How Personal Responsibility for Garbage Turned Me Greener

I’ve long debated with online and offline friends about the virtue and morality of liberty, often touting the wealth-generating effects of institutional respect for private property and rule of law. Over the past several years, however, another linkage has come into focus for me: personal responsibility. Of all the strange places for this to have developed, Online Coding Classes for Kids it was in regards to my perspective of garbage. Allow me to explain…

Having moved from rental apartments to co-operative living, buying rental properties, and eventually moving into my own house, my perspective of garbage has changed, and has made me realize more clearly the virtue of personal responsibility. Proponents of the Green movement take heed: my awareness of your values has come from a position of believing in capitalism, rozbawieni and I think your study of capitalism and personal responsibility will help you crystalize your understanding of your issue, and will further advance what should actually be your cause. This matter is a classic “tragedy of the commons” situation, but you’re focused on the ends rather than the means.

The majority of my tenants live in “affordable” apartments in a city which provides a lot of services, including trash pickup. Consequently, they don’t have to think much about it; they simply put out their trash in the designated locations and the city takes it away. It matters not to them whether their trash is reducible, recyclable, reusable, or not – they simply put it out and it vanishes. In fact, drommabed this city doesn’t have separate collection services for rubbish and recyclables, so it simply all gets placed in the same receptacles without tenants needing to give it any thought. I used to live in an affordable apartment in that same city, so I speak from experience.

Someday, should the city decide to institute recycling, the tenants won’t see it as an important step towards advancing economy and ecology; having come to expect personal irresponsibility as the norm, they will simply find it to be an annoyance. They will reluctantly struggle to separate different categories of what they previously regarded as undifferentiated garbage into multiple interim storage bins cluttering their cramped apartments. Looking at this from their narrow perspective, separating trash is someone else’s problem, Anime and they will see no value in having it turned into their problem. Although the city may save money by instituting recycling, rents will not be reduced because taxes will not be reduced; this extra burden will simply be thrust upon them by decree, and without remuneration or other perceptible benefit.

The system works the same with their sewage. Whatever they flush down their toilets simply goes away, becoming someone else’s problem. This is true whether it is biological waste, Top Suomi Kasinot or non-biodegradable material. It goes down the pipes and vanishes, never to be considered again. As a landlord, most of what they throw away or flush down their toilets falls into the same category for me, but occasionally, they attempt to dispose of things which cause problems. In fact, if you ask people why they do not invest in residential real estate, one of the most common answers is that they don’t want to deal with backed-up toilets at all hours of the day and night. I can confirm that there is some validity to this answer. Drains and sewers were never intended to process cooking grease, cloth wipes, women’s sanitary products, condoms, or steel wool pads. Even quantities of paper towels and toilet paper can eventually clog up a drain, and when a stoppage occurs, it is often impossible to determine which tenant(s) are at fault, so it becomes the landlord’s problem. tambang888

That which does pass through becomes someone else’s problem, although of course, the city’s costs in operating and maintaining its sewage processing systems does translate into tax costs for we property owners, and is passed on to our tenants in higher rents. Even for those of us who recognize this linkage, taking measures to mitigate such problems are merely expensive drops in the bucket when one considers one building’s tiny place in the socio-economic-political cosmos which is that city. The tragedy of the commons prevails, and tenants use the sewage system to dispose of whatever they can, rather than deal with it in a more economically- or ecologically-responsible manner.

Someone else’s problems also become my problems when my tenants attempt to dispose of things the city won’t collect. My city will not pick up building materials, for instance, so in my cost of apartment renovations, I must also factor the cost of privately disposing of the debris. My tenants don’t consider this, so if they perform any of their own renovations and leave their debris for pickup, it becomes my problem. More frequently, though, my tenants attempt to dispose of common bulk household items like furniture or CRT televisions. My city will only pickup one piece of bulk furniture per address per week, (and only on non-holiday weeks,) and they will only pick up a television by a special appointment, individually scheduled, weeks in advance. Tenants don’t care about these details, of course, so they will leave two old televisions and four pieces of a sectional couch out for pickup on whatever day their new furniture arrives, making it my problem. The city uses violation notices and fines to inspire me to the personal responsibility necessary to properly deal with this rubbish. It is that personal responsibility imposed upon property owners which makes them consider these things which tenants do not consider.

The idea of the “tragedy of the commons” stems from public grazing lands. When multiple ranchers share public grazing land, it is in the best economic interest of each of them to exploit the resource to exhaustion, so as to gain the most personal benefit from the shared cost of its maintenance. Privately-owned grazing lands are managed much more sustainably and economically by their owners. Similarly, being able to capriciously dispose of anything without regard for the cost of the disposal makes tenants use more than their fair share of the sanitation system. With costs disconnected from utilization, everyone exploits the system, so the costs simply escalate, which translates into higher taxes, which translates into higher rents. Not one in a hundred, however, would be able to trace back to their garbage disposal habits as a source of their rent increases, and it is admittedly a small effect on each of them, but when multiplied by the city’s 200,000 inhabitants, it becomes considerable.

Being in a different economic class than my tenants, I receive a proverbial carrot when I donate my used furniture or televisions to charity. Various not-for-profit organizations will come pick it up for free, and compensate me with a tax deduction for my contribution. Lower-income tenants taking the standard deduction on their tax returns and being able to make their disposals someone else’s problem get neither the carrot nor the stick, so they don’t care if someone else might be able to use their discards as hand-me-downs instead of turning them into landfill.

 

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