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Maricopa County Libertarian Party

Personal Responsibility - Not Mandates Solves the Garbage Problem

August 15, 2009 - 4:11pm
Jim Iannuzo by Jim Iannuzo


The fallacy of state mandated bottle bills in controlling pollution is a costly hoax. Make it easier to recycle and higher reuse rates will follow. Make it harder by passing laws like Maricopa County's ID requirements to recycle and dumping will increase.

GarbageRecycling efficiency using municipal solid waste (MSW) data is a more complex issue than normally suggested. Looking at state mandated bottle bills as a quantitative indicator for recycling efficiency is misleading and overly simplistic. Few states have bottle bills. From a qualitative viewpoint they are not cleaner than states without bottle bills. Visitors from New York, Massachusetts, Michigan and California comment on how it seems cleaner here in Phoenix than their respective cities (Arizona does not have a bottle deposit law). I regularly visit all of the above bottle bill states and concur with this opinion.

For a quantitative analysis you must normalize how states and municipalities define recyclable solid waste. Some states include animal manure and chicken droppings into the material category. Others leave out items like plate metal. New York sends some of their garbage for processing to states without bottle bills like New Jersey and Pennsylvania, thereby relieving themselves of the ugly stuff but keeping the bottles. Many municipalities provide only a small curbside box for recycled goods while others have wheeled bins. Production factors are deterministic of the true recycling rate but rarely mentioned.

The EPA has spent tens of millions of dollars to normalize and analyze the data without clear results. Something I could have done for a lot less money. From the data that is available, South Dakota may be doing the best job of managing and reusing waste. Most of this is done in South Dakota on a completely volunteer basis. Something we call personal responsibility. Those who argue for more regulation and control fail to understand that mandates are a proxy for incomplete thought. Clearly South Dakota is not one of the states a brainwashed green dreams about but a great place for an "old fashion" libertarian to ride a motorcycle

Related Content:

Personal Responsibility - Nick Coons
Congress Approves Another Reckless Spending Bill - Austin Raynor
Restore Fiscal Sanity by Ending 'Home Rule' - Bennett Kalafut

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