Archive for Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Solid Waste Task Force hears suggestions to encourage residents to recycle

June 8, 2011


The drumbeat for a larger — perhaps mandatory — curbside recycling program in Lawrence grew a bit louder Wednesday.

At a meeting hosted by the city’s Solid Waste Task Force, several members of the public asked the city-appointed group to consider ways to get residents to recycle in much greater quantities.

Even one of the owners of the six privately-owned curbside recycling companies in the city said he thought the city ultimately should provide curbside recycling services.

“If you have never seen someone shoot themselves in the foot, this is your opportunity,” Chris Scafe, owner of Sunflower Curbside Recycling told the group.

Scafe said the current system of where multiple private haulers provide service is inefficient because it is difficult for any one hauler to get enough density to cost-effectively pick up the recycled goods. He estimated that many of his customers were spaced about a half-mile apart.

“The inefficiency of the way we are doing it right now is costing us money,” Scafe said.

The Wednesday evening “public input session” attracted about 30 people but fewer than 10 speakers. A majority of them spoke about recycling issues.

Mayor Aron Cromwell said the task force will spend a lot of time on studying possible curbside recycling options, including the idea that all city residents must be required to pay for curbside recycling and would be provided with a special bin to collect material for recycling.

“One of the themes that keeps coming up is communities that are most successful with recycling have everybody do it,” Cromwell said. “Everybody would have two containers and you would have the choice of throwing that milk jug in the trash bin or the recycle bin. Most people will throw it in the recycle bin, especially if they know that they’re going to pay a higher fee if their trash bin is full.”

The issue of privatizing the city’s trash service also got some discussion. Jim Mullins, a field representative with Americans for Prosperity, urged the task force to give an honest appraisal of privatization.

“We need to build a business case to determine what is the best option for the citizens of Lawrence,” Mullins said.

The task force hopes to make its recommendations to the City Commission this fall. Commissioners will make any final decisions on whether to change the city’s trash service, which has been facing higher operating costs in recent years.


conservative 6 years, 9 months ago

Unless the city can do it for 4.95 a month they need to stay the heck out of it or not make it mandatory to use their service. Deffenbaugh charges that per month and about a third of the people on my street use their service.

Beth Ennis 6 years, 9 months ago

don't get too use to that price. We have talked to folks in other communities where Deffenbaugh moved in and after about a year or so they raise the price to a little bit more. Not a lot more mind you, maybe $10-$15 a month. However, maybe the city should turn over the trash removal to privitization also. Many large cities where I have lived have it all done by private industry. In Colorado Springs, you had about 4 different companies that you could choose from, which gave you options on pricing also. I'm not so sure the city can afford to continue to do it. They aren't making money on it. It may cost a little bit more to have Deffenbaugh or someone else pick up trash and recycling, but unfortunately, I don't see much of a way around this.

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

The city doesn't have to "make money" on the trash collection - it just has to break even.

pace 6 years, 9 months ago

Deffenbaugh is not a good company. I have worked with them on several projects over a period of 30 years, each time, it is too good to be true, that is because it wasn't. Bait and Switch should be their company motto. they like to get an exclusive offer then, well then they change tunes and deals. The city service has basically been good, it has had some poor management problems for the last decade but that has been rectified. there is an excellent infrastructure to build on. We need to have control over the service. I think initiating city wide curb side recycling will pay the community in the long term, it needs to be done. Stupid in how much material that could be used in manufacturing we are sending to an expensive burial.

ksjayhawk74 6 years, 9 months ago

I like to recycle my cans by keeping them in a separate bag and hanging the bag near the trash cans/dumpster. This is for the people that go looking through thrash for cans, they are very happy to take cans for free.

Adrienne Sanders 6 years, 9 months ago

One of my old landlords in CA called that "the Urban Recycling Program".

TheStonesSuck 6 years, 9 months ago

I've got some solid waste for ya, right heeyah.

tomatogrower 6 years, 9 months ago

They left out Chris Scafe's comment about keeping the recycling money in Lawrence. You may love Deffenbaugh's service, but if they would get the contract for the city, their rates would go up drastically. Also, your 4.95 goes to a Dutch company. Your money does not stay in the community or get spent here. I'm not even sure if they have hired local help, or send in their KC crews, so you are not even providing local jobs. So you may be happy in the short run, but it hurts in the long run. Of course, that's where most people are now. In the here and now, not thinking about the big picture.

Beth Ennis 6 years, 9 months ago

I agree tg. However, I'm not so sure the city should continue to do it if it is costing them money, which we all know it is. Maybe they can find someone other than Deffenbaugh's or can work out a deal to hire on most of our trash removal folks. To take over a city as big as Lawrence I'm guessing they would have to add trucks and drivers. Unfortunately, there wouldn't be 2 riders I'm guessing as they would force everyone to use the big polycarts on wheels (like you can rent from the city) and those trucks pick those up with a lift, so no 2nd/3rd person needed. I haven't paid that much attention though to Deffenbaugh trucks when I see them to know if they have more than the driver or not. Anyone else?

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

My concern is that the city trucks that would be used for the recycling pick-up are incredibly inefficient - they get about 3mpg. So all of the gas used offsets the environmental benefits of recycling to some degree.

Why not just implement a tiered charge system for trash - the more you have, the more you pay. That would encourage recycling - and there are plenty of places people can take it themselves, or they can use one of the private companies.

BigPrune 6 years, 9 months ago

I don't recycle and don't think I should be forced to recycle in this socialist haven. Since this is Lawrence, the control freakdom of Kansas, I see that coming.

tomatogrower 6 years, 9 months ago

Why don't you recycle? Is it a political statement? Do you not have children? Do you not care about their future? I suppose you could move to a little town out west. I think some of them still let people burn their trash. You realize that Lawrence is not the first city to require recycling, don't you?

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 9 months ago

It's a political statement. Recycling is something liberals do, so no matter how much sense, or cents, it makes, Prune can't do anything that a liberal might do.

Liberty275 6 years, 9 months ago

I don't "generally" recycle because it is an empty measure. As was noted before, the fuel burned by the trucks negates any positive environmental effects and really most things just aren't recyclable without making a ton of concessions on quality or appearance. Their are limited exceptions though. I sometimes recycle products that people will pay for. Not always, but sometimes. I figure if they can afford to give me even a pittance, they have probably found a way to recycle the material in at least a somewhat efficient way.

Recycling paper is really nothing more than paying to clear your conscious because products that use recycled paper are inferior and avoided by everyone except a very few that use it to make a statement. Also, even the recycling process at the plant creates pollution:

"Even paper recycling can be a source of pollution due to the sludge produced during deinking"

I don't hold it against people, but most recycling is just a silly waste of time.

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

If you take your own recycling to Wal-Mart, and combine that with activities you are already going to that part of town for, it's better.

I don't know where you get the idea that recycled products are less attractive or functional - I see lots of recycled plastic/paper/cardboard/etc. that seems perfectly fine to me.

You can get quite functional paper towels/tp made from recycled paper.

There is no free lunch, which is why real environmentalists put reducing our use at the top of the list - then reusing, and then recycling.

But, it's hard to compare the entire environmental costs of new production vs. recycling - I've yet to see a comprehensive comparison. It would have to include all of the costs of producing new materials, producing goods from them, all of the costs of getting recycled materials, producing good from them, etc.

A common sense fact is, of course, that it takes resources to find/get sources of raw materials and transport them just as it does to get recycled materials.

tomatogrower 6 years, 9 months ago

I was at the meeting, and a company in Wellsville would gladly take as much paper as they can get. Actually a lot of our paper goes to China, and we know how poorly they are doing economically.

Bob_Keeshan 6 years, 9 months ago

This is like saying you shouldn't be forced to dispose of your trash, maintain your yard, etc. Ridiculous.

Of course, decades ago there were folks like BigPrune who said Lawrence was a socialist haven because of mandatory trash service.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 9 months ago

If Prune had his way, every house in town would have it's own well and septic system, too.

Kate Rogge 6 years, 9 months ago

I agree with BigPrune on this matter. We don't recycle either and I don't think we should be forced to recycle.

Kontum1972 6 years, 9 months ago

prune if u hate it so much why don't u move?

is there a reason u stay here..if your so unhappy with Lawrence.....try tonganoxie

define socialism....?

Liberty275 6 years, 9 months ago

I don't know about prune, but we own a house and refuse to sell it while the market is so bad. When the housing market returns, I'd bet a lot of the people complaining about Lawrence will eagerly sell and leave. I know for certain we will.

I can deal with living in Moscow West a few more years to reap double the money on my house. Then we wait for the next hurricane to pound a Florida city into submission, drive into the city, buy 5 times the house we can afford for next to nothing from an owner scared witless by the hurricane he just survived.

On a side note: a few good storms would run the yankees out of Florida and make it suitable for decent people again.

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

Good luck with that plan.

Sounds like greed (wanting to double your money on your house), combined with more greed (getting 5 times the house you can afford), and finally with some rather unwise behavior (living with hurricanes).

But, hey, it's your life.

NewbieGardener 6 years, 9 months ago

Agreed. If you think Lawrence is a socialist haven, here's the door---->|

BigPrune 6 years, 9 months ago

Were any of you people born and raised in Lawrence? I bet none of you were. You're all outsiders. Lawrence is a control freakdom thanks to all the outsiders.

parrothead8 6 years, 9 months ago

Things change. You might as well get used to this idea. You should also get used to the idea that being born and raised somewhere doesn't give you any special privileges if you're outvoted.

pace 6 years, 9 months ago

What has changed is America quit recycling much of their material. We got used to throw away plastic and not taking the time to clean our camp sites. We give ourself excuses for being dirty, in life and in habit. Companies in Kansas make jobs and products out of recycled material. Energy and pollution is reduced by the use of recycled material. Maybe it is old fashioned but being responsible for what we do is an important part of character. The city should take the high road and the smart road of offering curbside recycling. I don't really care about the feeling of someone who wants attention for his feelings about how he does not to change how he puts out his trash. He is not very important. What is important is how our community is designed to accommodate people who do and to encourage commerce and responsible disposal.

beerbaron03 6 years, 9 months ago

they're going to make us recycle? what's next?...letting women drive?

JackMcKee 6 years, 9 months ago

Imagine that, a bunch of liberal ideologues that are so business stupid that they run money losing operations think that the rest of us should be forced to live just like they do. If you choose to recycle that's great, but in no way should we be forced to do so. In fact, studies have clearly shown that it is a waste of resources to recycle most items and it may, in fact, be worse for the environment to recycle many things. We have trash collection that takes care of the health risks of our garbage. If you want to get a warm fuzzy because you keep your cans separate from your cardboard go ahead and pay for your good feelings on your own. I will choose to not take advice from a bunch of poor businessmen with a massive liberal chip on their shoulders.

NewbieGardener 6 years, 9 months ago

Actually I don't think it will affect you, since they are proposing curbside recycling in the City of Lawrence. If you do live in the city (may the gods forbid), please consider joining your brethren in Olathe. I hear they worship big business there.

JackMcKee 6 years, 9 months ago

Exhibit A in why people hate liberalism.

gl0ck0wn3r 6 years, 9 months ago

I love it when people here get all smug and suggest people leave and compare Lawrence to Olathe as if Lawrence is still some economic powerhouse. Olathe may not be as "exciting" or "special" as Lawrence - however you want to define that - but Lawrence is in decline by almost any measure. Olathe is not.

gudpoynt 6 years, 9 months ago

Yeah, but in many ways, Olathe sucks. Lawrence doesn't.

I love it when right wingers think that economic prosperity is the single most important achievement for a community.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 9 months ago

"I will choose to not take advice from a bunch of poor businessmen with a massive liberal chip on their shoulders."

Sounds to me that it's you whi has the chip on his shoulder.

JackMcKee 6 years, 9 months ago

I tend to get that way when people try to tell me stupid ways to live my life.

just_another_bozo_on_this_bus 6 years, 9 months ago

I'd say you've already figured out how to live your life stupidly, and you just don't like it when someone calls you on it.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 9 months ago

I (heart) bozo when he/she/it gets all stern & judgemental & stuff.

Chris Scafe 6 years, 9 months ago

Mr. McGoo, I call you that because you seem short-sighted. Do you know the difference between finite and infinite? Do you know where our resources come from? They all come from this one planet and once they're used up, then our descendants will all be living in abject poverty. Have you noticed that fuel prices have gone up? Do you think that with our finite petroleum supply and our increasing population that those prices will stabilize? Do you know what most plastics are made from?

Did you know that if you sell a truckload of clear milk jugs all ground up you can get over a thousand dollars a ton for that material? If you take the same material and put it in our local landfill it costs $24.50 per ton? We're looking at a difference of $1084.50 per ton. Do you think that our gains from selling the material might offset some of our trash collection fees? Hmm, it's something to think about. Gee, what if your trash bill could actually go down? Would you still object so strenuously?

And what do you know about my business? I started Sunflower Curbside Recycling almost eight years ago and for the last five it has been the only source of income for my family. No trust fund and no abject poverty here. This business is all we have. None of us could keep pouring money into a money-losing business. I seriously where you could got such an idea. I hope you'll educate yourself on these matters because frankly, I don't have time to do it myself. I have a profitable business to run.

tomatogrower 6 years, 9 months ago

I see you, JackMcKee didn't volunteer to be on the task force. Whine, whine.

DRsmith 6 years, 9 months ago

Force people to pay extra for recycling and it will end up in the ditches instead. Great idea.

gl0ck0wn3r 6 years, 9 months ago

I suggest that awesome swamp south of town where the SLT should be. It's pretty easy to dump stuff while running errands.

JackMcKee 6 years, 9 months ago

“If you have never seen someone shoot themselves in the foot, this is your opportunity,” Chris Scafe, owner of Sunflower Curbside Recycling told the group.

Oh yea, Chris. I'm sure you are just sitting on a gold mine there. What a true humanitarian. He's willing to give up his money losing business so the city can force everyone to follow his political and environmental beliefs. How the heck can 6 different companies make enough money to pay for fuel to pick up recycling in this town? It does not make any financial sense. My guess is these people either live in abject poverty or they are trust fund babies. Either way, they aren't people whose advice I would ever seek.

del888 6 years, 9 months ago

Here's how other communities have such a high recycle rate: they make you pay a fine if you throw recycleables into the 'trash' container. That is, if you throw a plastic bottle into the trash can you pay a fine. I'm not saying that's the way to do it. I'm just saying that the way to 'force' people to do it.

JackMcKee 6 years, 9 months ago

So are we going to hire trash cops to search through everyone's garbage to make sure they aren't throwing away recyclables? Are you going to put me in trash jail if I don't have a set amount of aluminum cans every week? Will the trash inspector be by to check my garbage cans for any misplaced pieces of cardboard? I mean I've heard some stupid socialistic ideas before, but some of you are off your left rocking chairs if you think this is anything remotely close to a reasonable idea.

Godot 6 years, 9 months ago

"Task force hears suggestions to ENCOURAGE people to recycle."

Correct headline, "Task forces openly considering forcing people to pay to use curbside recycling service or pay fine."

Future headline will be, "City hires recycling administrator, will raise water/sewer rates by just pennies to cover $150,000 in salary and benefits."

JackMcKee 6 years, 9 months ago

Next on the agenda, to encourage use of bicycles and the T, you can only drive your car 15 miles per week on Lawrence streets.

heyheymama 6 years, 9 months ago

i'm inclined to agree with you jack, if only for the photo of my fav jeff bridges,,,its very unorganized and being treated as a "fringy" idea. there are other places that have a handle on this without having to disrupt our lives and have obviously developed business plans,etc. why don't "they" just make everything recyclable and we won't have to seperate trash.

Bob_Keeshan 6 years, 9 months ago

The real tragedy is the way the city forces us all to use the sewer system.

Once this recycling nonsense is beat back, the city needs to get rid of the onerous sewer requirement.

What business is it of the liberal socialist nazis what I do with my poo?

Bob_Keeshan 6 years, 9 months ago

Waste removal service is waste removal service. If I prefer an outhouse, it is none of you liberal socialist nazis' bidness.

I don't need no stinking recycling and I don't need no stinking sewer. Burnin trash and poopin in a hole works just fine, thank you very much you liberal socialist nazi.

JackMcKee 6 years, 9 months ago

You're not very good at this whole logic thing are you?

gudpoynt 6 years, 9 months ago

Why do you think recycling is such a bad idea, Jack?

tomatogrower 6 years, 9 months ago

And why are they forcing me to use clean city water. I should be able to drill a well.

JackMcKee 6 years, 9 months ago

My trash just got picked up cleanly, efficiently and without having a single item recycled. Not a single person would have ever known the difference.

tomatogrower 6 years, 9 months ago

And what is your solution when the landfill is too full and they don't pick up your trash anymore? Or do you care?

JackMcKee 6 years, 9 months ago

What are you going to do when frogs start to fly?

Douglas Garst 6 years, 9 months ago

Public or Private sector waste management - which is more efficient? Don't get caught in this trap because: 1) Overhead (personnel payroll & equipment maintenance) should not be more than 1% difference between public and private sector operations. 2) Landfill cost (purchase of land and environmental containment) should be the same cost. 3) The BIG DIFFERENCE - with public operations changes to operations that drive cost can be implemented immediately but with private operations changes to operations there is almost always cost increases because changes to the waste contract will result in increased cost and be passed along to the residents.

So how does one go about increasing recycling while reducing Overhead to the lowest possible cost? Very simple: 1) Institute a waste management operations where residents can pick their level of waste service. For example, if a resident (not a commercial business) does not desire to recycle then they pay a flat rate per 45 gal container for a weekly pickup. Set the price at $50 per month. For residents that want to recycle these residents are provided the following containers: one 120 gallon yard waste container for grass clippings and leaves, one 45 gallon container for recycle material, and one 30 gallon container for landfill waste matter. The yard waste and recycle material will be picked up every second and forth week and the landfill waste matter will be picked up every first and third week. The monthly cost would be $7.50.

Everyone will scream that this will require a new outlay of equipment and cost money NOW. But if the city is serious about waste management then no one should look at the near term cost but the long term benefit-cost ratio.

Lastly, private operations are no more effective than public operations because both private and public employ humans it is the Leadership that determines efficiency and lowest operating cost.

JackMcKee 6 years, 9 months ago

2 weeks is a long time for garbage to sit around.

Bob_Keeshan 6 years, 9 months ago

I remember when Lawrence started making me take my trash to the curb instead of piling it in my front yard. Then they started making me mow my yard, too.

This town was so much better before the liberal socialist nazis took over. I miss being able to have a squat over a hole in my yard. The grass was tall enough, nobody was ever the wiser.

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

My problem with the "anti-recyclers", who seem to generally be "anti-environmentalist" as well, is that their decisions affect the rest of us.

If they could just go somewhere and live the way they want, while only destroying their immediate environment, I'd say go for it, if that's what they want to do.

I'm not necessarily pro-city recycling programs, for a variety of reasons, but I'd like to see some tiered charges for trash collection, so that those who put out more trash pay more for the privilege of doing so.

JackMcKee 6 years, 9 months ago

Some of you need to read this. You've been brainwashed.

Eight Great Myths of Recycling

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

I skimmed that long piece.

Imagine my surprise when a "free market" proponent opposes mandatory city recycling.

I agree that use of city vehicles (which get terribly poor gas mileage) cuts into the environmental benefits of recycling, which is why I'm not in favor of that.

Much of the rest wasn't terribly convincing, and relied on analysis of the "market" to justify the claims made.

Done correctly, recycling (along with reducing and reusing items) is beneficial to the environment in a variety of ways, including reducing the need for landfills, reducing our use of energy and resources, etc.

Let's just charge folks more when they put out more trash, and let that "free market" force work.

Adrienne Sanders 6 years, 9 months ago

I wonder if they could do metal (steel & aluminum) and glass recycling only. Cans and glass are the two things that it really pays to recycle- they don't get "downcycled" into a lesser product (as does paper), or take more resources to recycle than are used in making new (like some plastics). The material really does get reused. If people feel like recycling other stuff they could do it themselves, but the city doing metal and glass would still cut down on what goes in the trash.

introspector 6 years, 9 months ago

its pretty cool to see people know this recycling thing is a lie... its actually BAD for the environment in most cases and its not cost effective in most cases either. If they mandate recycling aluminium and glass and the stuff that is worth the trouble to recycle though that will take the option for bums and poor people like myself to get paid when we dig them out of your trash right away... seriously... thats just a penny out of our pockets... I would be willing to do this if there were some incentive... like "after x amount of time all the money will be used to build x thing for the community" ya know?

Adrienne Sanders 6 years, 9 months ago

Well if you want the cans just come along on recycling day before the trucks pick them up. That's what happens in Chicago.

Flap Doodle 6 years, 9 months ago

Sneaking in a plug for your own website, Les?

George Lippencott 6 years, 9 months ago


  1. We can recycle without making it mandatory
  2. If we make it mandatory how do we enforce it. It is easy for private residences but almost impossible for large rental units.
  3. We can privitize some, none, all - our call
  4. We will pay one way or another.

Why all the aboslutes??? Nobdody, even LO, is talking about no taxes. Some people(me included, are talking about a lack of self discipline in raising taxes every year.

tbaker 6 years, 9 months ago

If recycling really did make good economic sense, we wouldn't have to force people to do it. Sense the materials being recycled aren't of sufficient value, it makes more sense to simply throw them away. A lot of people are repulsed by this reality because they have bought into the holy trinity argument from the environmental crowd that we are running out of valuable resources, it's bad to be a throw-away society, and landfills are harmful. Trouble is, the prices for raw materials compared to post-consumer (recycled) materials continue to fall or be more competitive, and recycling is not near as safe for the environment as people like to believe. When you take government subsidies out of the raw materials cost equation (agriculture, timber, mining, etc) recycling becomes an even more inefficient use of resources, aka tax money.

I'm not anti-recycling; I'm pro common sense.

tomatogrower 6 years, 9 months ago

"If recycling really did make good economic sense, we wouldn't have to force people to do it."

So money is your only concern? Can we put the next landfill in your back yard? Do you know the local landfill takes trash hauled in from the east coast? Why? They have no more room for it. Common sense would dicatate that you are willing to start digging a hole in your backyard.

tbaker 6 years, 9 months ago

If people want to recycle at their own expense, then let the market for that species of altruism provide them the facilities to do so. Otherwise, I don't want my tax dollars spent on something I'm already paying for - trash removal. If Land Fills were so darn tough to come by, the cost of trash removal would be much higher making recycling a much more viable course of action. As it is, we have an abundance of Land Fills making the cost of trash removal a much more attractive solution than recycling. Most people don't have the extra money laying around to engage in unnecessary activity simply because it makes another group of people feel good. By the way, the kind of intellectual fallacy you employed is called Appeal to Consequences of a Belief. Wise up.

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

  1. Many people recycle without being forced to.

  2. Money isn't the only issue.

If you removed government subsidies from the things you mentioned, then the cost of getting raw materials would rise (since we're not subsidizing it), making recycling more attractive, not less.

That would be a way to compare apples to apples.

tbaker 6 years, 9 months ago

The government subsidy comes from my tax dollar which means the raw material already has my money in the cost structure when the manufacturer buys it. If you stop subsidies and let the market set the price for raw materials, they get cheaper (why they are subsidized in the first place) and the end product no longer has my tax dollar in it.

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

That assumes that those providing the raw materials can provide them for the lower unsubsidized cost.

I'm not at all sure that's true.

But, I generally don't like subsidies.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 9 months ago

The trash service in Lawrence is excellent.

Let's not spoil that! Keep Lawrence jobs on the payroll and tax dollars in the community.

I am all for PAYT (pay as you throw) and private curbside recycling.

Pay As YOU Throw

  • Introduction

  • What is pay-as-you-throw?

  • Are there disadvantages to pay-as-you-throw?

George Lippencott 6 years, 9 months ago


If cost is the issue then whether you put it in the green container or the one with the yellow top it still counts as weight and it still has to be disposed of in some manner. If we only charge for material not in the yellow topped can then we would incentivize recycling but would increase overall costs.

The county we left had a large county run recycling facility. The million people who lived there were not enough to make it operate efficiently - we ended up taking trash from other communities – like New York

The big eastern cities are the ones generating more trash than they can accommodate. Rural Virginia was taking the trash until the commonwealth got involved and demanded more for the service. Now we are competitive here.

It will be almost forever before we run out of land in Kansas to use to dispose of trash.

monkeyhawk 6 years, 9 months ago

"Recycling? What A Waste.

.... However, recycling is a waste of time, money, and ever-scarce resources. What John Tierney wrote in the New York Times nearly 10 years ago is still true: "Recycling may be the most wasteful activity in modern America."

The Green's love for trees did not reduce the amount of wood used in construction; the reduction was simply a reaction to the increasing cost for wood products. Using less wood makes financial sense, and any entrepreneur worth his profit will change his recipe to conserve wood through better design or by substituting less dear materials for wood products.

So, what is wrong with recycling? The answer is simple; it does not pay. In addition, since it does not pay, it is an inefficient use of the time, money, and scarce resources. As Mises would have argued: let prices be your guide. Prices are essential to evaluate actions ex post. If the accounting of a near past event reveals a financial loss, the activity was a waste of both the entrepreneur's and society's scarce resources.

In other areas, such as my township, the garbage company profits at the mercy of the political class. The trustees in my township specified that in order to win the waste removal contract, the winning company had to provide recycling bins. Further, they have to send special trucks around to empty those neatly packed bins and deliver the bins' contents to companies that have no pressing need for these unraw materials. The recycling bins are ostensibly free, but in reality, their cost is bundled into my monthly waste removal bill.

Since there is no market for recyclable materials, at least no market price sufficient to return my investment in soap and water, not to mention time and labor, I conclude that there is no pressing need for recycling.

Human action guides resources toward the activities that meet the most pressing needs. This movement of resources means that those activities that do not meet pressing needs are relatively expensive. Why? Those activities have to bid for factors of production along with the profitable activities — activities that are meeting the most pressing needs. The profitable activities will drive the cost of those scarce factors upward leading to financial ruin for those activities that do not satisfy the most pressing needs. Forced recycling is such a failed activity."

Entire article here:

jafs 6 years, 9 months ago

Money is not the only consideration for all things, and whether or not something makes a profit.

If it were, charitable giving would never occur.

Also, it is very difficult, perhaps impossible, to quantify the destruction or preservation of our natural environment.

monkeyhawk 6 years, 9 months ago

BTW - I actually do recycle. It makes feel good and also makes feel like a sucker.

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