Benefits of recycling lost on Waste Board members
Two members of our Solid Waste Authority Board here in Del Norte County, Michael Sullivan and Roger Gitlin, have characterized recycling as “extracurricular stuff” and “bells and whistles” and a third member, Mary Wilson, has agreed. Accordingly, and against the urging of a score or more of ratepayers appearing before the board, they have determined to impair our recycling program “to save money.” They could hardly be more mistaken. The truth is that recycling is not only imperative, it is saving ratepayers more money every year, as recycling increases and recycled material handlers absorb that reusable waste instead of having it hauled off at considerable expense to be buried in Oregon.
Case in point: last month our household went from a 32-gallon garbage can, at $25.44 a month, to a 20-gallon can, at $20.34 a month. We found this necessary because week after week recently our garbage can has been less than half full, while we could barely contain all the recyclable material in a 32-gallon can. Many more mini garbage cans have recently appeared in our neighborhood.
That change in cost is directly due to a program carried out by Waste Authority staff over the past few years to inform the community of ever-increasing recycling opportunities and to make them available to us. This is easily documented by looking at the recent history of recycling in our county. And rates are lower here than anywhere else in the region.
This is a reflection of a larger, growing problem: If the U.S. model — whereby 4 percent of the world’s population wastes 25 percent of the world’s energy and resources and pollutes the world by the same 25 percent — were to be followed everywhere else, we would all suffocate in no time at all. This is why it is necessary to set a policy that can be a model for the rest of the world to emulate, and to qualify all future resource use on our planet as sustainable and recyclable use.
With the exception of commissioners Holley and Gastineau, those on the present board fail to see how important and actually how economical this is for all of us.
We need a board majority controlling local waste stream policies who understand this basic imperative and who will get behind it.
Thank you to Elks, others who put on Banton showThank you to the Crescent City Elks Lodge for hosting the Pato Banton show on Wednesday. I am grateful to the Elks Lodge, the band, volunteers and everyone involved for putting on this show. The message was positive, unifying and uplifting. Also, the music was great.