Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Letter to City Manager Sculley: Recycling

Here’s a letter to the City Manager of San Antonio regarding the City’s new mandate to increase recycling opportunities and recycle 60% of all collected garbage.

Dear City Manager Sculley,

I’m writing today in regards to San Antonio’s recently adopted improved recycling initiative.  On your blog, you recently wrote, “The strategic goals in the ‘Pathways to Zero Waste’ Plan are to ensure that all single-family and multi-family residents have access to convenient recycling programs, to improve recycling opportunities for businesses and schools, and to recycle 60 percent of all material collected by the City’s Solid Waste Management Department.”

I’m curious. Why has the City adopted the goal of recycling 60% of all material collected?  Why not 75%?  I mean, if recycling, a time-honored municipal activity, provides all the environmental and social benefits ascribed by most environmentally-sensitive city leaders, why not institute a policy to recycle ALL collected waste?

Of course, I’m speaking a little tongue-in-cheek, as not all trash is recyclable.  And while I still would like to know the methodology employed by the Council to arrive at this neat, round number, I would like to touch on another aspect of recycling: the economics.

Is recycling, as administered by the City of San Antonio, a profitable enterprise?  If so, I shall conclude my comments and wish you the best.  However, if our recycling program mirrors that of other municipalities, it is not economically efficient, and thus, a burden to the taxpayer.  So, my question then becomes, why expand a money-losing enterprise?

I look forward to your reply.

Brad D.

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