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Caring for the Environment

Regarding the Habitat page articles "Community Recycling Reduces Trash Trail," and "Recycling Glut: Too Much Supply," June 18: Government collection programs have collected more materials than private firms will buy, primarily because of high prices due to collection and proces- sing costs. However, the answer provided in your coverage - government mandates - is misguided.

The costs represent the fuel used to collect and transport these goods, as well as water and energy used to process them. In that case, mandating that firms buy materials - regardless of the price - may lead to recycling that actually uses more resources than it saves.

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Despite these obstacles, recycling is productive in many cases. Unfortunately, the government's approach has created problems and may waste resources because it ignores market forces. Better options exist. Angela Logomasini, Washington Director of Solid Waste Policy, Citizens for the Environment

Letters are welcome. Only a selection can be published, subject to condensation, and none acknowledged. Please address them to "Readers Write," One Norway St., Boston, MA 02115.

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