The Corner

For Earth’s Sake, Don’t Recycle So Much

Every year state governments spend millions of our tax dollars on recycling, but there comes a point where it’s no longer obvious that it makes much sense economically or for the environment. According to the Washington Examiner:

Some national recycling experts have begun calling for government restraint in trash recycling, which can be more costly and environmentally damaging than dumping.

“We just assume recycling is always better,” said J. Winston Porter, president of the Waste Policy Center, an environmental consulting and policy organization. “But there’s a point at which you shouldn’t just recycle for recycling’s sake.”

And it’s not as if Porter is a libertarian recycling skeptic like I am. He is a former policy administrator for the Environmental Protection Agency who helped set the federal government’s first nationwide recycling targets. Here he is again:

“People want to recycle and it makes them feel good, and it should,” he said. “But don’t just assume that everything you do is going to be good for the environment, or make sense economically, because that’s just not true.”

Here is George Mason University’s Bryan Caplan on “The Economics of Recycling,” and here is GMU’s Don Boudreaux on the same issue. More here.

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