Ultimate Responsibility

So the vacuum cleaner man sells me a new belt for the vacuum cleaner. It costs $2.75. Cheaper than new appliances. The vacuum cleaner works. The fleas are gone. Life has been restored to its pristine fifties beauty. There is this little old broken belt. It contains neoprene, rubber and petroleum. If I toss it in the trash IT will go to, and I quote, "a state of the art high tech waste processing facility", which is really just a big hole in the ground. I could flip it in the plastic section of my recycling bin, but it doesn't have a triangle with the little man inside it. This would cause an international, "wrong category" incident. The EPA fire alarm would sound and the HAZMAT team would instantly appear in space suits and forceps. Then they would call some lawyers who would take each other out for sushi and talk about "close calls."

That little belt could be smelted for it's petroleum distillates, which would save oil, and therefore the earth and all people would stop having war, poverty, and starvation. I could start that company. I have the know how. I would call it, "The Vacuum Cleaner Belt Smelting Company" so that people could find it in the yellow pages. We would have company meetings and financial projections. Sales people and lawyers would take each other out for sushi. It would be a small company doing its part to rescue the environment, the earth and all people would stop having war, poverty and starvation.

But why stop at vacuum cleaner belts? Why not diversify that portfolio and launch into the "Car Door Rubber Weather Strip Smelting Company". Why this is starting to sound like an international concern with infinite possibilities.

This could all happen in one day, with a law my friend Leo and I invented seven years ago. It's called "Ultimate Responsibility". It says that when ANY manufactured article, machine, or gizmo reaches the end of its life cycle, it is returned PREPAID to the company that made it. That manufacturer is then responsible for refurbishing, rebuilding, recycling or "smelting" ALL the little parts OR returning the parts to their original manufacturer PREPAID, and so on. Employment doubles. Pollution halves. Products evolve. Rotting machine carcasses don't end up in landfills and children grow up in a cleaner world. Fancy that. © 1996 L. Van Warren