Economics lesson: How to know what is a resource with value and what is trash

I’m no liberal and neither is Mrs. TeeJaw. But we recycle. We conservatives do not like to be wasteful, after all. If something we would otherwise throw into the trash can be recycled into something useful, then by all means we should recycle it. This should not be a political issue, right?

It is an economic issue. How do we know whether something is recyclable, in which case it is a resource having some value, even if it’s only a small value? After all, if we’re putting trash into the recycling bin we are accomplishing nothing, except making ourselves feel good or something. Thinking it through, it makes no sense to try to recycle trash. By definition, it’s trash. It has no value. It can’t be used for anything. A recyclable resource is not trash, it has value. It can be converted into something that other people will pay for.

Aha. I’ve hit on how to tell the difference. Trash is something you must pay others to haul away for you. A resource is something that others will pay you for. If the value per unit is very small, at least they will take if off your hands for free so they can gather lots of it and recycle all of it into something they can sell at a profit.

I have two big green bins that I put out for the trash truck. One is all green, that’s for trash. The other one has a yellow top, it’s for the recyclable stuff. I’m charged separately for each bin. The trash bin is one amount, and the yellow bin costs me another $15. I’m paying them to take away my recyclables.

I should just put it all in the green bin. It’s all just trash. Recycling, at least at the household level, is just another liberal scam.

Mrs. TeeJaw says we have to keep doing it lest the neighbors think we’re white trash.

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