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[GreenYes] Glass, apples, oranges
Regarding the question of how to compare apples, oranges, kiwis, etc, one of
the hopes and promises of environmental valuation is to convert all those
apples and oranges and other fruity metaphors into a common term. Does it
work? Could it ever work? I don't know. Pigou thought so, saying that in
order to make the market place work, we ought to add the cost of the
externalites into the price of goods and services. And this has been a
rallying cry of environmentalists since at least the late 1960's, to
"internalize the externalities". 

But theory may be easier than practice. For example, one European study says
that the environmental cost of a gram of mercury released to the environment
is about $15. Assuming that this is correct (it seems low to me, given what
we know of the polluting potential of mercury in lakes and streams), would
it make sense to put a fee of $15 on each gram of mercury sold, and then use
this money to pay rebates for mercury that is turned in?

And, even if it would make sense, is it politically and administratively
"doable" in the US? Modified systems to implement this are in place in

Our state is looking at ways to improve the efficiency of its recycling
program. One thing that they are wrestling with is how to give additional
credit for the recovery of items that would provide higher environmental

This discussion is very worthwhile to me and I hope that it continues.

John Reindl, Recycling Manager
Dane County, Wisconsin 

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Steen, Terri - Contractor []
> Sent: Wednesday, March 13, 2002 2:58 PM
> To:; 'Reindl, John'
> Subject: RE: [GreenYes] Should we do glass curbside
> Excellent questions (as always from John).  One big problem 
> with assigning value(s) to recycling is all the alternative materials and
methods --
> apples, oranges, kiwis, and on and on.

> -----Original Message-----
> From: Reindl, John []
> Sent: Wednesday, March 13, 2002 2:49 PM
> Cc:
> Subject: [GreenYes] Should we do glass curbside
> <snip>
> Is there a better use for the money and time we have available to spend on
> recycling? Could we focus on other materials or devise other  ways to
> the materials that we now handle? How do I come up with a value for
> recycling and compare alternative materials and methods?
> John Reindl, Recycling Manager
> Dane County. 
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