GOLD MINES - CONT'D
The electronic equipment black hole
Then we have the "enlightened" way of dealing with electronic equipment. In most places you cannot simply dump electronic equipment with the trash, because it is valuable toxic, toxic! You see dear reader, there is gold in them boards. All kinds of precious, semi-precious and plain expensive metals can be extracted from obsolete electronic boards. There is no reason why this wealth should be ignored by bureaucrats in padding their wallets. And so they set-up specialty dumps for such items… dumps that nobody but them have access to. The only problem is that people of lesser means can and will actually reuse such equipment. In some cities over the world there are charitable organizations that do just that. They collect older computer and/or electronic equipment, reuse it, re-assemble it and give it out for free. In many poorer cities, computing equipment is literally taken off the streets by eager people to reuse. Yet, this is prevented by greedy "ecologically driven" bureaucrats.
One of the new "green initiatives" that bureaucrats have been keen to embrace are the "partnerships" with industry. Through many of such processes companies and industries are granted monopolies over the collection of certain -profitable- items. These items range from home appliances to clothing to power tools to electric and electronic devices. It is a sweet deal. Companies get free items (most of them dropped at their collection points by desperate people) that they can sell to wholesale recyclers or they may fix and sell them. Thanks to the granted monopoly, they are the only ones allowed to do so. That's right, if you collect recyclable items from the curb, you are not only evil but in breach of regulations and if found, you will be arrested, put in front of a judge and fined. Yes, it is that ridiculous.
But why? Why would bureaucrats do such a thing? Because there is money in them monopolies. You see dear reader, somebody must "administer" this program and this somebody must be paid. Companies pay so-called government "organizations" for the privilege of being licensed to hold a monopoly. These organizations are just like any other bureaucratic organization, they sprout like ants after a rain, they grow vast, all powerful and are exceedingly well paid. What is not to like?
Fertilizer et al. (and others)
And then we have the whole "fertilizer" business. This is a relative new aspect of "ecological waste disposal initiatives" or pirates-r-us as we prefer to call them. Trash collection "agencies" will gladly take all your compostable trash and your wooden or backyard trash, as long as they are properly separated, bundled, packaged and labeled (by you, of course). They will do so because those two items are becoming big business. Compostable items need only be composted for a year to a year and half (i.e. dumped in piles) to be transformed into high-quality organic fertilizer. Very expensive indeed. On the other hand, all the "wooden" trash can be chipped, dumped on piles and composted to create a lower-quality high-fiber-content compost suitable for gardening. This is a less expensive but still a valuable product.
In principle this would not seem to be a bad idea. The only problem is that they can only achieve this if you sort the trash for them. In other words, you pay them to take your trash (through taxes), you pay them to sort your trash (with your labour), you pay them to compost the trash (through taxes) and then you pay them again if you want to buy the compost (at retail values). Does this make any sense to you?
The excuse for all these programs is landfill diversion. This is bureaucratese for "we don't want your garbage, we just want your money" You see dear reader, landfills get filled-up and then other landfills need to be found and this causes many problems. Basically it is difficult to convince people that having a garbage landfill near their house is a good idea and also good for the price of their real estate property. This is so because they "have rights" and therefore these people create political problems which translate as fewer votes which jeopardizes politicians' jobs. Therefore the political solution is to divert garbage in order to "extend" the life of the landfill site. And by "diverting" we mean dumping on you and by "extending" we mean continuing to exploit you.
And last but not least, we have all those juicy garbage-collection government contracts. In general terms very few (if any) locations own their own garbage collection means. Collections typically get awarded on a bidding process to the lowest bid in a fair, public and transparent process. And if you believe that, we would be happy to introduce you to a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to purchase an exclusive item: air expelled from the lungs of your favourite historical character. Just send us a check for 100 EUR (we also accept Bitcoins and Credit Cards) and the name of your chosen hero and by way of mail we will send you a genuine aluminum can containing air from his or her lungs. Guaranteed!
Seriously? Fair bid? Transparent? Don't make us laugh!
Since the day when Grok first offered to remove the remains of eaten carcasses from Grak's cave "for a small fee" there hasn't been a single garbage collection contract anywhere in the world that isn't at least suspicious. These contracts are exceedingly famous for being payouts for political favours, mob money makers, "buddy" sweet deals, half-and-half self-payouts and so on. This is all fine and great, but you would do well in remembering that it is your tax money they are spreading around in such a cavalier manner.
What's in it for me?
And what do you get out of this? What is your benefit? A big nothing! All these process and procedures and products that generate piles of money are not, repeat not, used to lower you trash tax bill. They are all dumped into a general and all-purpose account from where politicians and bureaucrats feel free to dab into. Happy now with your ecological conscience?
Note: please see the Glossary if you are unfamiliar with certain words.