March 3, 2011

"Walker proposed ending state-mandated community recycling, which was signed into law by Gov. Tommy Thompson in 1990, as well as elimination of the grants that help local governments pay for recycling."

Good! Right? If recycling is worth doing, it should be paying for itself without a state government subsidy, or, if not, let local communities decide if they want to cough up the money to do it anyway. It's time for decentralization, efficiency, realism... not fluffy-headed idealism. Saving money is the morality we need, not posing as good people by doing something if it actually makes no sense. I'm for pragmatism, not narcissism.
[George Dreckmann, Madison's recycling coordinator,] said it costs nearly $6 million to run the city's recycling programs and Madison receives about $1.1 million from a state recycling grant. He sees few other ways to replace the money other than cutting back the recycling program. One possibility, he said, might be to no longer recycle glass, which is expensive to process. 
Exactly. Do that. Why should the state waste money incentivizing something that shouldn't be done? Why should Madison folk get to stoke their feeling of self-goodness with money from non-Madison Wisconsin?

210 comments:

1 – 200 of 210   Newer›   Newest»
Dose of Sanity said...

Perhaps because of the other externalities that carry along with recycling?

I'm sure it's CHEAPER to pollute, but long-term that becomes an issue to people who like the environment. (which is all of us).

Ending the recycling program is damn near insane. What about the increased landfill costs as a result? What about encouraging higher-efficiency, lower cost methods?

TosaGuy said...

The cruel thing would have been if the governor yanked the money and kept the mandate.

Some cities will continue to recycle and others will not. It's their choice and isn't choice a good thing?

Henry said...

Saving money is the morality we need, not posing as good people by doing something if it actually makes no sense.

But that means changing the curriculum. It's just like Walker to create more work for the public school teachers.

TosaGuy said...

Dose

I am not familiar with harmful runoff from glass. Please enlighten me.

Fen said...

We can't afford the Indulgence of recycling.

TosaGuy said...

higher efficiency and lower costs in recycling can be gained by having city recycling employees pay for some of their health care and pensions, as well as removing their ability for them to bargain for the ability to only handle green glass on thursdays.

AJ Lynch said...

My God Althouse- your blasphemy might lead to mass suicides by the tree hugging libruls! [Please let Garage go first].

On a serious note, didn't Insty have a story that someone invented biodegradeable plastic bottles but the recycling industry snuffed his idea out?

Michael said...

It may be different in Wisconsin but I believe most recycling programs are net polluters. You have the special trucks running all the time picking up the recycled materials. You have the hot water rinsing out the bottles. You have the elevators in elevatored buildings running up and down to put out the trash and retrieve the container. And on and on. In my opinion it is an elaborate make work and feel good activity that does nothing to save the environement. Originally sold to us as something that would be free, that might even make money. See also green energy.

PaulV said...

Dose, if resources used to recycle pollute more than it saves, why do it? Just as dumb as using food for gas when food prices are soaring and people riot for lack of food.

WV: fards
Should women fard when driving?

Scott M said...

I'm for pragmatism, not narcissism.

Elegantly encapsulating the best argument against most liberal policies in one simple statement.

PROGRESSIVE IDEAS: SO GOOD, THEY HAVE TO BE MANDATORY!!

I'm a Shaaaaark said...

ZOMG! BIG GOVERNMENT! POWER GRAB! WALKER IS A DICTATOR!!!!!11!!!!

/GarageMode

Ann Althouse said...

A landfill isn't pollution unless it's built wrong. And the recycling facilities use energy and can themselves be pollution. Trucking the recyclables around can be more wasteful that collecting everything together and getting them into the ground (which could be carbon-sequestering). I'm just asking people to be scientific and rational, not faith-based.

PaulV said...

Recycling is a religion. Government supported religions are barred by First Amendment

Paddy O said...

"long-term that becomes an issue to people who like the environment."

"state-mandated" recycling is being ended, but this doesn't mean people can't recycle.

I'm confused why ending a government program is made equivalent to ending the whole practice. If there is such an ethos for recycling, keep doing it on your own.

This brings to mind two problems.

One is that it seems that by including the government as part of a solution, there has come to increasingly see the government as the only source of the solution. The idea that if the government doesn't mandate there's no action is problematic.

Second, why should this particular bit of morality be dictated by the law and not others?

And I say this as someone who heartily believes in recycling. But, I don't think that the government should be in the business of paying for recycling when each one of us could, and should, be doing it on our own.

AprilApple said...

The dirty little secret about re-cycling is that much of it, if it cannot be sold, ends up in the landfill anyway.

Re-cycling is a good idea, but it has to be cost effective and the recycled material must have a buyer.
I recycle anyway, voluntarily.
But I know most of it ends up as organized garbage.

Dose of Sanity said...

Dose

I am not familiar with harmful runoff from glass. Please enlighten me.


Glass takes up space which it will now occupy in landfills, this increases the cost to prevent landfill runoff (bigger volume to prevent).

Also, we have to use up resources to create new glass.

And glass isn't the only thing that's not going to be recycled. I'm sure plastics are much worse.

Henry said...

@Dose - Landfills are actually very effective ways to dispose of garbage. They really are. They are safe and efficient in the short- and long-term.

In Rhode Island the biggest problem we have with waste disposal is that the state subsidizes city waste collection. Individuals have no incentive to cut down on waste creation.

If you want to reduce waste creation then you need to make people pay for their own garbage removal. Make them pay per bag. Don't subsidize garbage removal that doesn't work.

Pogo said...

Walker just made baby Gaia cry.

bagoh20 said...

Althouse, you're beautiful when your wise, and you seem to be wiser every day, and you started out pretty hot, er wise.

God-dammed Meade sequestering all the hot carbon.

Henry said...

What this country really needs is a high-speed rail system that runs on spoiled milk and soiled diapers. And that's why we need more progressives in power. QED.

Scott M said...

God-dammed Meade sequestering all the hot carbon.

Hysterical. Well-crafted, sir.

lasckbounce said...

Just an fyi:There is a BMW plant down south that is powered by the methane produced from a landfill operation

SteveR said...

Glass recycling in nearly all cases is unjustified, even by the standards of what is justified. From sand you were made and to sand you will return.

Michael said...

Henry has a point but I would suggest that we are already paying for garbage removal. Perhaps we could be rewarded by having our taxes cut if we cut down on the amount of waste that had to be hauled off. I doubt the garbage workers union is down with this idea or the idea that "community" recycling is halted.

traditionalguy said...

All of this new imposition of rational standards of efficiency are really another attempt to cut the entitlements of useless government jobs. These jobs programs are needed to regulate behaviors that government has to first falsely accuse of being Dirty. GROW THE GOVERNMENT to create jobs is the Dems motto.

Superdad said...

Most glass containers are reusable. If you are concerned about filling landfills keep you jars and reuse them. You can even use pickle jars for canning veggies (why is it called canning if you use jars?).

But as to the benefits of recycling I call Bullshit:
http://www.milkandcookies.com/link/92358/detail/

Dose of Sanity said...

A landfill isn't pollution unless it's built wrong. And the recycling facilities use energy and can themselves be pollution. Trucking the recyclables around can be more wasteful that collecting everything together and getting them into the ground (which could be carbon-sequestering). I'm just asking people to be scientific and rational, not faith-based.

Landfills always cause pollution. It's absolutely a fallacy to say they aren't.

The "externalities" cost listed for recycling (i.e. it takes energy to recycle, the trucks emit gas) is a strange argument.

Do we not use gas to pick it up as trash or as recycling? (If so, that's a wash. Can't use that either way)

As far as the cost of the recycling facility - don't the production facilities also generate costs? Again, it's a wash. Even if its not - don't we save on resources, landfill space and other damaging effects to the environment?

I mean - it seems strange to rephrase the argument in this manner. I don't understand why anyone is against recycling.

peter hoh said...

How about taking the same approach to ethanol subsidies?

Dose of Sanity said...

@Dose - Landfills are actually very effective ways to dispose of garbage. They really are. They are safe and efficient in the short- and long-term.

In Rhode Island the biggest problem we have with waste disposal is that the state subsidizes city waste collection. Individuals have no incentive to cut down on waste creation.

If you want to reduce waste creation then you need to make people pay for their own garbage removal. Make them pay per bag. Don't subsidize garbage removal that doesn't work.


I can support that, but we'd need to account for "illegal" waste then. (Increase of dumping since people couldnt afford to dispose of garbage)

Henry said...

@Michael -- I'm sure the costs and plans are different in different states and cities.

In some of the less urban areas of Rhode Island individuals have to contract directly with the trash removers. One hauler may handle a whole street or neighborhood and the contract is between private parties. But once the layer of government subsidy and indirect payment goes away, people have an incentive not to waste.

AJ Lynch said...

Peter:
I agree with that and I oppose most forms of corporate pork.

garage mahal said...

Next up banning sharia law and a mandatory daily pledge of allegiance to protoplasms for all Wisconsin schoolchildren.

We're broke!

Paddy O said...

"I don't understand why anyone is against recycling."

This is it in stark terms.

"Against state run recycling" is made equivalent to "against recycling".

That's either a massive logical fallacy or a cheap rhetorical ploy.

By ending this, will Walker actively prevent people from recycling?

If you want to keep recycling, you can. People should. The state shouldn't pay for it.

TWM said...

If you do some research on recycling you will find that in many instances it is actually MORE harmful to the environment in that it produces quite a bit of hazardous waste during the transformation from garbage to useful product again. Add in the fact that it is far more expensive than it is worth usually, and that we have plenty of available space for environmentally safe landfills, and one can see that recycling is about as big a sham as global warming and organic farming.

Maguro said...

Here is why most recycling is bullshit: The best proxy for overall "resources consumed" that we have is price. Therefore, if something costs more to recycle than it does to produce new - like a glass bottle - then you are probably consuming more resources to recycle it than you are to make a new one. Which is bad for the environment. QED.

I'm a Shaaaaark said...

I don't understand why anyone is against recycling.

I'm not against recycling. I'm against government-mandated and government-subsidized recycling.

SteveR said...

BTW Dose, you really need to get your information somewhere besides the flyer they hand out to 8th graders. Modern landfills are quite environmentally safe.

rhhardin said...

How do you tell a resource from garbage?

Somebody will pay you for a resource.

Mike Munger on recycling is good.

(The Munger podcasts are excellent, favoring the older ones though. Economists run out of comic material.)

Dose of Sanity said...

"Against state run recycling" is made equivalent to "against recycling".

I'm sorry, not trying to make that leap there. What I'm saying is that the state does indeed have a stake in recycling (as pollution/environmental issues doesn't often respect political demarcations.) Thus, the state gains benefits from a city's pollution control.

@Glass should not be recycled. If that's truly the case, I can support looking at that in particular. I'll yield to logic, every time. @The "its already reusuable", i think most recycled glass is already broken? It's easier to sell as a raw material? I'm not sure.

peter hoh said...

Steve, as long as they aren't in your backyard, right?

nichole said...

Tourism does pay for itself, and yet that industry got a $15m subsidy.

Dose of Sanity said...

BTW Dose, you really need to get your information somewhere besides the flyer they hand out to 8th graders. Modern landfills are quite environmentally safe.

I was under the impression that long term they all will degrade and leak.

As always, I'll stick by my motto (I can be, and often am, wrong) . I did a quick google search though...it's from a higher education facility though, so it's probably crap. At least it's not 8th grade crap.
http://www.iun.edu/~environw/landfills.html

Fred4Pres said...

“It was for me academic like everything else,” he said.

He told his grandparents about the class.

“My grandma was like, wow, Northwestern is a little bit different then when I went there,” he said.

TWM said...

"Steve, as long as they aren't in your backyard, right?"

Zoning restrictions make that pretty much a non-issue, however, modern landfills are ultimately over-filled with layers of clean dirt and then sod and can't even be seen.

bagoh20 said...

I saw analysis once that showed that all the waste The U.S. produces for the next 300 years could be land filled in an area the size of a small town. And there is no problem with modern landfills. They are safe, reliable, can be built on or made into parks; and they generate a continuous supply of methane gas that can be used for energy.

As someone who was educated in environmental science and deals with the EPA constantly, I can tell you that facts and ideology are constantly at war in the area. In some ways it has improved as the ideological have seen their sacred cows butchered by emerging facts, but the default position is to accept incomplete science, use it to regulate and later find the incorrect assumptions too ingrained to reverse. Thus recycling lives, controls, costs and pollutes.

Environmental controls have been pretty successful, while also very expensive in terms of domestic jobs, but mistakes are hard to reverse in the industry and government where people are often handsomely rewarded for installing huge programs or pushing wrong ideas even when they are disastrous.

Fred4Pres said...

Opps, wrong thread.

Henry said...

@Dose -- People dump now, within the city of Providence. The City had the bright idea of issuing every household a City-owned garbage can. Residents also have to purchase green and blue recycling bins.

No one follows the rules.

By pushing this plan, the city simultaneously increased recycling (for no good reason) while increasing the amount of litter. People with too much garbage leave it out and it doesn't get picked up.

Much of the information I have on the landfill and private garbage collection comes from a lecture by Sierra Club which, at least here, understands perverse incentives when they seem them.

Pogo said...

For all except metal, recycling is just another facade in the Potemkin village of liberal virtues.

Original Mike said...

I hope this causes them to drop the idea of a 3rd container for food waste. People with 1 car garages don't have room for the containers they alreay have. When does it end?

James said...

Just an fyi:There is a BMW plant down south that is powered by the methane produced from a landfill operation

Right here in Racine, WI.... S.C. Johnson's Waxdale manufacturing facility is powered mostly by methane gas from the Racine landfill.

Comrade X said...

you're right pogo. in my neighborhood, the homeless do the valuable recycling and the city employees do the useless recycling.

Pogo said...

"When does it end?"

With containers for humans, who produce "too much waste", so the source must be stopped.

Praise be unto Gaia.

Freder Frederson said...

A landfill isn't pollution unless it's built wrong. And the recycling facilities use energy and can themselves be pollution. Trucking the recyclables around can be more wasteful that collecting everything together and getting them into the ground (which could be carbon-sequestering). I'm just asking people to be scientific and rational, not faith-based.

And you base your "scientific and rational" opinion on what? You obviously know very little about either landfilling or recycling, yet you are certain that landfilling is preferable to recycling based apparently nothing more than reading a few right wing websites that ignore a lot of the complex issues inherent in the whole issue.

Bruce Hayden said...

Paddy O hit it - the issue is not recycling, but rather whether and to the extent that it should be financed by the state of Wisconsin.

Dose can whine all he wants about this, but if it is really all that important to him, then he should be willing to drive up and down the street picking up recycling trash on his own dime.

Again, it comes down to the fact that the state pot is only so big, and out of it, a bunch of different things have to be financed, including part of K-12 education, contributions to the university system, the state police, parks, recreation, Medicaid, etc. And, so, maybe the better question as to whether to maintain this state support for recycling is whether it is worthwhile trading for a couple more kids in every class across the state.

I'm a Shaaaaark said...

When does it end?

When either everything is mandated by the government to be made out of post-consumer recycled materials, thereby driving up the cost of everything (with the poor hardest hit, of course) OR government mandates drive up the cost of garbage collection to the point people start burning/burying garbage in their backyards thereby contaminating ground water at a level landfills can only dream of.

Dose of Sanity said...

@ Henry - Of course people dump now. Increase the cost of legal collection, and the dumping will increase. That's all I meant.

You are increasing the incentive to not follow the rules.

Irene said...

Politicians opposed to Walker also will turn the proposal to end mandated recycling as a move to eliminate jobs and "hurt Wisconsin families."

Here, for example, at 2:14, Brett Husley bemoans the loss of "funding for vital local programs like recycling, that are gonna cost thousands of more jobs."

Dose of Sanity said...

@ Bruce

Wow. Worst argument here, so far.

As far as the "pot-so-big" argument, that's very misleading. You can pick something like "children" as a reason to cut spending for everything.

We COULD build more highways, but then more children starve. Blah blah.

It's ignoring the issues.

Scott M said...

How about taking the same approach to ethanol subsidies?

If you mean former leftist heavy-hitters like Gore and Clinton finally admitting it's bad, as well as grumblings from the UN to declare it a crime against humanity, I agree.

I've heard friends from other countries say the same thing about the U.S. that I myself have said about rich celebrities. You gotta be ridiculously wealthy to be that crazy.

Only we're not...anymore.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

IF recycling is a good thing, and I think it can be, then privatizing the process is the correct way to go.

Running the recycling business with expensive government employees is insane.

When a business can run the operation efficiently and make a profit, they will do it.

If the government makes recycling mandatory and the costs/fees to the consumer are too high, people will just throw their recyclables into the trash anyway or dump their trash in the rural areas.

Also just think about the pollution from those damned mandatory mercury laden light bulbs that are probably also going to be put into landfills.

Everytime the Government gets involved things get totally FUBAR
Privatize it.

bagoh20 said...

For the fun version watch Penn & Teller's "Bullshit" show on recycling.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zzLebC0mjCQ

Funny stuff.

You will either feel relieved, angry, or embarrassed afterward.

Recycling is one of the most ubiquitous beliefs the western species holds. I used to be a big proponent myself. I no longer believe, but I still can't stop doing it. I'm sorry. I'm just weak.

knox said...

garage, seriously, you are downright reactionary. Anything that threatens or even questions the status-quo and you go nuts.

garage mahal said...

And you base your "scientific and rational" opinion on what?

Because she is lazy and liberals are for recycling.

Chef Mojo said...

Glass recycling is a joke. Where I live, it was quite a scandal when it was found that all the glass was being crushed, and instead of being recycled, it was used for "road paving material". At the local dump. They couldn't sell the stuff, so they were dumping it after spending all the money and resources to process it for shipping, which would have cost even more in money and resources had it not been dumped.

As for the rest? Have you actually used 100% post recycled toilet paper? Talk about chapping your ass...

Bruce Hayden said...

Here, for example, at 2:14, Brett Husley bemoans the loss of "funding for vital local programs like recycling, that are gonna cost thousands of more jobs."

Don't you just love how the left seems to actually believe that the government can actually create net jobs by hiring a bunch of people and giving them higher than market wages with much higher than private sector benefits?

WV: hyped - what the left does with recycling

roesch-voltaire said...

You might look at the paper buy Vernon L.Smith, entitled:Dynamics of Waste Accumulation:Disposal Versus Recycling, to consider the full economic picture. They point out in decentralized competitive system no market exists to reflect the true social costs of public pollution and disposal. One could also add that space for landfills is not endless, and threfore recycling must be done. Here at the UW, after a student did a study which proved it was cheaper to recycle waste food from dorms and the student union, we have started to do so. And There is an attempt to establish a national packaging disposal charge that reflects the ultimate costs of disposal including toxicity, and the likelyhood that such packaging will be, reused, or recycled into the economy. A short sighted approach does not leave much room for the future results.

Freder Frederson said...

Glass recycling is a joke. Where I live, it was quite a scandal when it was found that all the glass was being crushed, and instead of being recycled, it was used for "road paving material".

Use as road paving material is recycling. I don't see what the problem is.

SteveR said...

Peter, its a non issue. Landfills, as part of being evironmentally "friendly" can't be put just anywhere. No need to make an issue when none exists. I actually live less than a mile from a landfill, one that takes vegatative wastes and concrete wastes. This is 2011 not 1952.

Henry said...

You are increasing the incentive to not follow the rules.

True, to a point. Right now the rules limit people to one can and they litter the rest. Alternatively, you can subsidize collection (as in the city of Pawtucket where I live) and people have no reason to reduce.

At least the private contract (which could easily be city-facilitated to handle dense populations) creates a clear connection between waste and cost. You waste more, you pay for it. You know how much you pay for the second bag, and it probably isn't all that much.

Everything is transparent.

knox said...

As to recycling, it's one of those things that intuitively-- and quite deceptively-- seems to make sense. It's hard to believe that reusing materials is more expensive (and taxing to the environment!) than crafting new material from scratch.

But, there it is. We need to at least be willing to accept that it might be, and that we need to either limit what we recycle or consider stopping altogether.

EDH said...

If they don't pass a budget and lay off state workers, how long before you see a protest sign or hear a protest chant having to do with Walker recycling "Koch cans"?

Don't Tread 2012 said...

@bagoh

Thats funny right there.

Penn and Teller usually get it right.

I think recycling should be voluntary, not mandated by individual townships. Recycling is a net loss. I have nothing against it, but if it can't make it in the free market (i.e. someone can make it profitable) then it shouldn't be taken on by governments.

Net losses cost someone money.

I'm a Shaaaaark said...

Don't you just love how the left seems to actually believe that the government can actually create net jobs by hiring a bunch of people and giving them higher than market wages with much higher than private sector benefits?

Of course, because the 'Government can solve every problem' types know that unlike private businesses, government agencies don't have to worry about silly little things like 'not wasting money' and 'making a profit' or 'balancing the books' or 'answering to the shareholders', and 'making things more efficient' and 'spending wisely' etc.

As far as the government 'business', the taxpayers are the 'shareholders', and we want accountability, but some types don't want us to have it. We're supposed to just sit down, shut up, and do as we're told.

A private sector business running like that would go under quicker'n shit, but government? Just raise taxes.

peter hoh said...

If something is worth doing, it should be paying for itself without a government subsidy.

I like that principle.

What we have instead is a system in which both sides back certain subsidies while bashing others.

Ethanol has managed to gain support from both parties while raising food prices for everyone. Clever people, those ethanol con artists.

Meanwhile, in other subsidy news, the House voted along party lines to preserve subsidies for big oil companies.

Michael said...

This article debunking the efficacy of recycling appeared in the NYT so it must be true.

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=990CE1DF1339F933A05755C0A960958260

Bruce Hayden said...

Wow. Worst argument here, so far.

As far as the "pot-so-big" argument, that's very misleading. You can pick something like "children" as a reason to cut spending for everything.

We COULD build more highways, but then more children starve. Blah blah.

It's ignoring the issues
.

Let's see if I understand your logic. This portion of the budget is chopped because there isn't enough money to do everything that the government used to do. I comment that the state has to prioritize its expenditures. And your response seems to be that, no, all these things are so good that they don't, and that we shouldn't talk money and priorities here.

Or, were you trying to make a different point?

I'm a Shaaaaark said...

Meanwhile, in other subsidy news, the House voted along party lines to preserve subsidies for big oil companies.

On the flip side, how many government mandates, regulations, and 'requirements' (such as changing gas formulas a few times a year, not allowing new refineries to be built, etc...) cost the oil companies probably more than the government subsidies, so...

Michael said...

Peter Hoh: You are supposed to have big oil in caps like this: Big Oil. Also good if you can get in that the Republicans voted in "lockstep." Both techniques add authority to an otherwise silly post.

bagoh20 said...

"after a student did a study which proved "

and you a professor!

As a student, I saw many and even did such studies. I know how it works. The outcome is usually predetermined and most work involves getting around or ignoring "inconvenient truth". I bet there is a student study "proving" pigs can fly.

It pretty hard for people in the environmental sciences to be truly objective. We usually are in it due to an emotional dedication to certain ideas. It's hard to overcome.

Chef Mojo said...

Use as road paving material is recycling. I don't see what the problem is.

I should have been clearer. They were claiming to use it as "road paving material," when in fact, all they were doing was dumping the material, spreading it out and leaving it at the dump. They were supposed to sell the crush and turn a profit on it. At least that's what we were told in order to encourage glass recycling. Nobody really bothers now.

BTW, it's extremely expensive to process glass to the point that it can be used as silica for road and building construction, thus pricing it out of use; sand is way cheaper. Costs a lot to transport, too. Much cheaper to rough crush and landfill it. A lot more honest as well.

Bob Ellison said...

The "It was for me academic like everything else" quote reminds me of a brief conversation I had with a music theory professor once. I asked him whether, if he could know everything and all theory there was to know about a particular piece of music, he could understand why it was beautiful. He said, "Yes."

Bruce Hayden said...

Of course, because the 'Government can solve every problem' types know that unlike private businesses, government agencies don't have to worry about silly little things like 'not wasting money' and 'making a profit' or 'balancing the books' or 'answering to the shareholders', and 'making things more efficient' and 'spending wisely' etc.

Thanks. I forgot to mention that not only are government employees typically better paid, with much better benefits, but they are also typically much more inefficient.

But, somehow, hiring more of them is supposed to increase net employment.

Fred4Pres said...

recycling is a pain and a waste of time.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

Here is a good paper written by a professor from Clemson, it contains historical perspective and calls into question the wisdom of recycling:

http://www.perc.org/pdf/ps28.pdf

Dust Bunny Queen said...

I get the sense that this issue, recycling has an Urban/Rural split in viewpoint and in the ability of the program to be run by the government in an efficent/cost effective manner.

In an Urban setting a mandatory recycling program might pencil out. In a Rural area or more remote Sub-Urban area....not so much.

We have NO recycling programs in our area. No government garbage service. The closest place to recycle is a private company about 80 miles away. Yet. Many people do make some effort to recycle. The local 4H clubs collect aluminum cans and glass for semi annual treck to the recyling company. It is quite a fund raiser for them.

Freder Frederson said...

Privatize it.

You do realize that many solid waste landfills are owned by municipalities or local governments, don't you? If we privatized all the landfills and collection (again a lot is either directly collected by local government or contracted through local government), it would be much more expensive.

Why should garbage collection be the job of the government. If you want to get rid of your garbage, you should have to pay for the full cost of disposal.

David said...

Dose of Sanity, please think. Your argument proceeds from a fundamental fallacy.

Waste that is not recycled is not necessarily a pollutant. Recycling is costly, both financially and in terms of energy consumption. Some materials, like certain types of plastic, steel, aluminum, copper even certain nuclear materials, can be recycled profitably.

Refuse that can not be profitably recycled can be disposed of without polluting. The "shortage" of landfills is largely a political phenomenon, not a physical limitation. It makes no sense to subsidize unprofitable recycling. Perhaps that tax money could better be spent on other social needs, like schools.

Every dollar spent on a foolish or unprofitable venture is a dollar not available for another purpose, whether that be a government program or a tax reduction for citizens.

HT said...

The only up side I can see to this is that since the economy isn't what it was, perhaps people are buying fewer big things like electronics which are problematic to dispose of. Maybe people are buying less in general. The disposal cost of items really should be built into the price of them, and for things that do not break down, either we should not be making those or else we should have to figure out how to reuse them ourselves. Recycling is the second best and worst thing. Best is reusing. Worst is throwing something away.

But this display of glee is just more partisan posturing which is unhelpful.

Chef Mojo said...

@bagoh20:

I bet there is a student study "proving" pigs can fly.

Well, pigs can fly! Just load a hog onto a catapult and let 'er rip! The problem is slowing their decent enough to get them to land without becoming a pork puddle on the concrete.

This is what is known as liberal engineering.

Rep said...

Dose says: As far as the cost of the recycling facility - don't the production facilities also generate costs? Again, it's a wash. Even if its not - don't we save on resources, landfill space and other damaging effects to the environment?

You really don't get it, do you? "Even if it costs more, it still uses less resources"... Really? Well, at least we know you weren't an econ major.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

If we privatized all the landfills and collection (again a lot is either directly collected by local government or contracted through local government), it would be much more expensive.

Not necessarily. Government costs are always more than private companies.

Why should garbage collection be the job of the government. If you want to get rid of your garbage, you should have to pay for the full cost of disposal.

Agreed. We do.

SGT Ted said...

I have a recycling bin from the city garbage company that is divided in two: one side for containers, one side for paper.

Every week the recycling truck comes by and dumps the whole can into its container, which is not divided.

This is what is wrong with recycling in a nutshell.

Henry said...

Freder wrote: Why should garbage collection be the job of the government. If you want to get rid of your garbage, you should have to pay for the full cost of disposal.

That's what I've been pointing out throughout this thread.

bagoh20 said...

Be honest, even if you knew recycling was wasteful and polluting, would you be able to stop doing it - to put that can or bottle in the wrong receptacle on purpose? It's powerful training started with those years of youth with the crying Indian and all.

Freder Frederson said...

We have NO recycling programs in our area. No government garbage service.

Really? Your garbage service isn't subsidized by the county, state or feds. How much do you pay per year for garbage disposal. How far is it from your house to the landfill? Cause I bet you would be shocked how much the tipping and haulage fee would be if you were actually footing the entire bill, especially in California.

AllenS said...

I recycle everything, sort of. I burn all of the stuff that will burn, and have garbage cans that I put glass and tins cans in, and one for plastics. Magazines and paper that I don't burn, goes into a large bag. The county recycling place is in St. Croix Falls. Across the road from a Menards which gives me an opportunity to stop and buy yet another tool. I do this because I don't want to pay someone to pick my stuff up. Over the years, I've probably saved $5,000. Or more.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Really? Your garbage service isn't subsidized by the county, state or feds.

Private contractor picks up my garbage and recycling. I have to pay extra for recycling.

Richard Dolan said...

"Good! Right?"

It's a question of deciding what measure of 'rightness' to apply. Efficiency if the frame of reference is economic; something else if the frame of reference is non-economic. Dose begins the thread by mentioning 'externalities,' which accepts the economic framework for analyzing the issue. But you have the feeling that there's something else in play for Dose.

Recycling as an exercise in resource allocation (including resources like landfills not directly in the production/use chain) is like wind/solar power. It's a nice idea but the numbers don't add up. A lot of the imagined externalities are nothing of the sort -- the cost of using a landfill, for example, is rarely pegged by the landfill operator at zero.

What attacts people to recycling is not the efficiency argument but instead the human habit of seeing (and seeking) spiritual values in the world around us. There is nothing wrong with that, and it may even be worth the cost. But being clear about what's going on is critical.

AprilApple said...

Oil subsidies - the truth:
http://www.taxfoundation.org/research/show/26851.html

Earth Girl said...

I am a tree hugger but prefer the term conservationist. Of the mantra, reduce, reuse, recycle, we follow the first two mandates. We stopped recycling because it makes no sense for the environment. We do save aluminum and metals until we have enough to justify a trip to the scrap yard, where they pay us for these items.

Hoosier Daddy said...

Ending the recycling program is damn near insane.

Are there any day to day functions that don't require taxpayer funding or subsidies?

Michael said...

Dose of Sanity: You have to take into account the "externalities" as you put it. The regular garbage truck is not the recycling truck. So, someone built at great environmental cost a truck to pick up recycled materials. The negative impact on the environment of building that truck has to be taken into account. As does its operating impact on the environment. Try to think of the unintended consequences of good intended actions.

TWM said...

Aluminum recycling is not without significant environmental issues.

http://www.ehow.com/list_7464660_environmental-problems-associated-recycling-aluminum.html

Like I and others have said here, recyling is usually more expensive and less effective than people have been indoctrinated, err, taught. Modern landfills, if properly maintained, are safe, environmentally friendly, and even provide fuel for productive industry.

Science and technology do not stand still. What was bad decades ago is not neccessarily bad now (think nuclear power).

Think progressively, liberals, and stop living in the past.

Thorley Winston said...

It may be different in Wisconsin but I believe most recycling programs are net polluters. You have the special trucks running all the time picking up the recycled materials. You have the hot water rinsing out the bottles. You have the elevators in elevatored buildings running up and down to put out the trash and retrieve the container. And on and on.


When I was in college, one of my roommates was a paper sciences major who told me that because of the extra bleaching involved, there was more net pollution created from recycling paper than from making new paper from wood pulp. I’m not sure if that’s correct (the fact that “Friends of the Earth” says it’s “inconclusive” leads me to suspect it is), but it wouldn’t surprise me if it was. I’m more concerned about creating (and having to store/dispose of) toxic chemicals that could work their way into the water cycle than I am about having to replant additional acreages of trees.

Scott M said...

Are there any day to day functions that don't require taxpayer funding or subsidies?

How about growing wheat on your own land for your own consumption? Oh, wait...

Freder Frederson said...

You have to take into account the "externalities" as you put it. The regular garbage truck is not the recycling truck. So, someone built at great environmental cost a truck to pick up recycled materials.

Assuming both trucks are full when they get to the transfer station, how is an extra truck being used? If there was no recycling, that waste would end up in the garbage necessitating more runs by the garbage truck or even a second garbage truck.

Think about it.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

"Really? Your garbage service isn't subsidized by the county, state or feds."

My town too has privatized garbage collection and recycling. Waste Management is the vendor and by and large they do a good job in terms of treating people as 'customers'.

Before privatization the town had a refuse department that was awful. No accountability, policy changes left and right, and if you called them with a problem or question, they either didn't pick up or were rude.

My town tax bill last year for refuse pick up and recycling was $229.71.

Mr. Bingley said...

"One could also add that space for landfills is not endless, and threfore recycling must be done."

One word: Incineration.

I mean, if the cool euro-types are doing it it must be Certified Gaia-Groovy.

AprilApple said...

Go to your local recycling center--poke around and ask questions. I think you'll be surprised at what you find. There is no magic recycling fairy.
We have a single stream recycling program here in Boulder. It's a giant mess of all recycled materials mixed together. The material is supposed to be sorted and sold. Most of it is not sorted; most of it ends up as trash. We also have a new composting program, which, so far, is somewhat successful because they turn into re-sellable compost.

We do it because it makes us feel better, but it is a waste of fossil energy, resources, and money. Only a small amount of material is actually recycled.
Someone needs to figure out a way to make recycling profitable. Until then, liberals need to stop deluding themselves.
PS – I am surrounded by liberals and I observe what they do. They are clueless when it comes to recycling. Clueless.

Scott M said...

My town too has privatized garbage collection and recycling. Waste Management is the vendor and by and large they do a good job in terms of treating people as 'customers'.

Ditto.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

@April

Yeah that figures, amounts pretty much to an ant fart in a hurricane.

All of you lefties that bitch about 'Big Oil', STFU please.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

Your garbage service isn't subsidized by the county, state or feds. How much do you pay per year for garbage disposal. How far is it from your house to the landfill?

There is are private companies that bid to get a contract from the County. This may count as a subsidy, I suppose.

We don't pay for annual garbage service because we don't subscribe to the service. We go to the dump when we have a 'load'. Generally once every 2 to 3 months. Cost is about 25$ a load. More often in the summer for smell/heat purposes. Our garbage is generally frozen in the winter :-D So I suppose our annual cost is about 100$ or less.

The landfill is about 175 miles away.

Again, Rural vs Urban. We compost our vegetable trash. Burn the paper trash. Burn the garden trimmings, tree limbs etc. Donate the cans and bottles to the 4H.

We don't have that much household garbage to go to the dump.

Rep said...

@Freder:

I have to pay for private trash pickup as well. I pay $48 per quarter (so, $16/month). They come and pick it up every Thursday morning. I would much rather pay $16/month than have to load all my trash up and take it to the dump all the time. Even if I could avoid leaky trash bags in my car (and forgetting cost of gas), my time is worth way more than that.

bagoh20 said...

"One could also add that space for landfills is not endless, and therefore recycling must be done."


Yes it is, and no it must not.

Robert R. said...

"Why should garbage collection be the job of the government. If you want to get rid of your garbage, you should have to pay for the full cost of disposal."

The Black Plague is a good example of the failure of sanitation.

I don't know about anyone else, but the City I live in doesn't pick up my garbage, they hire a private contractor (Veolia) for garbage pickup. Frankly, it's more efficient for one company to pick up all the garbage in a neighborhood than to have 2 or 3 companies come in separately. Economies of scale make sense in this respect.

I've no real issue with glass going into a landfill. Well, I have an issue with putting something in a landfill that won't degrade over time so that it eventually will revert to something natural and the land can be more fully reused, but if the cost outweighs the benefit that's fine with me. Perhaps it would better if it went to a demolition landfill than a sanitary landfill. Heck, no reason the taxpayers should subsidize the companies that use recycled glass.

HT said...

From a basic google search, an article by Discover magazine on plastics recycling (they say that recycling glass, cardboard and paper is definitely worth it):

"So if you’re wondering if you should continue to recycle your plastics, here’s an answer: Yes. But before you do, educate yourself on which plastics your city collects, and bring other types to outlets where they can be properly sorted. If you’re unsure about a plastic—an old CD jewel boxes, perhaps, or Saran Wrap—then putting it in the bin and hoping it will be recycled anyway does nothing for the environment. It’s going to be thrown into the garbage after an elaborate and costly sorting process, so you might as well just toss it out yourself."

Michael said...

Frederer: Good point if all garbage trucks were filled prior to the collection of recycleables but of course they are not. Recycling programs necessitate the purchase of enough trucks to cover essentially the same routes as the regular trucks. Recycling trucks do not crush the garbage as the regular trucks do requiring more trucks than for crushed garbage. If your argument held then half of existing garbage trucks could have been converted to recycling trucks and the impact on the environment would have been nil.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

@April

"We do it because it makes us feel better, but it is a waste of fossil energy, resources, and money. "

You are having a good day...

Same holds true for 'Green' energy, which is by far the least efficient option available right now. Did you lefties see the subsidies for 'Green' energy???

Lets all agree, its about 'feeling good'. If we can 'say' that we recycle, then we are good people. The self-congratulatory, delusional aspects of liberalism are endless.

wv - pegedoma

roesch-voltaire said...

After the student presented the study, the folks in charge decided to try it, and discovered she was right-Usually a good study should help point towards pragmatic solutions which then need to be tested and if need be modified.

Freder Frederson said...

Yes it is, and no it must not.

How do you figure that land for landfills is endless. In certain parts of the country (e.g., the Northeast) there is a definite shortage of landfill space. In other places (e.g., Florida) land suitable for landfills is hard to come by.

If you go to Europe, landfill space is even at more of a premium. Recycling in some countries there is mandatory and supported by a direct tax on packaging. All beverage containers in Germany have a deposit on them.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

@ Freder and everyone else who

Our 'dump' is a transfer station about 5 miles away, which consists of cargo type containers where you throw your garbage into from the top. When they are full, the company hooks them up to a truck and takes them to the landfill. Generally several times a month and weekly in the summer.

I assume they do the same thing with the garbage that is hauled by the trucks that pick up at the roadside.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

Here's a challenge to our leftie friends:

Point out/support a source of energy more efficient than fossil fuel.

In this case, a gallon of gasoline.

Technology has wrung out a lot of the potential of a gallon of gas. Its the best we have, right now.

Tell us, is there a more efficient fuel that can propel a 5000+ pound wheeled-vehicle 20 miles or more with a gallon of gas?

Original Mike said...

"When I was in college, one of my roommates was a paper sciences major who told me that because of the extra bleaching involved, there was more net pollution created from recycling paper than from making new paper from wood pulp."

Nor does the "it saves a tree" argument fly. They make paper out of "weed trees" (aspen, birch, jack pine) which grow back quickly. In fact, burying the old paper and continually cutting new trees results in carbon sequestration (not that I'm advocating for it for this reason).

former law student said...

What happened to reuse? All through my youth, we carried deposit bottles back to the corner store for cash. The pop company cleaned and sanitized them before refilling them. You could see the scuff marks on the bottles from going through the process again and again. When I grew up, I could buy beer in returnable bottles, packed in heavy waxed cartons to use over and over again.

So what happened?

peter hoh said...

Don't Tread, you're creating a straw man. No one in this thread is arguing that there's a better fuel than fossil fuel.

Original Mike said...

"How do you figure that land for landfills is endless. In certain parts of the country (e.g., the Northeast) there is a definite shortage of landfill space."

IF that's true, then recycling makes economic sense in those locations and sensible people will do it without government mandates.

Robert R. said...

"Point out/support a source of energy more efficient than fossil fuel."

Nuclear. Which is a whole different argument, but one that should be on the table.

Chef Mojo said...

The Black Plague is a good example of the failure of sanitation.

Um. No. You can't have a failure of sanitation in a society in which there is no concept of sanitation. It is silly to try to apply notions of modern sanitation to a society back in history.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

@peter

Just taking the mention of 'Big Oil' in the thread somewhere other than how heavily subsidized it is and how it compares with the 'Green' energy.

Clearly there is no comparison in terms of level of subsidy or efficiency.

Straw man?

Dust Bunny Queen said...

The biggest problem that we have as illustrated by this mandatory recyling issue and the responses on this thread is

The government, top down, one size fits all, central planning method.

What works in a large dense city isn't necessarily the best program for a smaller city or the outlying rural areas.

If the Government would just let the local people make the decisions and control services as to what best fits THEIR individual circumstances, we would all be better off.

This is what Walker is proposing.

David said...

Freder Frederson said...
We have NO recycling programs in our area. No government garbage service.

Really? Your garbage service isn't subsidized by the county, state or feds.


Freder, get out of the bubble. This is not unusual at all. And it can be done at reasonable cost.

Tipping fees are a product of scarcity. Limit the number of landfills, the price goes up. Even more so if you tax it.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

@Robert

"Nuclear. Which is a whole different argument, but one that should be on the table."

Agreed. Unfortunately, its not.

peter hoh said...

I did not say that big oil (caps were not mine) was receiving outsized subsidies, rather that they simply received subsidies.

I'm more troubled by ethanol subsidies than I am by the subsidies granted for oil and gas exploration.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

@DBQ

"The government, top down, one size fits all, central planning method."

Bingo.

One size fits all RARELY does.

I won't mention health care to avoid peter hoh claiming 'straw man'.

Economies of scale as they apply to private industry and governments are inversely proportional.

Dust Bunny Queen said...

What happened to reuse?

@ FLS

I remember that too. It was a cool source of extra cash for us kids to go around the neighborhood and collect bottles.

I rarely see soda in glass bottles anymore. They are all in plastic.

Beer does often come in bottles, however, it seems that the bottles are not as sturdy as they once were. With the possible exception of the more expensive beers and microbrews.

It is probably cheaper to make flimsy bottles, plastic containers and cans than to reuse.

Too bad.

HT said...

former law student said...

What happened to reuse? All through my youth, we carried deposit bottles back to the corner store for cash. The pop company cleaned and sanitized them before refilling them. You could see the scuff marks on the bottles from going through the process again and again. When I grew up, I could buy beer in returnable bottles, packed in heavy waxed cartons to use over and over again.

So what happened?

3/3/11 10:28 AM

____

The soft drink companies killed the DC bottle bill a number of years ago. They got the leaders of the people in SE to say it was racial discrimination.

peter hoh said...

Further, Don't Tread, in the comment in which I mentioned the recent House vote, I was making a point against all subsidies.

What subsidies do you support?

Freder Frederson said...

IF that's true, then recycling makes economic sense in those locations and sensible people will do it without government mandates.

But earlier you were arguing that new landfills are much safer than older ones. Why do you think that is? Its because of government mandates that require them to be safer and ban certain materials (e.g., free liquids and hazardous materials) from solid waste landfills.

Do you think we would have clean drinking water and sewer systems without government mandates. Until the development of modern sanitary sewer systems in the latter half of the 19th century industrial cities had a negative birthrate, they grew only by immigration.

Original Mike said...

"The government, top down, one size fits all, central planning method."

Time and again, it gets back to this.

There are people who think they (and their ilk) are smart enough to plan the world, and there are people who look at the results of the planners who have gone before and say "you guys couldn't plan your way out of a paper bag".

peter hoh said...

Back in the early 90s, one could still buy soda in reusable glass bottles in the Allentown/Bethlehem part of Pennsylvania.

One of the antique dealers put a few of the Coke bottles for sale -- most likely to catch the New York/New Jersey crowd, for whom reusable Coke bottles were a thing of the past.

Scott M said...

"Nuclear. Which is a whole different argument, but one that should be on the table."

Agreed. Unfortunately, its not.


Even my most leftist friends and family, with the exception of one who, at 60-something, thinks she's still in her 30's, have stated that we should be building nuke plants as quickly as we can safely put them up. A few of these guys are Sierra Club members. Gasp.

PaulV said...

Old landfills are recycled as parks. I have played softball on a few. Mount Trashmore is highest location in Virginia Beach, VA.

WV: valkeyis
Recycled virgins for Norse heroes

virgil xenophon said...

LOTS of good points here. About re-cycling glass? Don't know about large-scale nation-wide, but I saw an episode of "This Old House" on PBS where some outfit on the East Coast was making a very profitable business out of taking glass and sorting it by color and making dynamite-looking composite designer kitchen counter-tops and seemed to be making a profit.

My other point would be to look to the UK. There the "recycle-police" and "compost Nazis" are running amuck/amok (depending on one's spelling preference) w. HUGE fines for garbage spilling over out of their "dust-bins," etc., and roving patrols of neighborhood "dust-bin wardens" paid by the town councils tax-dollars to report on violations with an energized dedication usually only reserved for tracking down serial killers. If not reined in, trends like government-run re-cycling (which are often fervently fostered by adherents/zealots with almost a religious fever) inevitably become highly authoritarian/totalitarian in nature with inordinate fines and the transmorgafication
or ordinary citizens into "enemies of the people" for the most minor of re-cycling "transgressions" like putting verbotten items in the wrong containers.

Original Mike said...

"But earlier you were arguing that new landfills are much safer than older ones. Why do you think that is? Its because of government mandates that require them to be safer and ban certain materials (e.g., free liquids and hazardous materials) from solid waste landfills."

You're mixing me up with somebody else, but to the point; I have no problem with laws that protect the environment. Examples, "If you build a lanffill, here are the building codes that will prevent it from leaking. You must follow them", and, "You can't put that toxic substance in a landfill."

Recycling mandates are a whole 'nuther planet.

Robert R. said...

It's worth pointing out that it's worthwhile to put organics in a landfill because you can recover energy in the form of methane. Instead of venting it to flares, much of this methane is being converted into electricity or even pumped to a facility that will burn it for heat. MMSD has a major project involving this currently under construction.

Given landfills have a set acreage, you can recover more energy per acre by keeping the recyclables out. That's part of the cost/benefit analysis.

I expect that it's a complicated rather than simple analysis and the results will vary depending on how big or small a picture you look at. I expect that recycling will stay in some form, particularly aluminum cans, so I doubt the collection trucks are going away.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

@peter

"If something is worth doing, it should be paying for itself without a government subsidy.

I like that principle.

What we have instead is a system in which both sides back certain subsidies while bashing others.

Ethanol has managed to gain support from both parties while raising food prices for everyone. Clever people, those ethanol con artists."

Agreed, in principle. But I think one could make a case for 1 subsidy being better than another, and that's what we have.

I belong to neither party so I cannot speak for what subsidies are supported by what party - but I think I could accurately guess.

The ethanol thing is a major boondoggle and another net loss, just as recycling.

peter hoh said...

DBQ, applying the principle of "one size does not fit all" to health care and education is not creating a straw man.

And for what it's worth, I agree with you about this principle. The issues in the Northeast, for instance, where landfill space is tight and water abundant, are going to be different than the issues in the Southwest, where space is abundant, and water is scarce.

Gary said...

Dreckmann? In charge of a subsidized recycling program that's unable to stand alone on its economic merits? Seriously? Is this a case of a name determining the course of its owner's life?

Has the Meadeia been alerted?

Mike said...

As long as we continue to be able to recycle cans/aluminum, I'm happy. Recycling glass is inefficient, but with cans, it's exactly the opposite. As an avid supporter of the local breweries we have and someone who works in that industry, a lot of microbrewers are actually switching over to cans because it's cheaper, easier to package, and the environmental footprint is way, way less than glass bottles. Besides, the beer stays fresher, can't be light-struck, and it tastes better if poured into a glass...which you can then wash and reuse.

Robert R. said...

"Um. No. You can't have a failure of sanitation in a society in which there is no concept of sanitation. It is silly to try to apply notions of modern sanitation to a society back in history."

Like modern India?

There are plenty of good reasons to mandate collection of garbage as the impacts of the failure to do so effect more than the individual. At least in non-rural areas. And awarding the contract to single entity makes sense for scheduling, planning of haul routes, economies of scale, etc.

Hoosier Daddy said...

If you go to Europe, landfill space is even at more of a premium

If you go to Europe you'll find a lot of nuke plants used for energy too.

Chip S. said...

@FF, A "landfill shortage" is easily resolved by pricing its use. Next step is that, in crowded places, dumping becomes sufficiently expensive that it pays to find some other way to dispose of trash.

One alternative is to ship it to low-price landfills, when the cost of the local landfill is greater than the cost of the more distant one by more than the cost of transport.

Another alternative is to ship recyclables to an appropriate facility. That will make sense if it's cheaper than the cost of using either a local or a distant landfill. Yet another option is incineration.

If we get the prices of all these options right, the correct action will also be the cheapest.

bil_d said...

Well, here's a novel idea: If recycling has any economic merit whatsoever, then the items in my recycling bin must have some economic value high enough to entice a manufacturer to BUY them from me. Yet, I am compelled to give it away. No, worse, PAY for the previledge of sending it to a recycling center!

Look, I purchased those items in the first place and therefore I own them free and clear. So, if you want my plastic, or glass, or paper make me an offer. I would gladly sell to anyone who wants those items.

And therein is the proof of the economic fallacy of recycling. There is no one who will buy my used plastics and glass because there is no economic reason to do it. The only reason anyone should be "recycling" is if the items carry a value in the marketplace so as to impel a producer to buy them from you.

Now, clearly, there ARE environmentally unfriendly items that need to be disposed of properly, e.g. paints, paint thinners, other chemicals, etc. But that is a different matter separate and apart from glass, paper, and plastics (the overwhelming majority of the cost of recycling programs).

So, just like any other raw material it should be marketable, and as the owner I should be compensated for giving up my plastics, glass, or paper. On the other hand, if I simply do not want them around then I should bear the cost of hauling to the local landfill - end of discussion.

But what I should not be saddled with is having to PAY more (directly or indirectly) to have products I already own transported for recycling into goods that someone else gets to earn a profit on! That is simply irrational - I want my cut!!

When resources become scare enough (if ever) then the items I currently discard will carry a high enough value be purchasable by a maker of other goods. That is the signal from the marketplace that reuse is viable and necessary. Until and unless, no one ought be compelled to pay additional sums for an unsustainable, economically flawed, idea such as glass, plastic, or paper recycling..

Hoosier Daddy said...

Do you think we would have clean drinking water and sewer systems without government mandates.

Yes. I mean just from the standpoint of the technology being present, people would demand it and create it simply because they would want to drink clean water and not have to dig a latrine in their backyard.

Don't Tread 2012 said...

Speaking of 'recycling', our leftist government here in NY State is using the recycling 'concept' in terms of vehicle registration.

I don't mean to swerve too far off-topic, but the geniuses in Albany this week floated a new plan that would make it necessary for anyone with a bicycle (yes, I said BICYCLE) to register said bicycle for a $25 fee, be issued renewal bicycle license plates, and also be subject to a yearly bicycle safety inspection to the tune of a $5 fee.

There is apparently no end to the depravity of the mind of the statist!!!

peter hoh said...

The thing is, I'd be happy to see the end of state mandates and subsidies for recycling. But I also want an end to the mandates and subsidies that support ethanol.

Ethanol supports might have been defensible in the past. That time has passed.

Paddy O said...

Peter, I don't think it is as much that both parties support ethanol, as it is that politicians from both parties support ethanol.

The gain in support in Iowa for keeping ethanol subsidies just doesn't have enough negative consequences elsewhere. Even if most everyone except Iowa farmers thinks it's ludicrous.

Freder Frederson said...

My other point would be to look to the UK. There the "recycle-police" and "compost Nazis" are running amuck/amok (depending on one's spelling preference) w. HUGE fines for garbage spilling over out of their "dust-bins," etc.,

Do you have any support for this fantasy other than what the monkeys flying out or your ass or possibly Glenn Beck has told you?

Because you are just making shit up.

In Germany, if you put recyclables in the garbage they simply won't take it.

MadisonMan said...

Have I mentioned lately that the Green Bay Packers are the World Champions in football?

Original Mike said...

"Have I mentioned lately that the Green Bay Packers are the World Champions in football?"

BOO-RAH!!!

Sand River Dog said...

"...I'm sure it's CHEAPER to pollute, but long-term that becomes an issue to people who like the environment. (which is all of us).[Me: I like the environment, for sure; but I don't get carried away destroying the human race with my actions and thinking about how wonderful the gaia goddess is. Which she isn't, BTW.]
Ending the recycling program is damn near insane. What about the increased landfill costs as a result? What about encouraging higher-efficiency, lower cost methods?
...Also, we have to use up resources to create new glass.
And glass isn't the only thing that's not going to be recycled. I'm sure plastics are much worse.
(Dose)..."

Ummm... can I say DUH! here? You (Dose) think it's wrong to not recycle, make some rediculous assertion about increased landfill costs (BTW: in MN, 65% of my property taxes go to Landfill Management), and in the same breath you bemoan glass being non-recyclable. So, either we should just throw glass on the roadside rather than send it to landfills? Or shall we recylce it and waste more money separating it from the useable materials, then send it to the landfill- or, to save landfills, pay someone to throw it along the roadside?
And then you talk of conserving energy by recycling unrecyclable glass because we have to make more glass?
With thinking like that, no wonder we have environmental problems.

AJ Lynch said...

The librul shibboleths are crashing & burning and Garage screams "Oh the humanity!"

MayBee said...

I, too, pay for a private contractor (Waste Management) to take my garbage. We have trash, yard waste, and recycling bins they pick up once a week.

I am pretty good about getting things in the proper bins, but I do not wash out the glass and cans prior to putting them in the bin, because I live in LA and water is precious and expensive.

There are several places nearby where people who choose to can bring their plastics, glass, and aluminum for recycling and be paid for the materials. There are usually long lines for this private service on Saturdays with nice weather.

When I lived in Tokyo, I had to separate my trash into about 15 different bundles. The newspapers had many stories of people who could not handle it, and would send their trash to work with their husbands or keep the trash in their apartments and then move out.

Bruce Hayden said...

The thing is, I'd be happy to see the end of state mandates and subsidies for recycling. But I also want an end to the mandates and subsidies that support ethanol.

I think that Paddy again hits it. I don't think that anyone here is going to defend ethanol subsidies. As he pointed out, they are the consequence of politics winning over economic reality.

Fen said...

In Germany, if you put recyclables in the garbage they simply won't take it.

Had that happen in MD. I simply opened the trash and spread it all out on the common area. Haven't had a problem with them since.

Original Mike said...

"I don't think that anyone here is going to defend ethanol subsidies."

Any defenders?

Alex said...

Dose of Insanity - study after study proves recycling is a boondoggle.

Alex said...

Notice as Althouse slowly leaves the librul reservation, the lefty lunatics step up their attacks on her.

kent said...

Walker just made baby Gaia cry.

No one's going to be able to beat this posting. I can already tell. ;)

former law student said...

Where I live, the price of land has driven away such low return uses as speedways and general aviation airports, yet land is continuing to be used as landfill. This drives up the cost of garbage pickup.

I guess we could eventually ship trash by rail to former cropland.

Michael said...

Bil_d: You are right. But trying to argue any point from an economic standpoint is a waste of time on AA. You are either speaking to a group that understands and likely agrees or you are writing for an audience that has no knowledge of or interest in business or economics and frankly sees the whole topic of economics as both sinister and Republican. People who do not have to bargain for their day to day subsistence and who have "sick days" in their vocabulary do not get it.

Michael said...

fls: Perhaps that is the secret plan behind the high speed choo choo that will whisk through central California. There will certainly be lots of room for trash.

The Crack Emcee said...

Ha:

I'm liking the cut of this Walker feller's gib.

The Crack Emcee said...

I've been on this one, like, foreverrrrr:

This is a better (and more recent) post.

Jeremy said...

The new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, for example, finds that a 62% majority believe it's unacceptable to eliminate public employees' collective-bargaining rights.

Are the teabaggers here...EVER on the right side of an issue? (no pun intended)

Jeremy said...

ONLY the dolts here would whine and bitch about recycling.

Are you also against energy conservation?

Really, is there ANYTHING your idiots won't bitch about...ANYTHING??

kent said...

Government e-mails reveal plot to stall [Madison] budget repair bill


UH-oh. ;)

The Crack Emcee said...

Jeremy,

ONLY the dolts here would whine and bitch about recycling.

"Recycling may be the most wasteful activity in modern America: a waste of time and money, a waste of human and natural resources."

-- The "dolts" at the New York Times (look at my previous links)

MadisonMan said...

Any defenders?

I don't defend them, I just enjoy them as an absentee farmer landlord.

MadisonMan said...

Previously, the best years had been when the crop failed completely and crop insurance was claimed. Now, with ethanol subsidies driving up the cost of corn, corn farmers can earn some cash.

Of course, that's bad news for people who actually use feed corn, as their prices rise. So maybe the money I'm taking in is just being disbursed in the form of higher food prices, but I don't think I'm losing all of it.

Trooper York said...

MadisonMan said...
Have I mentioned lately that the Green Bay Packers are the World Champions in football?

Original Mike said...
"Have I mentioned lately that the Green Bay Packers are the World Champions in football?"

BOO-RAH!!!


I think the great Governor of Wisconisn has it exactly right.....lets end the recylced praise of a very, very lucky bunch of cheeseheads.

STOP RECYCLED PRAISE NOW!!!!!!

Trooper York said...

Oh and one more thing.

BOSTON SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It is baseball season after all.

Marshal said...

"Dose of Sanity said...

Perhaps because of the other externalities that carry along with recycling?"

This is the sort of thing idiot lefties hype without understanding. There are externalities, but recycling supporters cannot show they exceed the cost differential. Instead of engaging in such analysis they attempt to enforce their preferred choice through government fiat and appeal to emotion.

DOS should change his handle to OverDose of Pablum, Lacking Empiricism.

Louis said...

Test to determine if something is worth recycling.

Leave it out behind your business

If it is stolen it was worth recycling.

Phil 3:14 said...

bags;
The Penn and Teller video was great

This bin is for lightly soiled toilet paper
What keeps me laughing is imagining someone wiping his ass then looking at the paper and then saying:

Hmmm, that looks lightly soiled

kent said...

The librul shibboleths are crashing & burning and Garage screams "Oh the humanity!"

The Paranoid Style of Politics In Madison and The Left-Blogosphere

Remind you of anyone in particular...? ;)

Rick said...

"George Dreckmann, Madison's recycling coordinator"

The Sanitation Coordinator position must have already been taken.

Sofa King said...

Where I live, the price of land has driven away such low return uses as speedways and general aviation airports, yet land is continuing to be used as landfill. This drives up the cost of garbage pickup.

Then tipping fees will increase and recycling will become less expensive than landfilling. No government mandates are necessary to rationally address your parade of horribles.

MadisonMan said...

very, very lucky bunch of cheeseheads.

Any team that wins a Championship is very lucky.

Pia Zadora or whatever her name is will be very very very lucky to win American Idol. Because she's not going to win on talent and artistry.

Original Mike said...

Yeah, that was it. The New York Giants were unlucky.

You're a good guy, Trooper. We'll go with that, if it makes you feel better.

Calypso Facto said...

Maybe the protesters were just "recycling" the ammunition they stocked at the entrances to the Wisconsin Capitol?

I'm thinking the Capitol will finally get cleared now, with plenty of justification.

Rick said...

@ Chef Mojo said...

"Well, pigs can fly"

As God is my witness, I thought turkeys could fly!!!

Delayna said...

Original Mike said:

"Nor does the "it saves a tree" argument fly. They make paper out of "weed trees" (aspen, birch, jack pine) which grow back quickly. In fact, burying the old paper and continually cutting new trees results in carbon sequestration (not that I'm advocating for it for this reason)."

I do! I love pointing out to lefties who preach about AGW that if they really cared about global warming they would never recycle paper again--in fact, they would sequester as much carbon in their garbage cans as possible.

I do recycle aluminum cans.

E.M. Davis said...

Do you think we would have clean drinking water and sewer systems without government mandates.

Yes, but it's kind of an incentive to, you know, have people live in your town and pay your taxes.

So, for any municipality, it's the cost of doing business.

E.M. Davis said...

I like recycling, and I do it, because I think it can be helpful.

However, I like government mandates a lot less.

MadisonMan said...

I love pointing out to lefties who preach about AGW that if they really cared about global warming they would never recycle paper again--in fact, they would sequester as much carbon in their garbage cans as possible.

This doesn't really sequester the carbon, however, given the methane that landfills emit. If you want to sequester, you really have to bury it a lot deeper.

Delayna said...

Well, true, but then the young trees that are planted to replace the ones made into paper will suck more carbon out of the air...so I figure the carbon cycle still works, but I've slown it down at the part where the carbon re-enters the atmosphere.

SGT Ted said...

As usual, the "subsidies" the leftards cry about turn out to be letting oil producers keep more of their own money. Meanwhile true subsidies are portrayed as "investment".

Shanna said...

Test to determine if something is worth recycling. Leave it out behind your business. If it is stolen it was worth recycling.

I like to call it curbside takeaway :)

Someone earlier mentioned copper, it's worth so much that people steal it out of light fixtures and walls and stuff. It's actually a bad problem.

Belial said...

Wait, the chief recycler is named Dreckmann, really? Ist das Zwiebelsprache?

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