15 Urb. St. & Loc. L. Newsl. 1 (1991-1992)

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Section of Urban, State and Local Government Law



           aLOCAL LAW

           The Section serves as a collegial forum for its members, the profession and the public to provide
           leadership and educational resources in urban, state and local government law and policy.

Government Recycling Objectives Frustrated

                        by Lack of Demand*

                  By John J. Copelan, Jr. and Melissa P. Anderson

  On a national scale, recycling has emerged as one
of the hottest topics of local government concern and
challenge. Local governments in Florida, for exam-
ple, must reduce by 30 percent the flow of solid waste
to solid waste disposal facilities by 1994 pursuant to
a legislative mandate in the Solid Waste Manage-
ment Act adopted in 1987.1 Since that time, many
Florida local governments have implemented recy-
cling programs of various natures to meet this state
mandate. Recycling refers to the total process of di-
verting a collected solid waste, separating it into us-
able materials, and processing those materials into a
new finished product which is usable.2 Recycling does
not occur, however, from collection alone, and until
actual marketplace use of the goods occurs, there is
collection but no recycling.'
  Recycling is market driven, and recycling pro-
grams will not work unless there are economically
feasible and stable markets for the material re-
covered.4 As the chair of the National Association of
Counties' Environment, Energy and Land Use Steer-
ing Committee has nicely summed it up, To have
  *This article was adapted from a paper presented to the Florida
Association of Counties 62nd Annual Conference and Educational
Exposition, June 19-21, 1991, Orlando, FL.

a real recycling program, we must take a macro ap-
proach that not only mandates the amount of mate-
rial to be pulled out of the waste stream but one that
also includes its processing, transport to markets and,
finally, promotion of its reuse in marketable prod-
ucts.5 Recycling programs, therefore, are competi-
tive business operations and recyclables are
commodities with markets that often fluctuate with
the economy.6
  Although many recycling programs have achieved
a measure of success, one barrier to a highly effective
and economical recycling program for local govern-
ments is a poor and worsening market for raw re-
cyclable solid waste, such as old newspaper,
aluminum, glass, and plastic. As more and more local
governments institute recycling programs, the mate-
rials collected by local governments have created a
glut in the market for recyclable solid waste. For
instance, the price for old newsprint in Broward
County plummeted from $10 a ton to zero in 1990.
In other words, the county was giving away old
newspaper for a period.7 Also, the technology for con-
verting raw recyclable solid waste8 into new and vi-
able products which can compete with products made
                            (continued on page 14)

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Basic Airport Law
',/ November 12-13, 1991, Washington, DC
Trial of a Land Use Case
V/ December 9-10, 1991, New York, NY
V January 16-17, 1992, Los Angeles, CA
  February 10-11, 1992, Orlando, FL

ABA Midyear Meeting
  February 1-2, 1991, Dallas, TX

  Section Spring Meeting
  April 30-May 3, 1992, Cancun, Mexico

Please pullout,
fillout, and
return the
with this

Chair's Message, page 2
Committees and Officers, page 3
Membership Proposal Calls for Input,
  page 5
Developers' Fee Not an
  Unconstitutional Taking, page 6
Is Political Affiliation Required for
  Appointed Position?, page 7
EPA Addresses Municipal Issues,
  page 9
Supreme Court Watch, page 10
Washington's Labyrinthine Ways,
  page 12
Section Survey, pullout insert

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Vol. 15, No. 1, Fall 1991

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