Thursday, March 29, 2007

Recycling Failure

Once again, the city is gearing up to promote recycling, and once again, they simply won't take no for an answer. As the NY Times reports this morning, in a lead that has become boringly boilerplate, "Looking to boost sagging recycling rates..." With the city's municipal recycling program it appears that nothing succeeds like failure.

We've been through the same litany time and time again and it certainly feels stale; "Part of the anemic participation, critics say, stems from the city's ambivalent approach to recycling over the years." Maybe the real ambivalence lies with the citizens of the city who feel none of the burning commitment to the effort that the recycling acolytes demonstrate. As one resident told the paper, "It doesn't make a big difference to me if I recycle or not."

Our respondent may be forced to re-evaluate his nonchalance, however, if the city's determined recycling bureaucrats are given their way. If they are, we can imagine that they will begin to emulate the DOH approach-force people to be healthier! Certainly the Bloombergian Nanny mindset is to fine until they whine.

The Times points to another problem with the program, the existence of hundreds of high rise apartment buildings that are difficult to organize for meaningful recycling compliance. As a Ms. Palermo told the Times, it is difficult to recycle at home because her building doesn't supply bins. But even if it did, would that insure compliance?

One wonders when, if ever, the city will try another approach to waste reduction. When do we simply throw in the towel and say that this entire system is just not cost-effective? If our dedicated environmental saviors have any say the answer is-never. There will always be a reason that lies outside of the assumptions of the program itself that will be blamed for the failure of the rates to rise to a level that Eric Goldstein could be proud of.