Recycling CampaignI am writing this letter both to explain...

LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

July 04, 1992

Recycling Campaign

I am writing this letter both to explain a critical campaign for comprehensive recycling measures sponsored by Maryland Public Interest Research Group (MaryPIRG), and to describe the importance of door-to-door canvassing in such a campaign.

First, MaryPIRG has launched a Reduced, Reuse, & Recycle Campaign.

As a nation, we produce one billion pounds of trash each day. Only 10 percent of that is recycled. That means our landfills are overflowing and taxpayer money is being wasted on an outmoded system of solid waste disposal.

The solid waste crisis represents a direct affront to common decency and our ability to clean up after ourselves, a principle we should have learned in kindergarten.

The major reason our recycling rate is the lowest in the industrialized world rests in the lack of a market for the recyclable items citizens are presently separating. Citizens are overwhelmingly participating in curbside and voluntary recycling programs. Yet county governments and private haulers find themselves paying to have the recyclable items taken away because manufacturers are not providing the needed demand and using those items.

Thus citizen efforts end up going to waste in warehouses or, even worse, in landfills and incinerators. Increasingly, governments are considering a tax on individual citizens to make up the loss of expected income from selling recycled materials, and trash haulers are increasing their pick-up fees.

The critical thing for citizens to realize is that without a market for recycled materials and increased participation, citizens will pay for recycling programs, landfills or incinerators. Thus, we need a comprehensive recycling program.

In order to address this crisis, MaryPIRG is pushing for three specific amendments to the federal Resource Conservation and Recovery Act, which comes up for renewal this year.

First, as a nation, we must adopt a national bottle bill (a beverage container deposit law) similar to those in nine states. In the states that have bottle bills, 85 to 95 percent of beverage containers are returned and roadside litter has been reduced 40 percent. We also must adopt a national recycled-content standard for paper products. This would mandate that packagers, newspapers, etc. use 50 percent post-consumer recycled material by the year 2000. This would help to create the badly needed market.

Finally, we must enact a moratorium on all new incinerators until the year 2000 because they undermine recycling efforts. Besides releasing toxic emissions and ash that must be landfilled, incinerators promote solid waste production and burn recyclable items. As long as incineration is an option for solid waste disposal, the wings of recycling programs are clipped.

MaryPIRG canvassers will be walking door-to-door talking to people, gathering signatures and membership contributions. MaryPIRG canvassers must not be confused with myriad salespersons. Without canvassers, citizen concerns will not be heard and we will remain ignorant of critical issues.

If citizens do not participate in a citizens movement, both the movement and citizen concerns will die at the steps of the Capitol. To quote a button I wear when talking to people, "We cannot change unless we survive, but we will not survive unless we change."

Jered Ebenrick

Prince Frederick

Prohibition Folly

In the classic 1930s film, "Key Largo," there's a scene in which the oncoming hurricane is building as Rocco (Edward G. Robinson) and his band of big city hoods nervously wait out the storm's fury in an old hotel.

Frightened of forces that they cannot control, they try to make conversation among themselves, conjuring up the most idyllic scenario imaginable to soothe their jangled nerves.

"Prohibition is coming back," one hopefully predicts. Rocco agrees, "The mobs made some mistakes last time. Too much shooting and killing of each other. We'll be smarter this time, get together and divide things up peacefully." What a wonderful world for a gangster!

In The Sun on June 25 is the following quote: "It's sad, it's so sad. Innocent babies are the ones that are paying for this world of drugs." This in response to the random killing of a three-year-old child caught by a wild shot as he stood in front of his house.

The horror of such incidents diminishes as they become ever so commonplace in our city.

It seems that the criminals have become so much smarter as they kill each other and anyone else unfortunate enough to be in the line of fire. However, our leadership has become much

dumber.

The American public has been propagandized relentlessly so that we may accept the incredible cost in resources and lives as a consequence of this misguided "war on drugs."

What makes it even more ludicrous is the purpose of this exercise. Not to "rid our society of drugs," as is so often stated, but simply to tell us which drugs we can use.

The drug problem in our country is really the Prohibition problem, which we figured out 60 years ago and have since forgotten.

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