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Re: [GreenYes] Re: Recycling Glass
On 13 Mar 2002 at 17:09, Jeff Morris wrote:
 It's at the heart of the "markets can solve 
> any problem" versus the "markets tell you the price 
> but not the value" debate. The answer is surely in 
> between, but not anywhere close to the "markets can 
> solve any problem" answer you get by just comparing 
> waste management system internalized costs for 
> recycling versus disposal of glass. 
> > 
> But nevertheless we are not paying the real costs of 
> our management methods. And the place where we 
> really ignore that cost is upstream from our 
> consumption and disposal habits -- the ecosystems 
> where we externalize the costs of acquiring virgin 
> raw materials and refining them into manufacturing 
> feedstocks to replace the product discards that we 
> throw away.
> I thought this was all obvious, but Doug is a smart 
> guy and yet I hear him totaling missing the point 
> here, so it bears laying out at some length. 
> Bundling recycling costs into garbage collection 
> rates looks like a cross subsidy from the point of 
> view of short-run, bottom-line internalized costs. 
> But it looks like internalizing otherwise 
> externalized costs of virgin resource acquisition 
> from the point of view of all the costs both 
> internal and external that flow from waste 
> management decisions. 
> That's what life cycle analysis keeps throwing in 
> our faces - HEY FOLKS! WAKE UP! Your missing the 
> really big cost issues here and concentrating on the 
> minutia. Sure collecting glass causes some 
> difficulties that we wish would go away. But not 
> collecting glass curbside means we force that really 
> big ecological and public health cost onto those 
> (current and future, human and non-human) who live 
> around that glass sand mine and fossil fuel well 
> that both need to be bigger to produce the extra 
> fuel it takes to turn sand and soda ash and calcium 
> carbonate into a glass container versus making that 
> container from recycled glass. And the concentric 
> ripples of that additional mining and fuel well 
> drilling spread out beyond the immediate 
> neighborhood of the mines and wells to add an 
> additional butden of pollution to the air and water, 
> eventually driving up health and welfare costs 
> across the entire ecosystem and then the planet.
> So, NO, I don't think we're cross-subsidizing, nor 
> is this analysis I'm describing uncomprehensive. The 
> point is the market doesn't send the correct price 
> signals and those who only look at market prices and 
> costs will get the wrong answer (from a long-term 
> societal point of view) every time in making 
> resource management choices.

Well said - the only cross subsidisation that is taking place is a perverse subsidy - the 
competing materials (plastics, mainly) are hugely subsidised worldwide - if all the 
external costs were internalised, then glass would be a winner by amile, I am sure..

It is VERY important to begin to understand that only "cradle to cradle" production / 
consumption is sustainable - nothing else will fit the definition...

Some people who know better than I worked out that the price of petrol (your 
gasoline) should be about 14 times what it is today, and the price of a car about 10 
times more than what it is currently, if one looks at true cost - unfortunately, I 
neglected to keep the article, so I cannot provide the source - but it does make 
sense, yes?

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