There’s a difficulty with most so-called economic behaviour in the world: it pays attention only to the first price tag, and rarely to the second. The first price tag is the sticker at the store. The second price tag is the cost of operation and maintenance. Then, there’s also the third – the price you don’t pay, but someone else does. It’s called an externality, and there’s a lot of that going on, and it usually falls to government to pay it – or no one at all.
Truly economic behaviour would consider all prices, including these externalities. For these, a mitigation fee could be paid. I’m going to talk about this now, but first, admire this rubber coaster:
In Quebec, we pay the Electronic Waste fee when we buy electronics (such as an iPad). We also pay an environmental tax when we buy tires – at $3 per tire. Then, when you want to scrap your tires, you can bring them to any garage that does tire service, no questions asked. They go to a recycling plant. They used to be stockpiled – a good thing to do when recycling technology hasn’t kept pace with the supply – but then, someone accidentally set some ablaze in the early 1990’s. That kicked recycling into high gear! Last summer, Quebec announced that the last stockpiled tires from its various dumps have now all been recycled.
Now I’m going to bring this post back home, so to speak.
When you buy a home, it’s good to consider all the costs. After the purchase price, you first have to pay the mortgage and condo fees; second: annual tax; third and fourth: annual insurance and energy bills; fifth: initial repairs/renovations; sixth: excise/land transfer/”bienvenue” tax and other closing/selling costs. When I was shopping for a home, I created a spreadsheet to track these, along with square footage and features. It helped me consider the value of what I was looking at purchasing.