[GRRN] Variances

RecycleWorlds (anderson@msn.fullfeed.com)
Wed, 30 Jun 1999 09:15:04 -0500

Rick Anthony and Janet Matthews have had an exchange concerning whether it
is a good idea to temporarily stop collection of those materials which, due
to transient poor markets, become uneconomic to recycle from time to time,
with Janet suggesting that it is not a good idea to mandate continued
collection of materials during their severe down markets.

There are two problems with this. In a static sense, applied literally,
that could be used to eliminate all recycling, especially since the numbers
are so hard to nail down and reluctant localities could always produce
numbers to support such a result.

In a dynamic sense, there are several problems with this. For one thing,
residents are unable to adjust to in-and-out materials. Attempting this
tact with effectively undermine overall participation and send the program
into a irreversible decline. But, for another and more important,
recycling suffers from a chicken and egg problem: i.e. which is going to
have to show its face first, the supply of the recyclable material or the
markets for it. The reality is that the major investments in e.g. deinking
capacity are not going to be made if investors do not believe society is
serious about recycling. And mandates are the proven way to do that.

The best answer in my view is to push the structures of each material --
including the product design and recycled content components, along with
R&D on innovative high end uses -- so that the long term economics make

Peter Anderson
RecycleWorlds Consulting
4513 Vernon Blvd. Ste. 15
Madison, WI 53705-4964
Phone:(608) 231-1100/Fax: (608) 233-0011