Recycling in the Antarctic State

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Recycling in the Antarctic State is mandated and otherwise guided by a number of national laws covering all cities and military bases within the country. The AS government is aggressive in their recycling efforts, in that they heavily encourage the general population to supply the government with nearly all waste products both small and large and all in between, for extensive recycling efforts. Emphasis is placed on metals and glass.

Perhaps most commonly encountered by the general public, are laws passed by the Department of Justice that have established tax-like monetary deposits on purchasing glass, plastic, and metal beverage containers such as bottles, jugs, and cans; and the same laws have also established receptacles to return these containers to in order for citizens to have these deposits refunded to them as a reward for returning the recyclable material.

Other laws include the mandatory separation of trash all into different bins for metals, plastics, and papers, then the rest may legally be put into a miscellaneous bin. Fines are readily imposed upon civilians and companies alike who are found to violate recycling and littering legislation. Manufacturers are legally required to label all recyclable products with the proper material they should be separated in waste bins as, printed in clearly readable text or symbols. In the context of beverage containers, manufacturers are also legally required to clearly print upon the item, an indication that a particular container may be redeemed for reimbursement.

The AS government — especially the Department of Resource Management — is known to completely strip decommissioned or otherwise trashed items of their precious materials, and then dismantle the husk that is left into more common materials, altogether for reusage efforts. A grand example of this is when the government gains hold of an abandoned/totaled car or similarly sized equipment; how it will often disappear into its constituent raw materials in a matter of a few days, with very little if any unrecoverable waste being left behind. The government is also known to completely disassemble its own decommissioned vehicles and other equipment in order to ensure that no usable materiel gets left behind.

National Legislation

National laws regarding recycling, littering, and similar waste problems that are passed by the Department of Justice are mostly influenced by the Department of Resource Management, and to a lesser extent, the Department of Civilian Affairs as well. Cyberia is, in some impressions, overbearing in its implementations of recycling legislation, in that there are a plethora of laws dictating how domestic rubbish must be handled and disposed of, and the punishments charged for disobeying what may or may not be considered a petty offense are arguably incongruent. It is a somewhat common belief that the Antarctic State Government is so ambitious about recycling not because it is concerned for its environment, but because it is concerned with reclaiming all material that it can in order to keep its stockpiles up for military use.

Trash Sorting

Symbol for metals
Symbol for plastics 
Symbol for glass
Symbol for paper

All people of the population of the Antarctic State are legally required to sort their household waste into a few specific categories of trash upon discardment. Civilians and military personnel alike must sort their trash into the categories of papers (cardboard, shredded documents, mail), plastics (milk jugs, juice bottles, bags), glass (broken windows, cups, windshields), and metals (cans, pipes, gun parts).

Manufacturers of household products are legally required to label applicable items with their appropriate recycling symbol conspicuously on the items themselves, or at the very least, their packaging. This is done to assist the general public in easy sorting of their household trash.

By law, apartment complexes and store complexes can expect to be provided with aesthetically differing communal dumpsters labeled with the proper type of trash the public is allowed to dump into them. Residential neighborhoods are provided with specific recycling bins for each home for trash sorting, and usually must procure their own miscellaneous bin(s) for the rest of the waste they throw away. There are also made available convenience trash/recycle bins dotted all about cities and military bases in places where the general public congregates; such as malls, subways, school/college campuses, etc. Being caught dumping trash into the wrong receptacles is often socially taboo if not an offense punishable via fines, if caught by police.

Special Waste Guidelines

In addition to trash sorting, the AS government also heavily encourages the general public to treat certain kinds of special trash differently than other waste. This includes hazardous waste such as acids and flammable liquids; very large and/or heavy items such as appliances, televisions, and cars; and also electronics such as computer parts and peripherals.

There are two ways an individual may discard of these specially focused-upon trash types. On one hand, a person may opt to personally transport and hand the waste over to an authorized receiver, with or without compensation. On the other hand, a person may request the government or a separate entity to pickup the special trash for them, with or without a fee being paid. Such special waste will often go ignored by the more common, unequipped garbage collectors if simply left out by the general population without arrangements having been made. If dumped illegally, attempts will be made to determine who perpetrated the illegal dumping and a fine is often imposed.

Container Deposits

Container-deposit legislation is prevalent in the Antarctic State. Refillable and non-refillable beverage containers, including but not limited to soda cups/bottles/cans, milk jugs, and wine bottles, are "taxed" in such a way that encourages the general public to directly return the empty items to receptacles for a refund equal to that initial deposit paid beyond the price of the product itself. The monetary refund value that is placed on the container is legally required to be present in clear text and/or symbols on the containers themselves.

The refund value a container is worth varies depending on the material used and how much of it was used, which often positively correlates with the volume of the container. For example, 8 fl oz (237 mL) glass soda bottles may be worth about as much as 12 fl oz (355 mL) metal soda cans in deposit and refund values, simply due to there being a greater amount of glass used in the bottles' construction in comparison to the cans'. It is entirely possible for the deposit-refund values to change, usually in accordance with increased government demand, however the deposit and refund values will always be the identical to each other at times of purchase.

In most, if not all population centers, there is commonly encountered government-owned automated stands to return beverage containers that are labeled for reimbursement on what deposit was paid beyond their retail price. These receptacles are stands often known as "reverse vending machines", as the general public is expected to insert empty beverage containers and receive money in return. Reverse vending machines take the UPC via omnidirectional scanner, and match the code to a database of verified products eligible for deposit-refund. Furthermore, the dimensions and material of inserted items is also scanned, to circumvent UPC fraud. Returns to users can be made in the form of physical cash or digital deposit.

While deposit and refund values are always congruent, the actual value given to beverage containers is not constant, as they are subject to adjustment by the Department of Resource Management depending on many factors relevant to the supply of government resources and the demand for them as well. By law, the general population is entitled to a minimum of six months prior notice before adjustments to deposit-refund values are fully implemented. The deposit-refund value tends to hover around 50 ARD.

Littering

It is unlawful to deliberately place or negligently leave trash in any public or private property that is not the act of placing trash in the proper receptacle such as a dumpster or trash can. Certain areas within cities are often designated by signage to be high-fine areas in regards to a person being caught littering or illegally dumping. These high-fine areas tend to be places inside and surrounding government buildings, parks, and residential neighborhoods. On the lower end, the minimum fine in these areas tends to hover around 100,000 ARD. Outside of cities, the minimum fine for violating littering and other dumping laws is known to be even higher.

Violations of Recycling Legislation

Failing to place trash into the proper segregated receptacles is legally considered equal to littering proper. Violations of recycling legislation carry with them fines whose amount depends on an array of factors such as location, material littered, amount littered, and criminal history. Fines for violations are most often income-based with a minimum amount declared. This means that a person found guilty of littering will be charged a minimum fine, and if the person makes more than a specifically formulated amount, then an additional fine whose amount positively correlates with the person's annual income will be introduced on top of the minimum.

Surveillance and facial recognition play a large role in spotting and identifying those who engage in illegal dumping. Contrary to popular belief, it is reliably possible to track down who tends to place the wrong type of trash into bins in the context of collection from houses and apartments, however it is only cost effective when it is done in the pursuit of a recurrent offenders.

Government Reprocessing

A much simplified representation of the routes that recyclable waste takes.

The Departments of Resource Management (DRM) and Civilian Affairs (DCA) assist one another in varying degrees in the collection, transportation, and processing of recyclables and some other special domestic wastes. The DCA often operates or otherwise subsidizes garbage collecting services and sites with help from the DRM for the general population to use on a daily basis.

Most, if not all citizens, enjoy regular collections of their unwanted items via specially designed trucks,who then funnel the collected waste into local junkyards. Organized junkyards for garbage from houses and companies alike, are the first major holding point for domestic trash. It is here where the refuse is further sorted by automated processes. It is also often here where unrecyclable waste is incinerated. That which can be reliably recycled, is cleaned up and shipped to the DRM headquarters in Concorde CMB, in the City of Koorif by land and by air.

The theoretically ideal cycle for the use of material continuously practiced as the end goal of the DoRM.

Within Concorde is where the bulk of dismantling is done, where solid recyclable items are stripped completely of their precious metals and other common materials. This way, stocks of bulk clean scrap are organized and prepared for melting and/or impurity extraction via furnaces, in a process not unlike raw ore processing. Melted scrap metals, glasses, and plastics both are lastly formed into their respective ingots and pellets before they are then stored with the rest of the material inventory of the state. Papers (including cardboard), oils, rubber items (including tires), and others, all have their own specialized processes for cleaning, dismantling, refining, and/or purification. Government recycling efforts, despite their aggressiveness, have been shown to do well in keeping the recycling rate the highest on a global scale, annually exceeding 80% of domestic consumer products being recycled, with the rest being incinerated for heating and/or power.

While it is acknowledged that a 100% adherence to a completely ideal recycling regimen is not feasible, it is an end goal that the Resource Management department continuously pursues.

Decommissioned Equipment Processes

Whenever a vehicle or other piece of equipment nears the end of its service life, say due to an excessive accumulation of miles or rounds fired, it is most often transported to the Department of Defense, where it is then disassembled into its bare constituent parts. Some of these parts are kept by the Research & Development Division of the DOD for inspection, however most of the parts are sent off to the Department of Resource Management to be reprocessed into raw materials for reuse in mass production or other projects down the line.

It is for this reason that surplus/decommissioned military equipment is either not readily available for purchase by civilians, or is sold at a high price compared to other countries' surplus/decommissioned items. Items that are available for purchase have their prices set at a small markup above what it would costs to recycle their components.