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Free Market Or Government Monopoly: Fruit Heights Recycling Options

May 10, 2013
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I recently got the freebie Davis County Clipper paper delivered.  Normally, I just toss it but this time I opened it and an article (titled “Recycler faces off against Fruit Heights“) had me laughing and enjoying the initiative taken by Josh Hughes with Mountain West Curbside Recycling.

Up to this point, the free market allowed Hughes to provide the service to willing participants.  However, Fruit Heights decided to foist residents with a government coordinated recycling plan and handed the monopoly contract to Robinson Waste.  Everyone gets a bill you unless they opt-out.  That is better than Bountiful and other Davis County Cities’ forced recycling gambit, but it shows how government and special interests will team to force their pet projects on all.  Imagine if a business started charging you for a product they decided was good for you…they usually get a visit from Consumer Protection and/or law enforcement.

Undeterred, Hughes said he would match the contract price and placed his bins (including instruction for opting out of the city program) at Fruit Heights homes with his offer (unlike the city, allowing residents to choose to accept it or not) before the city placed their bins out.  He also offered better service with extra pick-up days and donating part of the profit to parks and trails.

So far, Hughes has 800 (of 1,500) homes opting out of the government program and “multiplied our business by a few times, at least”.   This has the city scrambling to figure out what to do as lower involvement in their program increases cost or may terminate the program (60% must participate).  Most poignantly, was the Mayor’s statement demonstrating why government should stay clear of nosing in on the private marketplace:

Usually when there are competitors in a marketplace, everyone wins because prices come down.

One warning for Hughes and Fruit Heights residents:

Government gets fickle when it loses and will use power to win.  Bountiful, is a perfect demonstration – they quickly, and underhandedly, changed their recycling opt-out program to a mandatory program….after the majority of survey respondents opposed the program.  Then get ready for fee increases.

Here’s hoping that won’t happen and residents pick free market (Mountain West Curbside Recycling) over government-endorsed monopoly.

Edit: Added link to Clipper report and link to Bountiful recycling survey results (56% opposed).  Also fixed some grammatical errors…my English teachers would be so ashamed.

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