An Online Journal of Political Commentary & Analysis
Volume VI, Issue # 157, July 16, 2004
Dr. Almon Leroy Way, Jr., Editor
Government Committed to & Acting in Accord with Conservative Principles
Ensures a Nation's Strength, Progress, & Prosperity
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By Alan Caruba

FULL STORY:   People are recycling less. In my home State of New Jersey the recycling rate for household garbage dropped for the fifth straight year in 2002, hitting 34 percent according to the most recent statistics available. Nationwide, it’s the same. The national average dropped to 27 percent in 2002, the most recent year for such data.

According to BioCycle Magazine and Columbia University’s Earth Engineering Center, that is the lowest it has been since 1995.

The justification for recycling is that it permits the reuse of things like paper, glass, aluminum and plastic. What you’re not told is that it takes as much or more energy to recycle these things, that recycling can be more costly than to just do with them what mankind has done with garbage since it began building up in the caves.

Garbage has either been buried or burned. This is the most practical way to deal with it. Once a landfill has become full, it is covered over with a layer of dirt and becomes property that can be converted to some other use, such as, for example, a golf course.

There are less obvious costs involved with recycling programs. Since, in my hometown. paper, glass, and plastic cannot be put into the same truck, that means the town has to pay crews of men to man the trucks for each. Those men draw salaries and other benefits. There are all kinds of insurance costs. The trucks cost money and must be maintained. In addition, they all burn gas as they start and stop repeatedly, adding to the cost and producing the greenhouse gases that recycling is supposed to reduce.

Then the recyclables have to be taken to recycling centers or, not infrequently, to landfills or incinerators. Where, of course, they become just plain old garbage again.

Recycling advocates say the reason for the decline is that the need to recycle, debatable at best, no longer gets the kind of attention it used to when it was fashionable to shame everyone into thinking they were “saving the environment” by separating their paper, glass, plastic, and aluminum.

After awhile people began to wonder whether, in fact, it was necessary and with good reason. Glass, for example, is made from sand. The world is not running out of sand.

Paper is made from trees and we are not running out of trees either, unless you count the ones destroyed by catastrophic forest fires that usually result from bad state and federal forest management. There is still 70 percent of the forestland that was here in 1600, when the Pilgrims arrived. Annually, more than 1.5 billion trees are planted in the U.S.A., more than five trees for every man, woman and child, and, of those, more than 80 percent are planted by forest product companies and private timberland owners. The rest are planted by federal and state agencies, and individuals.

As for aluminum, the Aluminum Institute says that plastic is crowding out higher-value aluminum cans in recycling bins, making the whole process of recycling less efficient. Many states have stopped mandating buy-back programs for empty cans and bottles. The recycling rate for aluminum hit 50 percent in 2002, its lowest point in a decade.

Similarly, the number of curbside collection programs nationally, which reached a high of about 9,700 between 1988 and 2000, fell to 8,875 by 2003, according to data provided by the Environmental Protection Agency. After 9-11, when New York City was hard hit by the devastation, entire recyclable collection programs were stopped in order to save the millions they cost.

It took a federal court decision to deregulate the hauling of trash out of my home state, when it became apparent it was cheaper to ship it to landfills in Pennsylvania. Expensive incinerators that had been built on the premise that the garbage to be hauled to them would be required by law suddenly became a loss for those who invested in the bonds that underwrote their construction. When the market is allowed to function, less costly, more rational rules assert themselves.

Recycling is a waste of time, financial resources and manpower, and is one more fraud perpetrated on people to further the myths of environmentalism. Bit by bit, they will be abandoned in the same fashion that so many other environmental programs will be, when proven to be the same hot air as global warming.

Policy Issues Relating to Energy, Environment,
& Natural Resources

Alan Caruba is a veteran business and science writer, a Public Relations Counselor, Communications Director of the American Policy Center, and Founder of the National Anxiety Center, a clearinghouse for information about media-driven scare campaigns. Caruba writes a weekly column, "Warning Signs," posted on the Internet website of the National Anxiety Center ( A compilation of his past columns, entitled Warning Signs, is published by Merril Press. In addition to Warning Signs, Caruba is the author of A Pocket Guide to Militant Islam and The United Nations vs. the United States, both of which are available from the National Anxiety Center, 9 Brookside Road, Maplewood, New Jersey, 07040.

Copyright 2004 Alan Caruba

Published with Permission of Alan Caruba

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Subject Matter Highlights




Africa: Black Africa * Africa: North Africa * American Government 1
American Government 2 * American Government 3 * American Government 4
American Government 5 * American Politics * Anglosphere * Arabs
Arms Control & WMD * Aztlan Separatists * Big Government
Black Africa * Bureaucracy * Canada * China * Civil Liberties * Communism
Congress, U.S. * Conservative Groups * Conservative vs. Liberal
Constitutional Law * Counterterrorism * Criminal Justice * Disloyalty * Economy
Education * Elections, U.S. * Eminent Domain * Energy & Environment
English-Speaking World * Ethnicity & Race * Europe * Europe: Jews
Family Values * Far East * Fiscal Policy, U.S. * Foreign Aid, U.S. * France
Hispanic Separatism * Hispanic Treason * Human Health * Immigration
Infrastructure, U.S. * Intelligence, U.S. * Iran * Iraq * Islamic North Africa
Islamic Threat * Islamism * Israeli vs. Arabs * Jews & Anti-Semitism
Jihad & Jihadism * Jihad Manifesto I * Jihad Manifesto II * Judges, U.S. Federal
Judicial Appointments * Judiciary, American * Latin America * Latino Separatism
Latino Treason * Lebanon * Leftists/Liberals * Legal Issues
Local Government, U.S. * Marriage & Family * Media Political Bias
Middle East: Arabs * Middle East: Iran * Middle East: Iraq * Middle East: Israel
Middle East: Lebanon * Middle East: Syria * Middle East: Tunisia
Middle East: Turkey * Militant Islam * Military Defense * Military Justice
Military Weaponry * Modern Welfare State * Morality & Decency
National Identity * National Security * Natural Resources * News Media Bias
North Africa * Patriot Act, USA * Patriotism * Political Culture * Political Ideologies
Political Parties * Political Philosophy * Politics, American * Presidency, U.S.
Private Property * Property Rights * Public Assistance * Radical Islam
Religion & America * Rogue States & WMD * Russia * Science & Ethics
Sedition & Treason * Senate, U.S. * Social Welfare Policy * South Africa
State Government, U.S. * Subsaharan Africa * Subversion * Syria * Terrorism 1
Terrorism 2 * Treason & Sedition * Tunisia * Turkey * Ukraine
UnAmerican Activity * UN & Its Agencies * USA Patriot Act * U.S. Foreign Aid
U.S. Infrastructure * U.S. Intelligence * U.S. Senate * War & Peace
Welfare Policy * WMD & Arms Control

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An Online Journal of Political Commentary & Analysis
Dr. Almon Leroy Way, Jr., Editor
Conservative & Free-Market Analysis of Government, Politics & Public Policy, Covering Political, Legal, Constitutional, Economic, Cultural, Military, International, Strategic, & Geopolitical Issues

Website of Dr. Almon Leroy Way, Jr.

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