Response to Tierney reprint in Raleigh News & Observer
Fri, 22 Jan 1999 16:22:15 -0500

TO: The People's Forum, Raleigh News & Observer
FROM: David Kirkpatrick, KirkWorks
DATE: July 9, 1996
RE: "Trashing Assumptions" article, Sunday, July 7 N&O Insight section

I was disappointed to see you reprint the recycling-bashing article from the
New York Times last Sunday. The article mistakenly assumes that if we have
large, "cheap" landfills, there is no reason to recycle or reduce waste. As
citizens have known for generations, especially in tight resource times such
as World War II, the primary advantage of recycling is to provide raw
materials for manufacturing industries, thus conserving natural resources
and energy, reducing pollution, creating jobs, and increasing efficiency.

New landfill designs more effectively entomb wastes, but cannot assure that
toxics do not eventually seep into groundwater. Even with new designs,
landfills are devilishly hard to site, as evidenced currently in Orange and
Durham counties. Several cities nationally, such as Seattle, have shown
that recycling and waste reduction can be cheaper than conventional garbage
collection and landfill disposal -- if conveniently targeted to a wide
variety of materials and combined with pay-as-you-throw garbage fees.

The majority of Americans support recycling for common sense reasons -
"waste not, want not" - they know that burying perfectly useable cans,
bottles, papers, or leaves cannot make good sense. If sometimes it is
cheaper to send these materials to the landfill, it is just another example
of market failure in which mining, timbering, petroleum, and landfill
subsidies make it cheaper to do the wrong thing. Our challenge is not to
give up on recycling, but to level the market playing field, allowing
recycling, composting and waste reduction to be even more cost-effective.
good works for the good earth

Post Office Box 15062
Durham, NC 27704-0062

919/220-8065 (Voice)
919/220-9720 (Fax)

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