To A Philanthropist

The challenge is to do something with $3 million that will generate the biggest positive change in the environment of the world. Here's one idea, perhaps you gentle readers could think of some others.

Premise: A major source of solid waste is packaging. Greatly reducing packaging in the waste stream would substantially benefit the environment.

Premise: The best way to accomplish a significant reduction in packaging is the reuse of packaging.

Project Overview: A not-for-profit corporation with a fixed life span is created. This corporation administers a contest for reusable packaging design. It also promotes and licenses the winning design and lobbies for its adoption as a national standard.

Contest promotion and administration:       $  230,000 
Contest award:                                 300,000 
Packaging design promotion:                     80,000 
Licensing administration:                      130,000 
Lawyers, accountants, and bears, oh, my:       180,000 
Lobbying:                                    1,750,000 
Dissolution costs (at the end of 10 yrs):       65,000 
Holding a contest among packaging designers for a reusable and/or recyclable set of package designs would focus national attention on the problems of solid waste. And it might just lead to a partial solution.

Think of all the boxes, containers and wrappers you throw away. Pick through the garbage: Food, which can be composted or disposaled. Paper, which is on the way out. Disposable items like diapers and paper towels. And packaging, mostly packaging. Near universal reusable packaging will be a good thing.

From the
National Packaging Act of 2009

Executive Summary:

Effective November 14, 2013, all packaged goods sold in the United States will be supplied in reusable containers. Product manufacturers are allowed to use disposable, non-recyclable holo-labels if they so choose.

There are 123 basic containers for items and commodities up to 10Kg. Finder/Recycler (F/R) fees range from 85c to $17.75 per package. Packaging of items from 10Kg to 600Kg will be distributed in 65 basic containers with F/R fees of $3.75 to $78.00. High F/R fees, sometimes higher than the retail price of the contained commodity or item, will insure that packages are recycled in nearly all instances. After the 6 year initialization period, wholesale container prices will float on CBOT.

All of the new standardized design containers can nest or stack. All containers can be used for food. All containers include individual coding on magnetic strips for inventory, checkout and reuse processing.

This program, in conjunction with the Composting Subsidy Act of 1998 and the Standardized Direct Mail Act of 1999, reduces total national solid waste production by 73% in the first 5 years and up to 92% in successive years.

Negotiations with the container manufacturing industry, which kept this law from being enacted for the past 5 years, dictate that the industry will receive a substantial immediate windfall only established container manufacturers will be allowed to fabricate the estimated $71 billion in initial manufacturing costs. Ongoing packaging spending is estimated at less than $2 billion per year following the 6 year initialization period. 85% of US container companies are expected to go out of business within 3 years of initialization, displacing 278,000 workers in the United States, and an additional 179,000 workers in the Western Hemisphere Trade Area (WHTA). In response to the debate and passage of this law, container manufacturer stock rose 14% on average.

This law will jointly apply to Canada, Quebec, Mexico, Texas, and the Californian Pacific Republics, as well as to the United States, and is being negotiated for adoption by the WHTA in Mexico City.

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