freecycle or simply leave items on the sidewalk for people to come get them
    CRT’s, Laser Printers, etc…

    It costs $0 to put appliance on the curb, $3 per tire disposal, and $30 for 1 CRT? Mnn…

    Reply
  • DAvid November 25, 2008, 9:34 AM

    Hazardous waste charges should be included in the purchase price of the product, and a reward paid upon proper disposal, similar to bottle returns. We are usually willing to pay this small cost at time of purchase, due to the perceived value of the product. At the end of it’s lifespan, we see no value, and are enraged at the ‘prohibitive’ disposal costs.

    DAvid

    Reply
  • Michael James November 25, 2008, 8:25 AM

    A sensible solution is to have a government run location that accepts hazardous waste at no extra charge, but to charge an extra tax when a new item is purchased.
    >

    Reply
  • Traciatim November 25, 2008, 7:36 AM

    Here is an opposite, equally effective, revenue generating solution. Put an import fee in place equal to the wage gap between overseas workers, including all benefits received, in comparison with domestic auto workers. If the country of assembly has employees that cost 30% lower than here then a 30% import fee it is.

    Th unions would love it, and it would put the domestics on par with the slave labour imports. Also, it would enable ‘imports’ that have local factories to compete on par using domestic to North America workers.

    Of course, instead of that you could just let the big three use chapter 11 to get the unions off their back and suddenly they would be profitable anyway once fair competition re-prices the work force . . . but that’s a whole other discussion.

    Reply

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