Re: greenyes-d Digest V99 #195

Janet Matthews (
Tue, 29 Jun 1999 13:59:40 -0400

re: rick's question below, in 1988, when the law requiring municipal
recycling in new york state was developed, this path was not taken,
because, in effect, it would have required municipalities to recycle
state-designated materials no matter what the cost. markets fluctuate, as
we all know; wildly sometimes, as we all know. so, the '88 law established
a definition for "economic markets," which said that munis had to recycle
materials for which they had economic markets. (In legal lingo " . . . the
term economic markets refers to instances in which the full avoided costs
of proper collection, transportation and disposal of source separated
materials are equal to or greater than the cost of collection,
transportation and sale of said material, less the amount received from
sale of said material.") in plainspeak, if it costs more to pick up and
process newsprint (less the sale price) than it does to landfill or burn
it, a nys muni can choose to suspend recycling of that material as long as
there's no economic market.

in reality, most munis keep processing/marketing the same basic list of
recyclables (ONP, OCC, PET, HDPE, steel cans, clear glass) no matter what
the market fluctuations. private sector haulers, on the other hand, are
more likely to trash recyclables if it's not cost-effective.

i realize some people would argue that the recycling of certain materials
should be required no matter what the market conditions. i personally
don't think a "damn the economics" approach is good for recycling in the
long run, or taxpayers for that matter.

janet matthews
nys legislative commission on solid waste management

> Why couldn't a State designate certain recyclables for separation and
> separate collection and prohibit them from landfill disposal?
> Rick Anthony
> San Diego CA
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> End of greenyes-d Digest V99 Issue #195
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