Letters: recycling is the option of last resort

It’s a delusion that by putting mountains of packaging in the recycling bin our profligate lifestyle is somehow neutralised

It’s about time people began to call out carbon offsetting for what it is (“If only saving the planet were as easy as planting a tree before speeding off in our SUVs”, Comment). But if we’re going to take issue with flight redemption initiatives, then we need to also call out the carbon offsetting delusion that is recycling, which promotes the notion that simply by putting mountains of packaging in the recycling bin and then paying someone else to deal with it, the slop of our profligate lifestyle is somehow neutralised.

Our recourse to the bottomless pit that is the recycling bin has encouraged us to be less responsible shoppers and disposers of waste than ever, and facilitated the unchecked explosion of the use of plastic packaging. It would be bad news even if the waste were actually being recycled, but we now know that much of it isn’t; it is simply being transported to lands far, far away or ending up in our oceans.

The time has come to rethink our approach to recycling: it has to be a last-ditch option, not a get-out card. There is only one way out of the climate crisis and that’s for us all to try to use less carbon in the first place, and to put pressure on companies to do the same.
Jane Tidbury
Brittany, France

How to halt drug violence

Your article on the killing of a young boy notes that “illegal drugs markets are… a ‘golden thread’ running through many accounts of violence in London and elsewhere” (“The long path to Jaden Moodie’s murder”, Viewpoint).

Correct. You fail to add that the reason for this immense violence is prohibition. Prohibition gives criminal gangs control of the estimated $425bn that the drugs trade generates worldwide every year. Drug money, not drugs per se, is the issue. No one, from the cartels in Mexico to county lines gangs in Britain, is involved in violent crime over drugs, but over the vast money to be made through the trade. The only way to control the money is through legalisation. Until drugs are legalised and regulated, with strict quality and sales controls, similar to those applied for alcohol, such criminality will continue.

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