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Lecture 9

Garbage Lecture 9

Course Code
Andre Sorensen

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9 Garbage
What is Garbage?
In a garbage does have value just because it costs money to dispose it
The composition of dumps and the amount of garbage changed radically after WW2 because
(during 50s and 60s) of
Introduction of plastic, research and development of new materials (e.g. NASA)
Chemical industrial processes
Household chemicals change in composition of garage increase in toxicity
Increased wealth more money to spend on stuff and reduced prices, cheaper
(e.g. milk delivery: the glass bottle used to be more expensive than the milk itself, now the
introduction of plastic makes packaging extremely cheap)
Huge increase in waste production
Example: hardware stores (changes in retail) change in packaging: before it used
to be all bulk style, now its all neatly packaged in plastic
Example: beautiful packaging 6 layers of wrapping for cookies in Japan
Changing dump technology
Open dumps toss it off a cliff, pipes in valley, hills unstable soil, toxic,
therefore cannot build houses
People used to be very casual about waste disposal until after WW2 where there
were concerns about the smell and sanitation
SOLUTION: Sanitary Landfill
BUT: when it rains, it washes down toxic chemicals-leaching which is incredibly toxic
To prevent leaching, they use impermeable clay, liners (these wont last 200 years)
These contaminants take a long time to break down
What is in out waste stream?
40 years ago, disposable were less common, although technology has helped limit
some sources of garbage such as disposable cameras they have also generated new
sources which are even worse (e.g. dead iPods)
Why is garbage an unusual product?
Why is it hard to charge people for waste disposal? Because they can easily dump it
somewhere else (e.g. parks ILLEGAL DUMPING people have to be very careful
with their garbage so that it doesnt contain evidence of ownership such as torn up
credit cards, receipts with names etc.)
Japan most people obeys rules, socially civilized country
Municipal Monopoly part of property tax for waste disposal because its hard to
charge people
Capitalism works really well because price mechanism is a good way to communicate
what people want and allocate goods but price signal does not work with garbage
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