By Christopher Harper
As I pulled out my two garbage bins this week—one for trash and one for recyclables—I was stuck by how yet another fraud was created and perpetuated by the left.
Recycling may not be the biggest threat to the nation. Still, sorting metal, plastics, and other items costs millions of dollars and accomplishes little.
Fostered by the environmental movement in the 1970s, recycling used to make some sense. In Philadelphia, where I live, the city loses $9 million a year. If Philadelphia and other cities simply used available space for garbage dumps, schools could be built, taxes could be lowered, and funds shifted to better uses.
The Property and Environment Research Center has analyzed recycling in an attempt to educate people about the “myths” of rubbish. These myths include:
–The country is running out of space;
–Trash threatens people’s health and the ecosystem;
–Packaging is a serious problem; and
–Recycling saves resources.
The modern era of waste disposal and recycling can be traced to the spring of 1987 when a garbage barge named Mobro 4000 spent two months and 6,000 miles touring the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico looking for a home for its load.
The Mobro set off in March 1987 with 3,200 tons of New York trash, originally intended for a cheap landfill in Louisiana. Hoping to cut transportation costs, the company behind the Mobro’s
voyage attempted to interest Jones County, North Carolina, in accepting the trash. Before the deal could be finalized, local officials wondered if the entrepreneur’s haste signaled the presence of hazardous waste. North Carolina rejected the trash–as did others–including the original site.
The problem WASN’T a lack of space. New York simply wanted a cheaper place to send its garbage. The “problem” erroneously became that landfills were UNSAFE.
Since the voyage of the Mobro, new techniques have made landfills even safer.
Nevertheless, the United States turned to China to send recyclables. But China upended global recycling markets in 2017 when it stopped importing most plastic and paper because most cities co-mingled materials, including waste from computers. The decision sent prices of scrap plastic and recovered paper tumbling, creating a crisis for municipalities that had relied on such sales to subsidize curbside recycling.
Recycling has become more expensive than tossing items into the trash. In 2016, it cost New York City $18 a ton more to collect and process recyclables than to dispose of regular refuse. See https://ibo.nyc.ny.us/iboreports/ten-years-after-assessing-progress-on-the-citys-solid-waste-management-plan-supplement-2017.pdf
Some efforts are growing to return to glass bottles to replace plastics, with deposit charges. That’s what we did before the recycling craze, and it worked.
Keep in mind that the left created the recycling mess in the first place—a system that costs the country millions of dollars. Just think what it will cost for their plans to combat “climate change” and whether any of their “green” ideas will actually work.