One Man’s Trash, Another Man’s Treasure

For my Paper 2 the organization that I am planning on studying is Lycoming County Resource Management. LCRM is owned by the Lycoming County Commissioners and is the regional waste facility for a six county region of Central Pennsylvania including Columbia, Lycoming, Montour, Northumberand, Snyder, and Union. It consists of both a landfill and a recently created state-of-the-art SingleStream recycling system. In 2010 Lycoming handled a total of 112,662 tons of waste disposal. 99,589 tons of this waste was municipal waste and 34,856 tons (35%) were recycled. I have personal experience with the LCRM from multiple environmental classes at Bucknell and they have been very great about giving tours and providing information about their functions.


One aspect of LCRM that I think is extremely interesting and gets into the topic of business ethics is the financial/business aspect of waste management. Trash is literally treasure to these people, and there is a large international business connected to the selling of recycling material specifically. LCRM calculates the cost of transporting recyclable material along with the fluctuating cost they can sell it for in order to determine whether it is more cost effective for them to sell the recyclable material or simply put it in the landfill. If the price is not enough, recyclable material will simply be wasted because it is not financially beneficial to LCRM. From this perspective LCRM is also interesting because it creates a conflict between the stakeholders of customers and citizens who are trying to recycle and indirectly reduce waste production versus shareholders who want LCRM to maximize their profits.

In relation to ethical theories I think that consequentialism and deontology can be used to analyze LCRM. Deontology would ask what the duty of LCRM is. Are they supposed to make money, simply take people’s waste off their hands, or help try to reduce waste production and protect the environment? I think that consequentialism is also applicable because it could compare the cost savings/business aspect of waste management with the environmental benefits of waste reduction to determine whether it is truly “worth it.” What are your thoughts, any improvements or recommendations?

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3 responses to “One Man’s Trash, Another Man’s Treasure

  1. Your introduce two important questions in your blog post: Are they supposed to make money, simply take people’s waste off their hands, or help try to reduce waste production and protect the environment?” It must be a result of both, Taking away waste is admirable but if it is not beneficial to our environment, than it is meaningless.


  2. I am also interested in the business models here. Ironically, seeking to reduce trash (or their overall flow) may hurt them. How do you build a business around reducing usage? Like medicine, you want to keep your patients healthy, but doing so is LESS revenue for you as a hospital.

    In appliance technologies or energy, I feel like I have seen models based on efficiencies that lead to more revenue for them.


  3. Good job on ethical theories… I love to think about what are the duties of an ethical landfill company because I think so often people think of “dirty trash” and infer to the company that handles it.


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