Letter: Recycling program needs more thought

Editor:

I am responding to Dustin Gardiner’s article (“Recycling plan carries $310,000 price tag: Proposal would expand program campus-wide,” Feb. 12). Being one who fancies recycling, it would be quite prudent prior to the authorization approval of the $310,000 to consider the following suggestion.

First, set up a center for the study of recycling economics. Recycling involves “feedstock for spec,” thus the same market economics that affect corn affect-say, newsprint. I will predict with a fair amount of certainty that if the U puts down the money first that a yearly subsidy will be needed to keep this program afloat.

Do not get me wrong: Recycling is a fine way for a society to proceed, but the market forces of supply and demand MUST be appreciated. Most recycling projects have failed economically; I do not know of any that pay their own way! Let us, the U, STUDY the market first. It needs notation that for such a project to break above break even, the concept of STORAGE of recyclables on an ONGOING basis again MUST be part of the equation for success. I want the U to do recycling in a serious way that has a black bottom line. If the U proceeds without a market study of these commodities, failure is a GIVEN!

Remember: Whether it is winter wheat, crude oil, used tires, cardboard stock or perhaps frozen wombats, there is a standard procedure for determining the market value. By market definition, I hope to focus on the LOCAL markets, but other markets might prove more fiscally feasible, especially on a contractual basis.

Richard Goldberger

Senior, Film Studies