Editorial: Rights, Responsibilities and Consequences...

Editorial: Rights, Responsibilities and Consequences...

We all have rights. We all have responsibilities. If we don’t fulfill our responsibilities, there are consequences.

You have the right to sell tires in Saskatchewan. If you do, then you have the responsibility to participate in a program to recycle those tires at the end of their lives. If you choose not to participate in the tire recycling program, you can be fined or end up in jail. [Picture the inter-prisoner talk, “So, what are you in for?” “Tire recycling fraud.” “Huh?”]

You have the right to sell many other products in Saskatchewan. While (in my view) you have the responsibility to have a plan for what happens to those products after their useful life is over, few producers choose to fulfill their responsibilities in this area.

You also have the right to buy any products. As the purchaser, you have a responsibility to handle the “after-life” of those products in a way that is as environmentally benign as possible. Not all products have good “after-life” programs. In that case, you might want to seriously consider exercising your right NOT to purchase the particular product.

One of the consequences of you as a consumer not handling your products in a responsible way is to shift the responsibility on to the rest of us (taxpayers). We (governments) have to pay people to pick up litter, to run landfills and otherwise clean up our messes. This is often the case for businesses who don’t take responsibility for their products or for the environmental damage they’ve caused in their operations. Taxpayers end up paying for clean-up (if any clean-up happens).

But if you want to know the real consequences of all this shirking of responsibility...ask your grandchildren.