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Recycling in North Vancouver

This conversation pertains to this publication:

Block, Walter E. 2022. “Recycling in North Vancouver.” March 11;

https://internationalman.com/articles/recycling-in-north-vancouver/

From: Matteo

Date: Sat, Mar 12, 2022 at 3:19 AM

Subject: Fwd: Recycling in North Vancouver

To: Mona

Cc: Casey

Hi Walter – I was in the waste business for seven years, selling waste incinerators with energy production from waste.

In Europe the detailed waste collection you mention was initiated already in the mid late eighties. The same exact process you mention – and as much as I don’t like hard core environmentalists – I can tell you that it is the best way to go – except for the fee charged by the governments.

North America has been way behind waste management and waste collection. Single stream waste collection ( basically throwing all the waste in a black bag) is a waste of precious resources. It’s hard or impossible to recycle paper, plastics, and other resources once they are stuck with oils, food waste and other waste.

I can tell you that in my household I recycle 97 percent. Basically, the only thing i end up throwing away is the dust on the floor. It’s a habit by now. And I am a free spirit by all means and I don’t like ANY imposition ( I flew to India in December to escape restrictions in Europe, screw’em. By the way in India, they have horrible waste management habits.

I do agree on the economics side of it. There would be a line of people taking their recyclables if people would get paid for it, but that is a multifaceted issue due to the fact that, indeed, governments have taken up the monopoly of waste collection. It’s twisted. But I still tag along because nothing is infinite, resources are finite, and it’s better to recycle.

Matteo

Dear Matteo:

I agree with you, but only partially.

Single stream waste collection ( basically throwing all the waste in a black bag) is indeed a waste of precious resources at certain prices. But, at other prices, recycling is a waste of precious resources. It ALL depends upon the price.

Yes, nothing is infinite, yes, resources are finite, but it by no means logically follows that it’s better to recycle. It is true a low costs of human labor, and high values of resources, but not the other way around. Should a doctor or a lawyer or a tech nerd who’s time is worth $500 per hour recycle newsprint, at which job he can produce $5 per hour worth of resources? Not if you want to be economically efficient. This would be a loss of $498/ hour.

But you make an excellent point about “There would be a line of people taking their recyclables if people would get paid for it” that is, if they were paid more for their recycling efforts than they could earn by engaging in other market pursuits.

Jewelers recycle gold dust since it is so valuable. No one recycles tissue paper, since it is so cheap.

Best regards,

Walter

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3:36 am on March 13, 2022