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Look to Markets, not Bureaucrats for More Recycling

Legislative Waste Control Efforts could Prove Wasteful

IP-8-93 (March 1993)
Author: James P. McMahon

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In Brief…

Recycling in the United States has hit record levels in recent years. While market-based incentives can help drive recycling even higher, some environmentalists support increased bureaucratization and regulation as the best path to recycling.

Advocates of the bureaucratic approach will find much to like in Senate Bill 186, which would create mandatory quotas and timetables for recycling in Colorado.

While some recycling firms claim that only government-guaranteed supplies, coerced through quotas, will convince them to move to Colorado, the firms are simply asking for the same kind of guaranteed market that any firm would love to have — but shouldn’t get in free-market society.

Likewise, SB 186’s plans to have government handle negotiations and research for recycling companies inappropriately intrude government into private business.

Attracting recycling companies to our State doesn’t require government micromanagement of the recycling industry. More effective promotion of the existing tax credit for recycling — also a feature of SB 186 — provides the upside of recycling without the downside of bureaucracy.