N.Y. Recycling Rollback ‘Unprecedented’

Jul 02, 2002

CNN.com reports that New York City suspended plastics recycling for at least one year and glass recycling for two while the city examines whether the labor-intensive recycling program can be made more cost-effective. Paper and metal recycling will continue.

The change will save the deficit-troubled city $40 million in the coming fiscal year, according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg. “In the case of plastic and glass, the fact of the matter was that it was phenomenally expensive and most of it ended up being dumped in a landfill anyway,” the mayor says. “The paper recycling has worked for a long time, and we believe that the metal recycling will certainly pay for itself.”

Moderator Comment: Do the benefits of glass and plastic recycling outweigh the costs? Should the retailing industry press state legislators to reassess recycling mandates?

We don’t know for certain whether recycling glass and plastic is inefficient. Even if it were we’d hate to be the retailer (or political figure) that took the lead on trying to suspend or repeal recycling requirements for any material. The market for recycling glass and plastic will eventually catch up with the supply if it is not there already. [George Anderson – Moderator]

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