Recycling Waste

Published September 7, 2006

Dear Editor:

Regarding “Arizona’s recycling efforts fall short” (Sept. 7), there is a clear reason why recycling participation is so low: Recycling makes no economic sense. If the value of recycled goods was as much as or more than the cost of collecting the goods, recyclers would pay people for them. The fact that recyclers don’t pay for used goods tells us a government-financed program is an economic loser.

Regarding the environmental impacts of recycling, sending large, polluting garbage-collection trucks on an additional trip to every house in a municipality worsens air quality and wastes gasoline. Moreover, the recycling facilities themselves are notoriously harmful to the environment, with recycling facilities at times representing more than 25 percent of EPA’s worst superfund sites.

James M. Taylor

James M. Taylor ([email protected]) is senior fellow for environment policy at The Heartland Institute and managing editor of Environment & Climate News.