From March 2010, the first of what will be a continuing series on recycling, I’m sure.
Many residents have been advocating for a city-subsidized curbside recycling program by stressing the need to relieve the pressure on our local landfill. If this is their primary argument, then the city had better start developing some numbers that tell taxpayers precisely how much of a burden currently exists on our waste management capacity due to recyclable waste. They must do a costs-benefits analysis on both the landfill and potential subsidized recycling programs.
If a mandatory, city-run program costs less to operate than the required capital for securing additional recyclable waste management capacity, then we should certainly consider support for it. Otherwise, the argument in favour for recycling becomes simply “the right thing to do”, which is a moral argument involving personal choice. In this case, recycling should stay in the hands of private citizens and private service providers, and not be mandated by the city at the expense of taxpayers.
Considering the millions of dollars at stake annually, city council has an obligation to ensure we are doing this recycling business for the right reasons. Otherwise, we might as well just throw our tax dollars into the dump.
Following this letter’s publication, a buddy writes me, “Why do you hate recycling now? You are like a right-wing cliche come to life.”
My response: “I don’t hate recycling. I just want to have city hall show some justification for spending millions of dollars for once.
“Considering that it’s almost always the least financially well-off who suffer most from tax and mandatory fee increases…, I could easily ask you, why do you hate poor people?”
Don’t accept their premise.