Keywords: industrial loops, municipal recycling, scrap material dealers, secondary materials, iron, steel, glass, plastic, aluminium, cloth, market agents, municipal programmes, New York City, industrial ecology
Recycling is not garbage: market agents and municipal recycling in New York City
Regulatory mechanisms for post-consumer recycling have come under criticism over the past decade. This essay considers the perceived flaws of New York City's recycling programmes and offers a discussion of the role one set of market agents, scrap material dealers, has played (both since the 19th century and presently) in closing industrial loops may illuminate the strengths and limitations of market approaches. This essay addresses the history by considering recent criticisms of municipal recycling practices in New York City, the effectiveness of scrap firms in improving those practices, and a discussion of what scrap firms do and do not do to close industrial loops.