Monday, November 23, 2009

Who Benefits From Recycling

If recycling cans and bottles were such a great idea, wouldn't someone make some money at it? Instead, Californians pay extra--the CA Redemption Value--at the point of sale, and then pay extra for garbage service which requires a separate container for recyclable goods! Add to that, customers who just want to get their "deposit" refunded are finding fewer and fewer places to take their bottles and cans! The road to Hell is paved with good intentions:

For years California has courted a reputation as an eco-friendly, green-minded leader, but the state now finds its most basic program of recycling beverage bottles and cans mired in debt and litigation...

California's 23-year-old recycling program, managed by the Department of Conservation through fees charged to beverage buyers, has been hurt this year by recession, rising redemption rates and raids of its coffers to help ease the state's budget woes...

Shoppers remain entitled to their nickel or dime deposits for returning glass, plastic or aluminum beverage containers, but many consumers could be forced to drive farther, wait longer or comply with shorter center operating hours.


This would require more gasoline! But back to the story:
Exacerbating problems, the scrap value of aluminum cans has plummeted in the past year, and the market for other containers has struggled...

But state officials clearly are not trying to kill the program because both Schwarzenegger and the Democratic-controlled Legislature have tried to intervene, thus far unsuccessfully.


In California, the government can't even run a recycling program well.

6 comments:

Elaine C. said...

... our recycling bin (via trash service) is free. This might vary by area too, but I know it was also free back when we were living in SoCal. (We're now in Monterey County.)

I do separate out my redeemable stuff, and bring it into school for our SpEd-Life Skills kids who collect it. (Money then goes to their classroom 'budgets'. It helps them practice handling real money, as well as providing extras when times are lean!) This saves on gas and space for me - because I have trouble finding time to drop it off myself! It also gives me a feel-good moment or two... because honestly, it's not more than a few dollars on my part over a quarter/semester!

MiaZagora said...

We benefit from recycling in that we do not get garbage service here in the suburbs, so we take it ourself. Because we recycle, we have a lot less garbage because we're able to recycle tin cans, #2 and #7 (I believe) plastic, glass, mixed paper, newspaper, and motor oil. It's also very convenient. Also, our recycling program benefits a local center for the mentally and physically handicapped by providing them with jobs. I suppose our taxes pay for it, but we have no "deposit" fees or anything like California. It sounhds like California gives the citizens a lot of hoops to jump through.

allen (in Michigan) said...

Just to insert an element of enviro-evil, I don't do any of that nonsense and am considering lobbying our city to shut down the recycling program since it's a not insignificant cost. Given the sorry state of city, and state, finances I'd say we can no longer afford the self-indulgence of the phony sensation that you're doing something worthwhile.

It's not just that recycling doesn't make economic sense, it doesn't even make much sense on an environmental or social basis. By wasting tax money on recycling more environmentally-worthwhile expenditures have to be foregone. There are sewage treatment facility and sewer improvements that would have a direct, immediate impact on the environment that aren't funded because money is used for valueless recycling programs. Cops and firemen aren't hired because of those recycling programs.

I'd just as soon get rid of another reminder of the explosion of self-aggrandizing morality that came out of the 1960s.

Mike Antonucci said...

I did a story on the CA recycling system back in 1995 or so (pre-EIA days). My angle was the program was unsustainable because it relied on people not recycling to fund it.

Curmudgeon said...

I wonder what you-all are doing wrong. Up here in enviro-weenie land (Vermont, for those of you unused to the shorthand) and in New Hampshire, our transfer stations post signs bragging about the amount of money they saved the town and how much profit they made overall.

Of course, we drive our trash to the dump, 3 miles away, do all the separating, etc., so a great part of the savings is from people "donating" their time and effort but still ...

(We also have a table inside one of the little buildings loaded down with old paperbacks - leave 'em, take 'em. That's really cool.)

Maybe we're making money because we're just super special egghead, plaid shirt wearing, Howard Dean electing. New York Times reading, volvo driving freakshows?

Nope. The conservatives are driving this train up here. It's that profit thing.

Anonymous said...

I will be the first to say I do not know a lot about how recycling helps. I would like to know how we benefit from recycling.

I don't want to hear about the environment or anything like that. I want to know about the money it puts back into the economy and into employer's pockets.

I live in Tulsa, OK and we have these awful containers dropped off at our doorstep and I will only use them if I know and understad how my community will benefit or is it just some money sucking taxing burden we will have to carry.