Expanding the Conversation on Environmentalism and Working for Environmental Justice

Obsolescence Tax

I propose that the government tax businesses who profit from the sale of non-recyclable (or high-cost recyclable) products (even those that are categorized as non-toxic). Companies who sell products that are impossible to repair (or costlier to repair than to replace; e.g. most printers) and thus end up being disposed of by the consumer should also be taxed. I believe the EU imposes such taxes; I don't know about the U.S.

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  1. Comment
    dane.gogoshin ( Idea Submitter )

    Hi Sally! Thanks for commenting. Yes, I think that any profit earned by the sale of products whose short-term destiny is a landfill should be treated specially whether imported or domestic. I suppose for imports, you'd have to add an additional environmental import fee rather than make it a tax issue.

  2. Comment
    graceadams830

    A tax and bounty system would be even better. Tax should be high enough to more than cover (about 150%) the cost of proper disposal; and local carters (who by now are usually also recyclers) should be contracted with to pay the local geezers for bringing to the carters a small bounty for bringing in any such product left lying around as litter. The CT state mandatory container deposit law has turned out to be an important part of the local social safety net but the merchants absolutely hate the fact that they lose money redeeming the containers. If those bringing stuff in for a bounty got their bounty for delivering litter to their local carter, it would let the merchants off the hook (assuming the tax and bounty system replaced the mandatory container deposit law.

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