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[GreenYes] Recycling nay sayers
In response to recycling nay sayers.  I have yet to see an article
knocking recycling that has credible data. Not from the Reasons
Institute, not from SWANA, not from the New York Times and not from Stephen
Porter. (See the point by point refutation of these pseudo scientists by
Brenda Platt on ILSR's web page (, Waste to Wealth section.)

With regard to NYC, the answer to their current budget crisis is...
more investment in recycling. Objective analysis shows that a
professional recycling program with proper investment and oversight by
city and community activists will LOWER the cost of getting rid of
materials in that city. This was true BEFORE Staten Island landfill
closed. See the most comprehensive study of NYC data by Arthur Krell of
NYPIRG. The report is a few years old, but is the best thing ever done.
The methodology is sound. It clearly shows that recycling costs are
going down and disposal costs are going up. Then the landfill closed and
the picture for recycling became even more obvious.

NYC knows this, which is why I guess there has not been a cost analysis
that compares recycling and disposal from the city. If there is one
please forward. I would like to see it.

The news about the MTSs is both good and bad. Good because the MTS are
democratically sited in each burrough; although the one in the Bronx will
probably not be reopened. The bad news is that these facilities and land
around them that is available should be the basis for the shipment of
recycled materials not just garbage. ILSR has completed a scenario for
this investment and redirection of the MTSs. (See our web page, 
Waste to Wealth section.)

Finally, economics are clouded by politics. The Mayor wants to cut
recycling to save perhaps $50 million. But if Staten Island landfill
were reopened, the city would save close to $250 million; depending upon
final cost of long distance transfer of waste, including new transfer
terminals. The reopening of the landfill is politically impossible for
the Mayor as that burrough gave him (and Guilliani before him) the
margin of victory over the Democrats.

The answer is not to reopen the landfill; that would be grossly unfair
to the long suffering citizens of Staten Island. The answer is to make
the cuts in recycling politically unacceptable and force the politicians
to follow the economics. Recycling is cheaper than disposal; even in
NYC, and even at union wage and benefit scales.
Neil Seldman

Institute for Local Self-Reliance
2425 18th Street, NW
Washington, DC 20009
(202) 232-4108
(202) 332-0463 [fax]
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