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Re: [GreenYes] Tierney on Recycling
Thoughts on getting viable recycling plant projects funded.... redirect some
of the energies in fighting the good fight, as you say Joseph, into changing
the economic underpinnings of the whole cost-of-recycling/reusing v.
cost-of-landfilling/incinerating debate. I'm sorry I only have but a moment
to make a reference and not an explanation, but I think that many of the
suggestions that Paul Hawkins puts forth in The Ecology of Commerce are very
applicable. We need to find a way to restructuring the system of taxation,
fees, subsidies, etc. so that the market for dealing with discarded
materials creates incentives for investing in R&D, investing in new and
economically efficient technologies, and investing in any innovative,
financially and environmentally sustainable alternatives to the current
Garbage Mafia.

How do we get new recycling plant projects funded? Make sure that recycling
makes better business sense than landfilling.

How do we do that? THAT, to me, is the real fight, and requires the skills
of lobbyists, politicians, businesspeople, environmental and social
activists, engineers, investors, scientists, and the "laypeople" (aka
consumers) who purchase products and discard the packaging and products once
they are no longer immediately useful.

I'd like to hear what efforts, successes and not-so-successes are going on
out there to address the economics of recycling beyond the more familiar
things like bottle bills.

My two cents in a billion-dollar conversation.... ;)

Valerie Carey
Recycling Program Manager
San Francisco Conservation Corps

on 2/20/02 7:19 PM, JOSEPH K MALTESE at wrote:

> Although I agree with the arguments in principal, I don't believe that we
> can ever gain consensus on the cost issues.  The failure of recycling
> programs to meet their early promise continues to raise it's ugly head -
> CRRA is now charging communities $20/ton to BURN recyclable material that
> they once burned for free because ENRON promised to pay for the energy
> produced.
> With the "economics" involved in the put or pay contracts and promised
> return on investment for energy sales, I expect CRRA never made any efforts
> to profitably recycle the recyclable material.
> One of the groups I've been consulting with has been trying to build a 100%
> OMG/ONP recycle plant locally (in the heart of a geographical area
> generating up to 50% of the countries OMG/ONP) and can't get anywhere.  We
> keep getting reminded of failed recycle facilities - either real or
> imagined.  The publishers can get virgin newsprint cheaper, with better
> quality, and more reliably.  So we continue to encourage people to separate
> and recycle only to have failed in the promise of doing something good and
> positive with the materials generated by their efforts.  Sometimes it is
> very discouraging to try to fight the good fight.
> Sorry for the opinion - but I could use some help.  If we can't get viable
> recycle plant projects funded, landfills may in fact be cheaper than
> recycling!  Any thoughts, encouragement, commiseration, reply, would be
> appreciated.
> Ken Maltese
> Maltese & Associates
> 203-387-2011
> ----- 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
> more
>> 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
> it
>> 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
> material
>> 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
> of
>> what Tierney writes probably don't read newspapers anyway.  The best way
> to
>> counter what Mr. Tierney has to say is to find out what the City of New
> York
>> 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
> recycling.
>> John Waddell
>> KJWB Publications/Refuse News
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