Recycling people are having it tough. Despite all the subsidies, regulations, encouragement, education brainwashing and advertising, it seems that recycling is dying in the recession. The Daily Mail reports that millions of tonnes of rubbish will be stored until prices improve:
Town hall chiefs are to hire warehouses to store a mountain of recycled rubbish for which there is no use and no market, it was revealed today.
Tin cans, plastic bottles, paper, card and glass carefully sorted by families and homeowners will be held indefinitely in the new refuse mountain.
Of course one would expect that in a recession the lease desirable materials will fall in value, like anything else. But in many cases, the price of recycling per tonne is falling from a small positive sum to a negative one. This means cities are paying people to pick it up, then paying people to use it.
For normal people, this would indicate that recycling needs to be suspended, or cut back, to reduce cost and wasted energy. But environmentalists don't think that way. Listen to this:
Rather than seeing this drop in demand as an excuse either to invest in new goods from China, it should be seen as an opportunity to increase demand for the manufacturing of products from recycled materials in our country. This is the moment to support businesses that are working with UK waste...
One wonders what would cause people to push for less recycling:
- Price goes up: demand for recycling grows, so recycle more!
- Price goes down: demand for recycling drops, must try harder and redouble efforts to find a home for material, so recycle more!
No, it is clear that recycling is a religious tenet rather than a policy created for good reason by a dispassionate observer of the economy.
What should be done? Well first of all, all direct government involvement with recycling should cease. Then government departments / councils should announce the subsidies that they are paying to take the waste away so we can all form a view of whether it is worth the hassle or not. Shine a little light on our trash system.