F.U.S. Files: Riverside Landfill

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I rode up and down the 350km of the Nujiang valley without seeing any significant trash-related infrastructure. In places where land is scarce and every inch has to be used for living space or agriculture, it appears that people have two choices: burn the stuff or dump it along the road next to the river. I don’t know which is worse, but I do know that any trash I dispose of here, even if I dump it in a bucket at a restaurant or a bin in a public park, will end up this way.

Thought experiment: what would happen to the economy if we instuted waste responsibility rules, either for producers or retailers? Nobody gets to make or sell this stuff unless they’ve devised a way to clean up after themselves. This is the kind of rule we’d want to institute for a household or a small society, right?

What I’m doing about it: Not buying anything with a wrapper. Not buying anything I don’t absolutely need. Rescuing and reusing other people’s trash.

Friends in this fight: Whole foods. A desire to be healthy. Apples, peanuts, and water rather than candy, chips, and soda. An understanding that the thirty seconds of pleasure that any of the latter may give me will likely be outweighed by a greater amount of suffering caused to other beings.

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