Thursday, March 13, 2008
I felt for a long time that the principal benefit of recycling is how it makes you feel about yourself-hey it's cheaper than Prozac. The sad truth is that that may be the only benefit in some cases. While recycling has been around a long time and frequently makes a lot of sense, many of the most common forms of recycling are a complete waste of resources.
As Dan Benjamin points out:
Recycling is a long-practiced, productive, indeed essential, element of the market system. Informed, voluntary recycling conserves resources and raises our wealth. In sharp contrast, misleading educational programs encourage the waste of resources when they overstate the benefits of recycling. And mandatory recycling programs, in which people are compelled to do what they know is not sensible, routinely make society worse off. Market prices are sufficient to induce the trashman to come, and to make his burden bearable, and neither he nor we can hope for any better than that.
Read the whole thing.