Yesterday I listed to both KCRW and KQED podcasts about whether recycling is worth it, occasioned by John Tierney's decision to recycle his "I hate recycling" op-ed from 20 years ago. As someone occasionally supportive of libertarian perspectives, I was particularly annoyed by Katherine Mangu-Ward's glib responses to real environmental issues (she was on KCRW). In particular, I can't think of a question posed to her that she actually answered.
I get that "pivoting" is all the rage in political candidate debate forums, but maybe someone from magazine named Reason might look at that name and think about participating in a dialog instead of carefully marketed soundbites. At least John Tierney answered questions posed of him, although whether he did so accurately is another question.
The anti-recycling types on the shows variously said that rinsing out plastics with water, hot water, or hot water heated by coal-fired power uses more greenhouse gases than virgin plastic. No state other than West Virginia uses coal power exclusively, and the percentage decreases each year. Where I live in California, they tell us not to wash out plastics at all, just shake them out and put them in the bin. Turns out that Tierney's reference fails to back up his claim on this issue, although it could just be a matter of poor writing by Tierney.
The pro-recycling experts challenged the libertarians to think about how to handle the costs of trash. (And none of the anti-recyclers are actual solid waste experts, of course). There are more free-market ways to do it. Extended Producer Responsibility, saying the producer needs to figure out how to handle products after use but leaves it up to the producer to find the best way, is an example of outcome-based regulation, considered more free-market than standards-based regulation. Mangu-Ward would have none of it.
As for climate change, an adequate price for carbon (and adequate distribution of the proceeds from that price) would drop that issue from the recycling controversy. As long as we don't have it, then we need to use regulatory methods to address climate change.
So more rewarding than yesterday's glibertarian was something completely different I did today - my first volunteer day with Sunwork, a nonprofit using volunteers to do solar panel installations:
UPDATE: per William's comment below, I'd define a glibertarian as a non-homophobic conservative who can think rationally about drug laws. While that may be an improvement over standard-ssue conservative politics, the libertarianism is a fig leaf.