Re: [GRRN] Values-Driven Recycling

William P. McGowan (
Sun, 11 Apr 1999 11:22:05 -0700 (PDT)

Back to the self actualization thing.....

Both Peter and Gary Liss mention newsprint minimim content legislation as
key to the increase in de-inking capacity in the late 1980s and early
1990s., yet they both seem to have the cart before the horse, since
market demand preceded legislation. the zoom up in newsprint prices in
1984-85 and 1986 all preceded any attempts to legislate minimum content.
I know, I was just getting into the recycling business then.

The mention of legislation driving market demand also fails to adress the
inevitable lag between legislation and its impact on the economy. Most
economists agree that anything the government does today will be felt in
the economy 12 to 18 months later. So even if minimum content laws passed
at about the same time the market peaked, their impact would not have
been felt for another year or so.

I agree with Peter that the thing we must use to drive recycling is not
artificial front end things like garbage rates, but the more widepsread
problem of allowing waste generators to esternalize the cost of waste.
While we have gone a long way towards improving that through environmental
legiuslation, subsidies for virgin materials and other corporate welfare
seems to be a more logical target.

gary's solutiuon is less preferable simply because it is so
regressive--hurting the poor the most.

Bill McGowan
Rincon REcycling