Rethinking Recycling Incentives

September 24, 2013

photo by Jackie (Sister72)

photo by Jackie via Flickr

We’ve talked before about how one of the best ways to get people to recycle is to provide them with an incentive. Here, we pay cash in exchange for old electronics, jewelry, etc. Our rates are based on the current market prices of precious metals, and we provide free shipping labels in order to make the entire process as easy as possible. As a result, we have been a leading choice for precious metal refining in the United States, and we have proudly served both the public and private sectors for over 30 years.

Along the same lines, a number of states provide an incentive for recycling beverage containers. A deposit is included in the price of beverages, and when you return the containers for recycling, you get your deposit back. In most places, that deposit is exactly $0.05 per bottle or can.

The majority of these “bottle bills” were enacted in the 1970s when the cost of living was lower, and thus the 5-cent incentive to recycle your bottles was significant; but today, the value of a nickel has declined 83%. If the bottle bill deposits were tied to inflation, they would now have hit almost 30 cents per can—or $1.80 for a six-pack. It’s still not a lot, but it’s a lot more enticing than $0.30.

As it currently stands, states that charge a 5-cent deposit have redemption rates that range from 61 to 90 percent. But in Michigan, where residents receive double that amount for their empty bottles and cans, the rate is 95%. And because 4 out of the 10 states that have enacted such laws restrict the deposits to containers of alcoholic beverages and soda, Slate’s Daniel Engber argues that increasing the deposit could both increase recycling and deter consumption of unhealthy products. In addition, the recycling industry and the state would benefit from increased shares of unclaimed deposits.

But regardless of incentives, recycling old and unwanted—but still valuable—materials is always a good decision. To properly dispose of electronic scrap and recycling your precious metals, print your free shipping label and send them to CJ Environmental today.

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