Scott Saunders doesn't have a problem with free markets where the highest bidder gets the material. But the director of raw material procurement and sales for KW Plastics of Troy doesn't understand how municipalities can justify using taxpayer money to collect material that ends up being shipped overseas when domestic manufacturers are ``starving for that material.''
``Municipal and state government think they are doing a great job of recycling materials,'' said Saunders, who works for the largest domestic recycler of high density polyethylene. ``But what they are actually doing is using taxpayer money to prepare this material and then their bales get shipped to a country where there are no environmental protections and very little safety and health regulations.
``How can they justify supplying materials to companies in countries that they would not let operate in their own communities? I don't see how they justify that.''
Saunders said he understands many government contracts require materials be sold to the highest bidder. But he said ``they could certainly qualify it and award points for abiding by the rules and regulations of the United States'' - similar to the way Congress now is insisting International Labor Organization principles be part of any future free-trade agreements.
``The demand in the United States for recycling material is higher than our ability to get supply,'' he said. ``How would the citizens in their states and communities react if they knew that the bottles and containers they recycle to preserve our natural resources were being shipped overseas?''