21 January 2008

A Sustainable Regime?

I spoke with the property manager of my building this weekend. He's originally from Romania and we talked about the new regulations for recycling here in Vancouver
The note I received under my door reads: 

We will be fined should they find these items or any recyclable items within the garbage. If anyone is caught placing these items in the garbage bins we will pass all costs to the tenant and/or eviction. I am sure we all want to to help the environment by doing our part in reducing non recyclable waste.

I could be evicted for not recycling? These are different times, yes? 
Note: Not sure it's actually legal to do this but is curious nonetheless

The property manager finds this idea somewhat humorous considering he was required to bring all his bottles to school to be recycled when he was growing up in Romania during the communist regime . He said this as he laughed about the nature of our new challenge and asked, "Is this another regime?" 

I found this incredibly interesting. Legislated activity is one of my recent inquiries when it comes to communicating about sustainability. If we don't pay our bills on time, we are charged interest. I am penalized in my credit rating as well. But these are individual impacts. What about a collective legislation that would communicate something other than, "We take our inspiration from nature" (as you purchase one more item you don't really need)? 

In such an individually driven society, how can we pursue a collective ethic? Is it even possible?

"Consumers don't really understand a lot about these issues, and there's a lot of confusion out there," says Jacquelyn Ottman, founder of J. Ottman Consulting and author of "Green Marketing: Opportunity for Innovation." 
"One of the things you can definitely predict for the next few years is mass confusion, because there's a void of government direction -- plus a huge demand from consumers -- companies are going to be putting products out there with claims that can't be substantiated," Mintel's Mr. Lockwood adds. "Knowledge is pretty low, but it's on the upswing."

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