It Takes Two To Tango To Make Recycling Work

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Barbara Bourscheidt, writing in your May 21 issue, may have been correct about some of the mistakes made by the late Payson Community Recycling (not enough advertising, lack of convenience, etc.), but the biggest mistake of all was in thinking that Payson-area governments, institutions and individuals placed a value on recycling.

With the exception of a few stalwarts, it simply wasn't worth the trouble or a dollar or two out of our pockets. There was even outrage that a small fee was required for collection. After all, weren't they making a profit off my junk? What a nerve!

Bourscheidt referred to "dangling the carrot of recycling," then "jerking it away." There's a great misconception about recycling profitability.In actuality, materials are shipped across the country to any place that will take them, and highly technical recovery systems almost always cost more than can be recouped--especially in the West, where recyclables must be shipped vast distances Without exception, the few profitable recycling systems depend on huge volumes.

Bourscheidt said that perhaps only governments should operate recycling systems, but according to John Baden and Donald Snow, authors of "The Next West," government recycling systems are only maintained by a constant (and substantial) flow of tax dollars. I recommend this book to anyone who wishes to better understand the marketing and cost difficulties v. the politically correct desirability of recycling.

In a private business, unlike government, there is not a constant flow of dollars. I can assure you that Payson Community Recycling did not spend several hundred thousand dollars complying with town regulations and building a state of the art recycling center for the amusement of "dangling a carrot." Actually, these young seniors could have retired for the rest of their lives on what they invested trying to do something good for the Rim country as well as working toward a modest income for themselves.

Perhaps they could have done more to save their business before they were bankrupt. But perhaps our community could have, too! Maybe some things are more important than our own convenience.

At any rate, as tons of newspapers, office papers, junk mail and school papers make their way to the landfill, it won't be too far down the road before we hear the county yelling once again: Emergency, emergency! The landfill is full!

Carroll Cox
Payson

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