[clug-talk] Recycling Fees

Niels Voll nvoll at voho.com
Tue Jan 11 13:07:38 PST 2005

first of all - I'm impressed you actually took the time to think/write 
about this in some more detail. So running for office is something you 
should definitely consider. And I'm not kidding. It's good when people 
who think and care about stuff run for office - even when they 
subsequently have to amend their position somewhat because they become 
more familiar with more of the realities involved.

However, if I was your campaign advisor, I'd want you to consider the 
following issues for your campaign platform:

With prices of PC's dropping to sub $500, and thus becoming affordable 
for many more people, adding a $100 recycling fee becomes a 20% price 
increase and this would hurt the poorest people more than the richest. 
Tough sell, when you're running for office.

Your system sounds much more complex, so your campaign opponent would 
accuse you of creating "more government", more administration for 
businesses and consumers (keeping receipts with serial numbers for 10 
years is even longer than Revenue Canada requires - ouch!) - your system 
sounds more complex to administer than the GST, and the GST (arguably) 
killed an entire governing party ...

How is the recycling for kids better than recycling in general? 
Recycling always implies a worthwhile use - managing worthwhile causes 
in detail creates yet more government again ...

That being said, don't get me wrong, I don't find the government program 
particularly intelligent either - but high level rules seldom are. Some 
obvious questions are:

Why is a laptop taxed less?
* it costs more
* it includes both: a computer system and a monitor
* it is more difficult to disassemble into component parts (although 
with integrated motherboards that difference is disappearing)

Why do this whole recycling fee thing so piecemeal - first tires, now 
computers - what's next?

What's the difference between bringing in more and more of these 
recycling fees and a PST? I wouldn't be surprised if many retailers will 
use the PST field in their POS systems for the recycling fee. Come to 
think of it, quite a brilliant marketing ploy by the government: 
Replacing the word "taxes" with "fees" - pure marketing genius right up 
there with a certain company using the word "innovation".

Can I avoid some recycling taxes by building my own system from parts? 
Maybe that means tinkerers, who tend to waste less, are practically 
"exempt" from this tax - a tax exemption for geeks? that would be kinda 
cool  :)

So bottom line - I doubt, that it will make a dent into the waste 
problem (it's probably just a tax grab with good marketing spin) - but I 
admit I don't have a better answer to the waste creation problem in our 
society (and our planet) either ...


Kevin Anderson wrote:

>On Monday 10 January 2005 15:53, Niels Voll wrote:
>>the trick of ordering from outside the province may not work in all
>>cases. For example, if the shipping costs and/or other cross border
>>costs from another jurisdiction are more then the recycling fees, then
>>your logic may fail.
>>I'm not sure, if these fees will do much good and as often with
>>bureaucracies, there can be considerable lunacy in the process - however
>>I'd really be interested what methodology you might suggest, which would
>>temper our consumer enthusiasm for throwing things into the landfills
>>(or worse: into the countryside)? Unless of course you don't think waste
>>and landfills are a problem in our society ...
>Charge a REFUNDABLE recycling fee.  Something that makes it worth people's 
>time.  Say $100 per machine or $10 per component.  That money be collected by 
>the government, and placed into even just a basic (read no-risk) savings 
>account.  Interest gained would be used to fund a true recycling effort, be 
>that remanufacturing the components for similar use, or an alternate use 
>effort, similar to where tires are used to make 'sand' for playgrounds.  The 
>recycling fee would be returned to the PCs owner on a reverse prorated basis.  
>So that if you kept the PC for say 2 years, you'd get $20 back.  But if you 
>kept the PC for 10 years, you'd get the full $100.
>Most PCs are easily usable for 10 years now, I certainly have some in action, 
>as I'm sure most people on this list do.  This would encourage people to make 
>better use of their PC.  For businesses, where upgrades would happen anyway, 
>the refund could be considered part of a donation, if the PCs were donated to 
>Charities or similar.
>One possible "recycling" alternative would be Computers for Kids.  Where a 
>small company or non-profit could take donated computers, and image them up 
>so that they could be given to children as they entered Kindergarten.
>The only outstanding issue would be parts that fail or are damaged, though 
>personally, I'm all for that simply being lost recycling money.  The 
>remaining money which was collected, would continue to remain in the pool so 
>that it continued to generate increasing amounts of interest for larger, or 
>more complex recycling efforts.  This will become relevant as more devices 
>converge, such as BlackBerries, TVs, VCRs, Cell Phones, etc.  They should all 
>be similarly added to the pool.  Even if the average use lifecycle is only a 
>few years for most cell phones, there should be ways to recycle these devices 
>into either being reused in similar, but alternate devices, or other ways of 
>continuing their life.  Obviously, they too could be recycled in parts.
>>Kevin Anderson wrote:
>>>Why do governments do stupid things to their people?
>>>All this does is make it cheaper to order from a manufacturer outside
>>>Alberta. Meaning not only do I still do the environmental damage, but
>>>businesses in Alberta lose the sale.  So the net benefit of this is what?
>>>As I've noted before, it's cheaper and easier to take the PC to the
>>>landfill than to have give it to somewhere that would reuse it.
>>>Recycling (generally, not just PCs) could be a huge benefit to everyone,
>>>but instead it's just another stupidly run waste of time and money that
>>>benefits no one, and harms everyone.  It's no wonder there's a disconnect
>>>between pro-green, and pro-corporate people.  Every time something like
>>>this is implimented, it's always one sided (or no sided).  If it was
>>>better though out, it could be win-win.
>>>So if I buy a system in pieces, do I avoid the tax?  Or am I double taxed
>>>in the case of buying a system, and then returning to buy additional RAM,
>>>HDDs, and an upgraded processor?
>>>On Monday 10 January 2005 13:55, Dale Rycar wrote:
>>>>Hello All;
>>>>        Starting on February 1st, 2005 the Alberta Government will be
>>>>implementing it's Electronics Recycling Tax.  This tax will be placed on
>>>>the vast majority of consumer and business electronics, some of which
>>>>include TV's, Computers, Monitors, Lap-tops, and Printers.  The fees for
>>>>such products may vary depending on size (in the case of TV's).  This fee
>>>>must be charged on these products without exception.
>>>>       Here is the breakdown on the proposed charges that will effect us
>>>>                   - Computer System = $10.00
>>>>                  - Computer Monitor = $12.00
>>>>                   - Printer = $8.00
>>>>                   - Notebooks = $5.00
>>>>       As you can see, the average system will rise in price by $22.00,
>>>>which is non-refundable at any point.  Based on this information,  I
>>>>would recommend if you have any planned purchases in the next 3 months
>>>>or so for anything electronic, to pick it up this month.
>>>>Below are some links that you may find helpful in better understanding
>>>>this new fee.
>>>>Alberta Recycling Home
>>>>Program Overview (pdf)
>>>>ARP FAQ (pdf)
>>>>ACP Remittance Instructions (pdf)
>>>>Dale Rycar
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