Recycling - I'll say it: it's just Economic Insanity - Granite Grok

Recycling – I’ll say it: it’s just Economic Insanity

I’ve been blogging about what has been going on in my home town that just put up the “Scott Dunn monument to Economic Illiteracy” and the Mandatory Recycling mandate in order to make “The Plan” work. You can’t use the new Recycle Center (“RC”), just built for the amount of $1.3 Million dollar, unless YOU spent the time to do the sorting and storage of all the crap until you spend the money to drive it over to the RC (and that could take a while as we take up a bit of area). And yet (reformatted, emphasis mine)…

Southern New Hampshire communities are struggling to find money so their residents can recycle, even as the cost in some towns approaches double that of regular trash disposal. In Merrimack, the cost of recycling is expected to dramatically increase when the city’s contract with E.L. Harvey expires in December. While it currently costs $71.50 per ton to dispose of regular trash, town officials predict that could rise to $140 per ton for single-stream recycling, where all recyclables are collected together. “It is a huge change,” said Kyle Fox, director of public works. “We have been protected from these price changes for the last six years.”

For the citizens, it’s still a two-fer: 1 place in the house for trash and 1 place for the recyclables.  Single Stream is now only an absurd dream for the true believers – a massive nightmare to those that consider the actual 360 degree costs.  And now the article gets to the only possibilities:

Fox identified four options: continue the current single-stream recycling program and absorb the extra cost;

  1. convert back to a recycling program where all of the material is sorted;
  2. implement a hybrid recycling program where glass is separated; or
  3. suspend the recycling program altogether and treat everything as trash.

If the real economics of this is that it is a case that trash (#3)  is the value add in the entire equation, it absolutely insane for everyone to have to pay for the recyclables.

The town typically recycles about 1,500 tons a year. Since it started single-stream recycling in 2010, nearly 14,000 tons of material have been recycled. “The urge for people to recycle is there — they want to do it,” he said.

The question is simple – at the price that is going to be demanded, is that “urge” going to be as strong as he thinks and what it has been? True believers may – at almost any price.  Everyone else may say screw it – and should. It doesn’t make economic sense for THEM.

What is the ACTUAL value of the recyclables AFTER all that labor cost (be it “free” on the part of citizens or the paid labor put in by the haulers and the actual recyclable handlers) has been put into the costing?  Again, given what is happening and the price delta between trash and recyclables, it seems that “recyclable hauling” is the value add. The actual value of the recyclables, at the end of the process, really isn’t worth all that much.  Sure, it will have some value, but enough to “back pay” all of the previous costs like true believers believe it to be?

Sorry, no.  Throwing lots of dollars in costs at the front end to end up with pennies of value at the other makes no sense at all.

The article also talks about Nashua and Bedford’s reality.  In both cases, recycling isn’t making sense at all.

Go ahead, as Crowder says, change my mind.

(H/T: Union Leader)