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Recycle This!

Separating tin cans and pizza boxes and exposing the facts about the High Church of Recycling.

11:00 PM, Jan 25, 2006 • By JAMES THAYER
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Why then do we go to all this trouble for so little--or no--reward? Lehr says it's because "we get a warm and fuzzy feeling when we recycle." Richard Sandbrook who was executive director of the International Institute for Environment and Development, said, "Environmentalists refuse to countenance any argument which undermines their sacred cow."

The Seattle Times concludes, "Recycling is almost a religion in Seattle." An irrational religion, says Professor Frank Ackerman, who specializes in environment policy at Tufts University. But his arguments cut little weight here in the Northwest. We attend the church of recycling, where perfervid faith compensates for lack of factual support.

Seattle Public Utilities estimates that 1 in 10 garbage bins will contain too much recyclable material, and so will be left full on the curb. Hauler Elias Rohas said they aren't hard to spot. "We can tell right away," he told the Times. He said the sound of glass is unmistakable, and that paper adds bulk without weight. "You can tell even when it's in the bag."

James Thayer is a frequent contributor to The Daily Standard. His twelfth novel, The Gold Swan, has been published by Simon & Schuster.