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Reblogged:Column: The Recycling Crowd Embraces Grade-School Juvenility

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No thanks. Life is too short to inspect labels every time I need to throw something away. (Image by Z22, via Wikipedia, license.)
The third-grade boy shamefully completed his apology, in front of first grade. I was luckier than I felt. Just that morning, I had been convinced that the way to win friends was to do what the popular kids did: Stomp on the first-grader's coffee-can art project. I knew this was wrong but I immediately impressed the popular crowd -- the wrong way. My swift punishment only reinforced what I already knew: A crowd was a poor substitute for my own judgment. This lesson has served me well throughout my life, yet I was surprised to find myself transported back to that classroom by a New York Times video -- about recycling, of all things. A connection jolted me when I viewed "The Great Recycling Con:" The captains of industry were making the same mistake I had but with a twist: They are stomping on their own cans.

I remember the early days of residential recycling as clearly as that hug. At first, only the neighborhood crank went through the trouble. But, after about a decade of shaming by celebrities and over-hyping of stories -- like the long search of a garbage scow for a customer -- governments got involved. Seemingly overnight, nearly everyone was being forced to recycle or taxed to support it. Companies had marching orders to label products so we could comply...

To continue reading my latest column, please proceed to RealClear Markets.

I would like to thank my wife and Steve D. for their comments on an earlier version of this piece.

-- CAV

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