Legal questions in the marginal field of economy and ecology

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So far the investigation has concentrated on the prospects of utilising scrap cars and old appliances chiefly for economic reasons. The concept of utilisation in fact includes the idea of value, and also the profitability of the process. If a thing has no value, it cannot be put to valuable use. As regards the refuse of a civilised society this is in no way a commonplace; here the connection between ecological necessity and economic prospects becomes apparent, making refuse disposal so difficult even at a political level. Refuse which can usefully be turned to account is no longer refuse, it is an economic asset. Now the materials discussed here may be economic assets today, as they fetch very good prices on the scrap market or even the second-hand market e which fully cover the costs of collection and preparation, and still leave some profit; tomorrow they could be refuse wanted by no-one, if there is no possibility of gaining adequate returns. Only then do the ecological dangers emerge; only then is there an increasing temptation to dispose of cars or old appliances surreptitiously or dump them in gravel pits. Precisely when the proceeds from scrap are very low, the owner of an old car has to persuade a scrap dealer to take it away by paying him enough to cover the costs of stripping it. There have already been phases in the market when scrap dealers have refused to take old cars even when the owners have made them generous offers.


Federal Republic Refuse Disposal Economic Asset Domestic Appliance Noise Abatement 
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© ECSC, EEC, EAEC, Luxembourg 1978

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