Another Recycled Tampa Bay Times Story: Missing the Point on Failed Curbside Recycling.

It seems the Tampa Bay Times can’t get over it bias when it comes to a simple thing like reporting the news on recycling. The Times reported today that St. Petersburg curbside recycling plan is losing money for its private contractor.  Yet again, there is no serious analysis on what would make the program profitable or whether it makes economic sense for the city to implement such a program.  Instead, the Times slants the story to attack those Council members who haven’t subscribed to the curbside plan or to imply that solutions need to be found to keep the program going at all costs.  This is not serious reporting or journalism, this is another example of the Times pushing its own agenda on the “hard news” pages.  The Sun Beam Times makes no claim that we are hard news, but we will offer you something the Times won’t – some facts to consider.  We will offer stories as a counterweight to the Times that keeps its readers in the dark and implies that there is only a very limited set of choices on a narrow spectrum supporting a left-wing agenda.

WHICH ONE SAVES MORE MONEY FOR TAXPAYERS AND ACTUALLY CONVERTS MORE WASTE TO A USEFUL PRODUCT FOR A LOWER COST?  That’s correct, the waste to energy plan on the left, not the recycling bin on the right.

So let’s look at the recycling program objectively.  The question is not “how do we keep failing government-sponsored curbside recycling alive”. Rather the real question is “Should the City of St. Petersburg sponsor a curbside recycling program at all”?  After a brief analysis of simple facts, the obvious answer is no.  There appears to be only one motive for the curbside program:  to force or push people to recycle by transferring the cost to other people who do not recycle.  Those who do recycle pay about $2.75 per month to recycle.  To prop up this failing program, the City is now likely to cut the garbage collection fee for those who do recycle.  That means that those who do NOT recycle will be paying a higher fee for garbage collection.  But wait, you may say, that makes sense because it puts less in the landfill. However, the garbage that is burned actually generates money through the waste-to-energy incinerator plant (another form of recycling).  Thus people who do NOT recycle are paying more for garbage pickup AND generating more fuel and funds for the energy plant.  This means that the non-recyclers are paying for the recyclers. The recyclers are not paying their own way. If they were, the company holding the contract would be able to make a profit.  However, only about 7200 households signed up for the program and the company is likely to drop their contract.  A more realistic solution would be for the company to have prices that were more realistic.  For instance, this author VOLUNTARILY pays about $15/month to recycle, (as ordered by his higher-minded and lovely wife).  That is likely what it would take to keep the curbside program in the city – a profit for the company doing the work. (Even the Times pointed out that in the non-incorporated county, 30% of residents were voluntarily recycling and paying a higher rate to do it – you know, those “rednecks” without Fluoride in their water.) The Times wonders why any person, like Council member Danner, would pay $15/month rather than the cheaper $2.75/month.  Maybe it is because we know that that company WON’T go out of business so we know we have reliable service for years to come! Yet again, laws of economics like the laws of gravity can’t be broken: price controls cause shortages. In this case a shortage of companies willing to lose money to run a curbside recycling program in St. Petersburg.

However, what is likely to happen? Will the city end this program or find a way to prop it up? We can count on the Times running stories badgering the four city council members who – gasp – set a bad example by choosing not to spend their money on a curbside recycling program with dubious benefits.  We can count on the City council caving to pressure to keep the government-sponsored program going at all costs by transferring the cost of recycling to the rest of us through hidden fees (resorting to force as they abandon the market and freedom of choice). We can count on wasted tax payer dollars on “marketing” the program. We can count on environmentalists screaming bloody murder if they don’t get their way.  They will ridicule anyone else as “unenlightened” if they don’t adopt their utopian agenda to waste money on a recycling program.   Maybe they, the Tampa Bay Times and the elected officials should read this report from the green-agenda embracing ABC-news on how Recycling programs waste money, break the budgets of cities and fail to accomplish the green goals envisioned by such a small minority of our population.   That’s why New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg is about to save $57 million by scrapping the program for New York City.  Hopefully it won’t cost that much before the City of St. Petersburg ends their government run recycling program and leaves it to the only successful venue for such a program: the private sector.