Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Why Should Businesses Recycle - Profit Motive or Because It's the Right Thing to Do?

By Lance Winslow    

Not all businesses recycle all they can, perhaps they don't even realize how much they throw away which is actually needed somewhere else. That makes sense right? Sure, and if you've ever run a company, you know that as hard as you try, well, you can't know everything.
The other day, I watched a small business owner break up some cardboard boxes and toss it in the trash. Did you know there is a shortage of cardboard? It's true. Guess where; China, that's right China and they need more paper products and cardboard to recycle for just about everything and a good many of those shipping containers that go back empty, yep, they are now filled with cardboard, go figure?

Not long ago, I was having this very conversation with an individual about recycling, and she indicated to me that she appreciated my focus on the recycling needs for business based on their bottom line, that is to say, get businesses to recycle by showing them they can sell those recyclables, or show them how to reduce waste to make more money. Still, she also believed that too often "the greater good is overlooked by our over consuming society." Okay so, that is a point well taken indeed.
Now then, let's debate this shall we? You see I believe that businesses should recycle because less waste is more efficient, and efficiency is profitable, and profit motive works. I also believe Everyone should recycle as much as possible because, well because it is the right thing to do.
So, to the comment of an "over-consuming society" I'd have this to say; Enjoying one's life-experience immersed in the greatest nation ever created in all of human history, and the desire to enjoy that incredible opportunity to the fullest should be celebrated. Why live without, when there is abundance everywhere.
Additionally, we find that our strong middle class (currently, it's in severe jeopardy) has helped uplift people in nations around the world. I've seen so many great and wonderful things from this. The more efficient things run in the production of products and services (that people want, need, or desire remember) means that prices are lower, thus more abundance, free time, and efficiency (provided free-markets are allowed to exist without crony capitalism).

Since, anything left over in the manufacturing process is waste, that means there is still inefficiency to remove, in doing so it also removes pollution, and the very waste which fills up the landfills. There is a direct correlation between waste and profits, and a diminishing return formula. By re-using, recycling, and mining of recycled waste, you get efficiency, and efficiency = profits, lower costs.
There are so many rules and regulations that small and medium companies are often afraid to deviate, or even risk innovating in their operations, and they really don't know what is recyclable and what isn't. Indeed, I'd say we must beware of mandating recycling to the point of absurdity, rather reward the behavior desired, by allowing free-markets to solve that problem for us.
One last note: Beware the law of unintended consequences from the actions, legislation, trends of socialists, communists, anarchists, environmentalists, and do-gooders who don't understand how the world works, why it works, or what has made this country the greatest nation in the history of mankind. A society is best when each individual is strongest.

Now then, I am assuming not everyone is okay with what I've had to say in this article. So, I am open to receive emails with comments, questions, concerns, empirical data, and case studies. However, quite frankly, I rather doubt anyone has any new arguments, or debating points I have not heard before at nausea, or that I haven't yet considered the prior. So, I guess many of my readers might see our viewpoints diverge into an impasse. I'd love to hear an original thought on why focusing on efficiency and the bottom line is the wrong direction to travel to solve the problems associated with the lack of recycling amongst small and medium sized businesses.

Lance Winslow is the Founder of the Online Think Tank, a diverse group of achievers, experts, innovators, entrepreneurs, thinkers, futurists, academics, dreamers, leaders, and general all around brilliant minds. Lance Winslow hopes you've enjoyed today's discussion and topic. - Have an important subject to discuss, contact Lance Winslow.

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