Wednesday, July 20, 2011

City recycling: Show me the money!

In the news this week is a report that Mayor Emanuel has hired Waste Management and Metal Management Midwest to "take over half of Chicago's curbside recycling business."

The linked Tribune article, by Kristen Mack and John Chase, says these new contracts will reduce the cost to the City by $3.3 million -- from $13.8 to 10.5 million.

Cost to the City?

According to Mack and Chase,
Waste Management stands to make about $3 million a year to pick up recycling in three of Chicago's six service areas, spread across the city. Metal Management Midwest would haul in about $695,000, serving parts of the South Side.
Labor leaders are reportedly wary that these contracts may establish a beachhead for the forces of privatization on traditional union turf.

That's an understandable concern.

But I have another one.

Have you ever been in a grocery store? An office supply store? A hardware store? Has Mayor Emanuel?

There are recycled products on every shelf. Manufacturers make them because stores buy them. Stores stock these products because consumers buy them.

So... who's selling the recycled products to the manufacturers? I'm only a poor lawyer and not an environmentalist but, relying on what I learned in basic logic, I'd bet that those who pick up the recycling at the curb must selling what they pick up to someone else... or the loop would never close.

Our parish church raises money collecting newspapers and aluminum cans.

The church gets money for these things.

My question, then, is whether the City is getting money for the recycling it collects. The news this week suggests that the City is paying some people to take away what others might be willing to buy.



For Further Reading:

Pepsi Unveils First 100-Percent Recycled Soda Bottle;

Recycling Facts

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