Mayor Berry’s Recycling Plan: A Win-Win for Albuquerque

I like the way Mayor Berry is thinking about recycling. The mayor recently outlined a plan to work with private investors to construct a new $5 to $10 million recycling plant. This would hopefully boost the paltry 6% of the city’s “waste stream” that is now recycled.

While I am skeptical about the net positive impact of recycling, I am indeed a regular recycler as I take my cans, bottles, and papers to the local drop off centers around town. Given the conditions of these bins and the fact that they are regularly full, not to mention the issues the city has with recycling glass, I’m convinced the City could do better. That is where Mayor Berry comes in.

A new recycling facility would help the City expand its recycling efforts, and, by relying on the private sector, this could be done without additional expense to taxpayers. A win-win, right? Well, not if you are in organized labor.

The local AFSCME rep has concerns. He claims “We can run a facility like this inhouse that will be the most cost effective.” Really? Where were the proposals from organized labor before? Sure, the City should be open to serious proposals from organized labor as to how we can dramatically upgrade our recycling program at no cost to taxpayers. The thing is, it sounds like a new processing center is necessary and unless private funds are brought to bear, this center won’t happen.

AFSCME is the single largest contributor to political campaigns in the US, having donated more than US$38 million since 1990. Thus, they are sitting on a lot of money that they typically use to support their preferred big-government candidates. Perhaps $10 million of that could be invested in this center? I don’t know, but I think the answer here is to leverage private investment for public (taxpayer) benefit.

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