Target’s new recycling centers are free market at its finest

It’s pretty great that Target is now going to have recycling centers at all of its stores. And this isn’t just because people can have one place to recycle normal things (paper, plastic, aluminum) and things like ink cartridges, cell phones and mp3 players (instead of driving around to Staples, AT&T, Best Buy, countless other stores or mailing things to separate companies). It’s also great because it’s good old-fashioned free market competition.

People — often conservatives — typically dislike environmental regulations. They are in love with the idea of free market economics and think regulation hinders pure economic competition — if factories can’t spew toxic chemicals into the air and toxic waste into lakes and rivers, how on earth will they thrive?

This latest bit of recycling news from Target is great because it symbolizes how sustainability initiatives can be voluntary, convenient for consumers and the foundation for competition. Target makes eco-friendly strides without being forced by government regulations, and this can easily affect other consumer giants:

And whether they would admit to it or not, the Target recycling move puts a bit of pressure back on Walmart to up the ante, thereby contributing to a kind of ’race to the top’ […]

It’s the ideal environmental situation. A popular store offers convenient, free recycling services — especially for products that consumers often don’t know how or where to recycle — and it also does so without being forced by any regulations. Anti-regulation people should be happy because it fosters competition in the marketplace.

Of course, this program is Target’s response to all of Walmart’s sustainability measures, so as they try to one-up each other, let’s just be glad that these strides toward sustainability came without a trip through Congress.

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One Response to “Target’s new recycling centers are free market at its finest”

  1. dabbed Says:

    I think this is great!

    Sustainability measures should always assume consumers are super lazy and will do what’s easier. So if there isn’t a recycling center near by that they know of, they probably won’t take the time to look one up and thus will not recycle.

    If they just happen to be going to Target anyways to pick up a pay-as-you go phone because they lost their super-cool-awesome regular phone, well it would be a lot easier to recycle.

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