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Reason Foundation

No Such Thing as Free Recycling

Leonard Gilroy
December 5, 2005, 11:44am

Lake County, OH - the state's only recycling district with free curbside pickup - has decided to end its curbside recycling program, long cross-subsidized by a surplus funds generated from a local landfill: Two thoughts here. First, it makes you wonder what value the recycling program really has when it's only viable with generous subsidies. This happens all too often in government; see "Amtrak" for the classic case. Second, this seems like a missed opportunity to explore a pay-as-you-throw waste management pricing system, which would create a consumer incentive to recycle and reduce waste and lower long-run system management costs. From Reason's study: See the study for more details.

Leonard Gilroy is Director of Government Reform


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