Tuesday, September 25, 2007

More on recycling Company

Jon makes an astute comment on the post about the recycling company that pays people to recycle and then takes a cut of the city's savings for trash processing.
Well, one concern here: The way the city recycle program works now, at least in the Phoenix area, is that there is no real economic incentive to recycle. You just do it because you want to help out....but (under the company's system) how do they regulate and make sure the stuff being put in the recycle containters is actually recyclable?
Definitely a problem. You can think of all kinds of issues that could be raised by paying for recycling - people putting extra stuff in the can, for instance.

First, despite benevolent intentions a large percentage of what shows up at the recycling plant currently in Phoenix, where people are not paid, can't actually be recycled for various reasons. Here's a great article. The most common problem - people put their recyclables in plastic bags, and the plant doesn't have enough time to open the bags, so just throw them and their contents away.

I don't see these problems as being deal breakers. I think enforcement on violators plus the company taking into account "cheating" will still produce a better outcome.

Of course what's not measured in any of this is that what's MUCH better than recycling is just using fewer materials. But that's not as tangible and thus recycling gets all the buzz.


Blogger Brad said...

I think recycling in Arizona is horribly underdeveloped (just like the public transportation system). I think this probably has a lot to do with how spread out everyone is, among other factors. Seattle has a really great recycling program...and provides other interesting types of incentives for people to recycle. Example: my recycling bin is probably four times as big as my trash bin and trash only comes once a week. If I don't recycle, I have to drive to the dump with my extra, and then pay for it. (By the way, taking extra recycling to the dump is free.) It's all about incentives.

7:57 AM  

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