Re: [GRRN] Youth Attitudes

William P. McGowan (
Thu, 8 Apr 1999 12:48:26 -0700 (PDT)

I hate to disagree with Peter, but self-actualization did not overcome
economics to make everyone want to recycle in the 1970s and 1980s.
Recycling mandated by state and local governments certainly helped, but
where the market forces did not work, recycling failed. THis is why we
had an upsurge in recycling in 1970s and again at the end of 1980s.
Unfortunately, all that hype ran up against the problem of market

I am trained in economic history, and one of the things we do is look
past the rehtoric of the period studied and look at the actual economics.
I am sure if we look into the economic history of recycling since rachel
Carson, we will find that the economics looked increasingly favorable to
firms like Weyerhaueser (or however you spell it) investing millions in
recycled fiber divisions in the 1970s and 1980s.

Sure, people may start recycling as a move towards elf-actualization,
but people KEEP recycling because it makes good economic sense. Where it
doesn't, recycling rates fall.

Bill McGowan
Rincon Recycling