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Angela Logomasini - Trash Counterproductive Waste Disposal Policies

Angela Logomasini - Trash Counterproductive Waste Disposal Policies

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Published by: Competitive Enterprise Institute on Dec 21, 2010
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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202-331-1010 www.cei.org Competitive Enterprise Institue
Trash Counterproductive Waste DisposalPolicies
Solid waste.
Much of the nation’s cur-rent solid waste policies follow an outdated,politicized, and government-centered model.State and local regulators focus on decidinghow much waste should be recycled, placedin landfills, or burned in incinerators. This ap-proach fails to discover the most environmen-tally and economically sound mix of options.Policy makers lack the necessary informationand therefore focus on misplaced perceptionsabout the various disposal options. As a re-sult, they produce recycling programs that costmore than they save and use more resourcesthan they save. In contrast, private sector com-petition between recycling, landfilling, andincineration produces a market that reducescosts and saves resources.Federal policy makers should resist attempts
to increase federal regulation in solid wastedisposal.Local governments should seek ways to in-
crease private markets in the waste disposalindustry.They should change waste policies to allow
market-driven competition between vari-ous disposal options—allowing recycling,landfilling, and incineration companies tocomplete so that the most environmentallyand economically sound mixture of disposaloptions results.
Electronic waste.
Increasingly, news reportsand environmental activists claim that we arefacing a new solid waste crisis. As a result of such rhetoric, Europe has passed several “e-waste” laws, U.S. states have begun lookinginto their own regulations, and members of Congress have proposed federal legislation.Unfortunately, misinformation and the mis-guided notion that government is positioned toimprove electronic waste disposal is leading tomisguided policies and legislation.Despite claims to the contrary, there is no
“e-waste crisis.” E-waste risks and costs aremanageable by allowing private recyclingand disposal efforts to continue.Manufacturers should not be forced to take
back electronic equipment, since they are inthe manufacturing—not disposal—business.Some firms have voluntary programs forrecycling computers, which offer a market-based approach for some products.Congress should avoid creating new gov-
ernment e-waste programs, as they promiseto promote inefficiencies, increase environ-mental problems, and hinder market solu-tions.Consumers should not be taxed when they
purchase computers or other electronics,but they should be responsible for dispos-ing of discarded products in a safe and legal

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