Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Glass Recycling

In my Environmental Economics course I have a section of the class on the economics of recycling and part of that covers the economics of recycled glass.  The Wall Street Journal has a good article on the difficulties of making glass recycling economically feasible.

As the article states, there is definitely demand for recycled glass from glass manufacturers and there is plenty of supply from consumers, the problem is in the collecting, sorting and transportation of recycled glass.  Since much glass is mixed with other recyclable products or debris causing the cost of providing recycled glass to glass manufacturers to dramatically increase.

From the theory of the firm, we know that as marginal costs shift upwards, firms have a profit maximizing incentive to decrease production; and that is exactly what the article linked above is showing.  Some areas are refusing to allow glass to be collected as a recyclable or asking residents to bring the glass to a central location or just throw the glass in the trash.

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