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RE: [GreenYes] Tierney on Recycling
How many tons of A) paper, B) trash, and C) containers are collected? And,
what do these costs per ton include?  Any externalities?
At a savings of $70 / ton, there must be 800,000 pounds of containers
collected annually (or is that every 18 months?) in order for the shift from
C) containers to B) trash to reach $56 million saved.  

Even if 320,000 pounds (40%) is contamination, that still leaves 480,000
pounds, or 240 tons of MGP currently in the recycling stream.  Does anyone
know how much of that is metal vs. glass vs. plastic?  Could that amount be
separated to increase the value of each component?  

We get about 35 cents/pound, or $700 / ton, for loose, flattened UBCs.
Granted, our prices for glass and plastic are essentially 0.  But NY is a
different market and should be closer to recyclers or end-users.  Same
argument goes for paper - would separating news from mixed and/or white
increase the overall value?

I know you can't get blood from a stone - and it may be that the economics
of the program really don't add up.  But before you export another 800,000
pounds of trash to MY state, I'd like to help you come up with a better

Terri (in Virginia)

 -----Original Message-----
From: 	Steve Hammer [] 
Sent:	Wednesday, February 20, 2002 10:54 AM
Subject:	Re: [GreenYes] Tierney on Recycling

In the Mayor's recent budget address, he cited the dramatic difference in
pricing as the very reason why he is proposing to suspend the
metal/glass/plastic (MGP) program and retain the paper recycling program:

Cost of collecting and recycling mixed paper:  $90/ton
Cost of collecting and landfilling trash:  $130/ton
Cost of collecting and recycling MGP:  $200+/ton

By suspending the MGP program for 18 mos, the mayor anticipates we can save
$56 million.

He also cited a very high residue rate (40%) for MGP as further evidence
that the current program isn't working well.

The crux of the debate is this:  given New York's projected budget shortfall
next year ($4 billion?), should the City maintain a program that is not cost
effective (and will likely not be cost effective in the near term)?

Many of us are doing our best to point out ways to salvage/improve the
program, but it will be a tough sell given that libraries, programs for
homeless, etc. are also being wacked.

Steve Hammer

----- Original Message -----
From: <>
To: <>
Sent: Wednesday, February 20, 2002 9:46 AM
Subject: [GreenYes] Tierney on Recycling

> Can we educate John Tierney on recycling?  Nah.  Can we muzzle Tierney's
> anti-recycling diatribes?  Nah--freedom of the press and all that.  Can we
> counter Tierney's arguments?  Sure we can and not with stale sayings like
> "more people recycle than vote" because more people do most everything
> than vote (that's why we have the politicians that we have).  Instead, the
> environmental community should call for a suspension of the expensive
> practice of landfilling.  How much does landfilling cost New Yorkers?  Is
> more expensive than recycling?  Do we moan about transportation costs and
> storage costs and labor costs associated with the laborous act of throwing
> away and storing throwaways before the trash man comes and takes the
> away to live with Jesus?  If not, we should!
> I'm reasonably sure that most knowledgeable New Yorkers will read John
> Tierney's opinion piece and shrug.  Those who would stop recycling because
> what Tierney writes probably don't read newspapers anyway.  The best way
> counter what Mr. Tierney has to say is to find out what the City of New
> pays to landfill vs. what it pays to recycle.  I'm sure the Mayor's office
> has these figures handy.  Bet me landfilling costs dwarf those of
> John Waddell
> KJWB Publications/Refuse News

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