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[GreenYes] Re: More Re: Dubner's interview on Good Morning America


Title: [GreenYes] Re: More Re: Dubner's interview on Good Morning America


Mr. Freakonomics interview was a real head shaker.  His argument is
that it is not good to recycle an item if people don't pay you for
it.  It's true that the higher the value of a product, the more
destruction of natural resources will occur absent recycling (like the
aluminum can), and it makes sense prioritize recycling decisions based
on value.  But if you listen to him and put the newspaper in the
garbage (instead), who will steal the bag of garbage, brainiac?  "It
costs money to ride the subway, so I should not ride the subway unless
someone would pay me to."  Postulating that not doing something is the
end of the equation...?  What kind of economics is that?  There is a
cost to NOT recycling newspaper - trash collection, and faster
depletion of the natural resources.  You have to imagine the absence
of an action (like mining being the result of not recycling lead acid
batteries) in order to weigh the action.

I'm going to put his book on my lawn tonight and see if anyone takes
it.

Stephan, I agree there are "numerous instances where it does make
sense and numerous instances where it doesn't".  That's true of
everything, you would not save a drowning man if there is only room in
your boat for him or a drowning child.  Recycling economics are
affected by 1) raw material subsidies 2) future value of unharvested
resources (conservation is a "savings rate") and 3) participation
rate/ capture rate of the program.

Depressing participation in an existing program never makes sense
(driving empty recycling trucks past homes who heard it was bad to
recycle).  Telling people they are smarter if they put only cans in
their blue box (and not as smart if they include the newsprint) is
reckless.

When people keep talking about the environmental costs of the (2nd)
recycling truck, we need to show film like this http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2--nyXHQy4s
- (logging truck).  You have to replace the newspapers you don't
collect with cellulose from even less environmentally friendly
trucks.   Then say "visualize fewer recycling trucks, and producing
the paper instead from these trucks".

Robin Ingenthron www.wr3a.org




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