The business or shop that sells us things that we buy has the best link to a lot of manufacturers and distributors, and if we want something to back to the manufacturer, well the shopkeeper is perhaps the best place to return it to. And we can use it to support a circular economy. And the efforts can be even more manageable and make an impact if you subscribe to a product or a service.
Let's take an example: if I subscribe to a print newspaper, if I have not used today's newspaper irretrievably by tomorrow, I can leave it tonight by my mailbox, so that the person who delivers my newspaper tomorrow can take the old one back to the newspaper who can use it for new paper or sell it to a business that makes paper bags.
Another example: If I shop for a can drink at a supermarket, I can perhaps return it to the supermarket, who can return it to the distributor who comes to deliver new can drinks and who can then return it to the company, who can either use them for new cans or sell it to another business that could use it.
This might seem a little strange but it might be a good idea: If I buy vegetables or meat from a seller, it might be a good idea to return the vegetable and meat waste to the shopkeeper who could pass it to the distributor who then gives it back to the farmer that produced it, who can use that as compost.
The whole idea is that we do not have to go around to recycle waste, it might be much easier to go up the ladder. But there is a question: How can we encourage people to do it? Well, if I shop regularly at a shop, the shopkeeper could start giving me a digital receipt that would like any other receipt, show the things I bought at their place. And when I return it, I could get a refund on charges that go by "service charge", or perhaps Value Added Tax. It's like the shopkeeper tipping the buyer, but the shopkeeper is also tipped along the ladder and the manufacturer can recover the recyclables without collection trucks and strategies. (Perhaps Value Added Tax adding value to the transaction makes literary sense.)
As for the buyer, if I shop all my vegetables at a single shop, I could put up a bin at my home that goes by the name of that shop, or if I shop groceries at the same superstore every time, I could collect all the wrappers in the same bin. The feature here though will be that I could sort things that way, but it would be very difficult for shops and distributors to sort little chocalte wrappers and give it back to the manufacturers.
And so there comes the local authority like the metropolitan office. A wrapper manufacturer could recycle "perhaps" wrappers from products other than just its own. So, if we (the city policy ) can assign to each distributor a number of shops, and to each manufacturer a number of distributors - based on their production volume, their product etc. recycling just goes up. And a part of the waste management system now runs together with local businesses.
The main feature here is that the final customer can return waste if they are a regular at a shop.
I was watching a video about circular economy which was about Amsterdam, at PBS.org, and so had this idea: if we could keep track of the waste we wouldn't have to run around to figure out where it could have gone. Or we could do research on how much and what of the waste can we track? More importantly, we could prevent the waste from ending up somewhere out of the hands of a recycler. This way we could at least understand our waste.
Could this be done in Amsterdam? I was just trying to explore this approach and was really excited.