The CFACT chapter at Vanderbilt University took an informative tour of a privately operated recycling center in Nashville, TN on April 17th. The students were welcomed by the city recycling coordinator who led the tour while speaking about the benefits of recycling and the ability of private companies, like Waste Management, to provide the service more cost-effectively and efficiently than the city could.
Of particular interest to the students of CFACT was the fact that a well-run recycling program can save the city, and therefore the taxpayers, valuable tax income. While the city of Nashville must pay landfill companies upwards of thirty dollars per ton to dump waste, companies like Waste Management are willing to pay nearly the same amount to the city in order to collect and sort recyclables to be sold for profit.
In addition to saving taxpayer dollars, recycling also provides benefits to energy producers. When making new products from recycled materials the energy needed is significantly less than that required when making new products from raw materials. Reducing user demand frees up energy on the grid for use by Nashville businesses and homes.
At the completion of the tour, the recycling coordinator shared some local businesses who make a conscientious effort to contribute to the cycle of recycling. Recycling is a multi-billion dollar a year industry that boosts the economy through the sale of recycled materials and the goods produced from them, as well as industry jobs ranging from material collectors, sorters, and manufacturers. In an effort to support this trend the chapter finished the day by enjoying a meal together at a local restaurant known for their recycling initiative.