Sunday, August 08, 2004

The dirty truth

I don't know how I feel about this...

When Pittsburgh began fining residents earlier this year for not complying with the city's mandatory recycling law, it was venturing into relatively uncharted territory. Few Pennsylvania communities with mandatory recycling laws fine residents.

As long as it is the cities I don't care, because if you don't like it you can always move. They point out the fiscal reason for forcing people to recycle.

Costa said failing to recycle costs the city money. It's paid $11 a ton for glass, cans and plastics and $30 a ton for newspaper, Costa said. Statewide, the average cost to take municipal trash to a landfill is about $57 per ton, according to the state Department of Environmental Protection.

While America does produce huge amounts of trash, I am thing about all the time people spend sorting trash, and the extra time it takes to carry three different piles to the curb. While that time is not much per person it adds up.

You could do a cost analysis of how much time it takes and the value of that time to the individuals, but a lot of numbers would be guesses.

I have decided my biggest problem with the laws are that they are telling you how to spend you free time. The laws look at the social benefit and government cost, but not the personal time lost. In effect the laws disregard the control that you have over your free time. The government places society over the individual.

cube

update: CNN poll


Is it fair to fine people who don't recycle?
Yes 50%
33123 votes

No 50%
33343 votes

Total: 66466 votes

HAAA HAAAA HAAAA HAAA, now that is funny.

2 comments:

Andrew said...

The government places society over the individual.So?

Or, ignoring that, how about the effect that gets reflected back to the individual:

For every ton of newspapers recycled, the tax base gets to pay $30 less for equivalent city services. These services benefit the individual, and give him more free time to do other things.

They they don't have to spend their time booby-trapping their house against theives. They don't have to drive their own trash to the landfill. They don't have to stay home to teach and monitor their children.

You could do a cost analysis of how much time it takes and the value of that time to the individuals, but a lot of numbers would be guesses.Not only would that be a lot of numbers, it wouldn't account for the time saved by the individual through all the city-provided services that this policy finances. So now you have to take into account even more numbers, and it starts getting really absurd.

To pretend that recycling laws are inherently fascist seems a bit reductionist, no?

Cubicle said...

"For every ton of newspapers recycled, the tax base gets to pay $30 less for equivalent city services. "

Maybe, or maybe not. Maybe even more money could be saved or that extra money could be used in the recycling process, it would take a lot of numbers to come up with the right answer (and your answer would depend what numbers you used).


"Not only would that be a lot of numbers, it wouldn't account for the time saved by the individual through all the city-provided services that this policy finances."

Forcing people to sort their own trash to save the city money, so that the city can save people time....seems like an idea that may work, but i don't see how (the goverment ineffecenty would suck up any savings or a little bit of time/money would be lost in the steps).

Forcing people to sort their own trash to save the city money is a hidden time tax.

Which since i prefer my taxes to be as low as possible and as visible as possible, i really don't like the idea.