5/06/2008

No-sort recycling is the way to go. I hope the 27-town Concord Regional Solid Waste/Resource Recovery Cooperative decides to invest $11 million in new technology that will allow us to recycle solid waste without separating it into three or four separate containers.

Junk is a $65 billion industry that employs 50,000 people in this country, Newsweek magazine reported last year. We send $6.7 billion of it – car bodies, discarded metals and all kinds of paper, plastics and other stuff – to China. That’s more than anything else China buys from us except aerospace products, Newsweek said. They use our junk to manufacture the junk they sell back to us.

In the past, two things have prevented recycling from becoming much more than a feel-good activity for environmentalists and a miniscule revenue source for municipalities: It cost too much to transport the junk from where it is to the buyer, and people hated separating their solid garbage.

Now that junk is worth a lot of money, and corporations are making a profit from buying it, transporting it and selling it for re-use. With no-sort recycling, those businesses or municipalities will make money separating our junk; we won’t have to do it for them for free.

Everybody will win: Cities and towns will make money, we’ll bury less junk in landfills and save money on new landfills. A new recycling industry will create good American jobs, and we’ll make a little dent in our overseas trade deficit.

I’m sure that $11 million will pay for itself many times over.

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