Tuesday, October 23, 2007

A city that is doing something with their trash

For many years now Seattle has had mandatory recycling , today 44% of their trash is recycled. Which is way above the national average of 30% of trash that is recycled. Their goal is to reach 60% by 2012 and 72% by 2025. Those numbers seem some what unrealistic to me if the national average does not also rise. How then can Seattle reach such large numbers? The answer to this question is quite simple. It's the law. On trash day they have three different containers outside their house waiting to be picked up; there are new laws are in place that might even add more containers. Seattle like many west coast cities are profiting from recycled goods. A big part of that is because of their location and ports; there has become a market for recycled paper predominantly in the Chinese market. Waste paper now sells for $90 a ton. I don't think that's too bad considering it used to be trash and now people are making money off it.
However, is Seattle an example for the rest of the country? My suspicion is that it is not. If it was than the numbers would be the same all over the country. Seattle succeeds because of the laws that are in place that force people to recycle. If those laws were not in place would people still recycle. Guess that someday Seattle will understand why the rest of the country does not recycle. Because we are not forced to.

1 comment:

Larry Eubanks said...

Why do you think people in Seattle would recycle without laws that force them too?

Do you know how long laws have mandated recycling in Seattle?

Does government also subsidize recycling?

Are there any market failures associated with recycling?