I dropped by the Green Life Expo today, to check out what is and is not green. The signs, the products, the people, the giant inflatable planet in the middle of the room… they were all green. It seems we’re just past the marketing extravaganza phase but not quite into the details of what any of it means, as yet. Several people agreed to talk to me on camera about what they or their company were doing, and I’ll post some short videos soon.
Talking to a rep from a large recycling company, one of the things that came up was, after extolling the benefits of recycling, getting small cities and towns on board, doing all manner of public awareness campaigns, when those basics are behind you and you’re left to contemplate the evaporated foreign market for your material what you are left with is creating new profit-streams for companies that collect and “recycle” recyclables. The very nice guy did the equivalent of taking his hat off, wiping his brow and squinting into the sun to say, “Heck, I don’t know, hoss.”
Yeah, no kidding. There are many things like this that people aren’t thinking about, and they might sound complicated – like creating vertical integration with manufacturing companies, or getting companies to be happy with a lower domestic price for recycled materials rather than shipping then stuff overseas for a little higher return. These things are inherent to coupling ethical responsibility with economic viability – and it’s important to acknowledge in someway that this what we’re talkign about. But most of the earnest participants didn’t have anything to add to this besides agreeing that it was a good question.