New Tax Breaks Threaten Recycling
Published in Waste News Op-Ed, August 6, 2001. A host of new subsidies to converting a wide variety of biomass-based wastes into energy were proposed in legislation during 2001; many of these policies are in the newest energy bills before Congress again during 2003. By increasing the returns for burning materials that can and often are recycled, these policies help to make burning relatively more attractive than recycling, despite the fact that recycling is often of greater environmental benefit. These policies can erode the long-term viability of recycling, and are particularly damaging at a time the industry is already under great pressure from low commodity prices and municipal budget cuts.