How should we recycle?Editor's note: The county...

Letters to the editor

July 05, 1992

How should we recycle?

Editor's note: The county commissioners have ordered private trash haulers to pick up recyclable material from residential customers starting July 1. Apart from some towns, residents are encouraged but not required to sort out recyclables. The immediate aim is to begin complying with state law, which requires counties to recycle a percentage of their solid waste. The commissioners also want to reduce the amount of trash going into the landfills. We have asked our readers if they think recycling is a good idea, if they recycle, if recycling should be mandatory and if the commissioners should contract for countywide trash pickup. Here are some of their responses:

From: Deborah Frazier


Recycling is now a necessity.

Our household recycles everything it possibly can.

Yes, recycling should be mandatory. There are too many people out there who just don't care about our environment, and the only way to get them to recycle is to make it mandatory.

Yes, the commissioners should contract for county-wide trash pickup because it would cost less and everyone would be

dealing with the same trash hauler.


From: Mark Eastman


Thank you for the opportunity to put forth my opinions on recycling. My family and I recently moved to Eldersburg from northern New Jersey and I must tell you we were surprised at the indifference to recycling we encountered here.

I can tell you that breaking the habit of recycling was not only difficult, it increased our trash output by about 75 percent. Let me address the questions in your ballot individually.

Is recycling a good idea?

Yes. As I indicated above, my family has reduced the amount of non-reusable trash by 60 percent to 75 percent by recycling.

However, recycling is not the only solution. We should all be more careful about how the things we buy are packaged and try to buy in bulk where possible.

Do you recycle?

Yes. Everything possible.

Should recycling be mandatory?

Yes. But let's stay away from trying to impose monetary fines on those who refuse to recycle. A much more effective method is to tell the haulers to leave the trash in the container if it contains recyclables, with a sticker or note explaining why it wasn't picked up.

For most people, this is enough to wake them up and make them recycle.

Should the commissioners contract for countywide trash pickup to make collection and recycling more efficient?

No. Absolutely not. Having experience as a local recycling/solid waste coordinator and town councilman in New Jersey, I can tell

you that government should not be in the business of trash collection, and that is what will happen.

Something as simple as getting your garbage picked up should be kept out of the bureaucratic entanglements of government wherever possible.

This ensures that the public is getting the best price by encouraging competition between the haulers. The hauler who delivers the easiest way to dispose of trash while meeting the recycling requirements at the lowest price will get the most business (ahh! capitalism!).

The real trick to making a recycling program successful is threefold:

* Education -- Get the message out and give people time to adjust (but not too long).

* Make it easy -- Allow for co-mingling of recyclables (glass, tin, aluminum, plastic) and carefully define what can and can't be recycled. Also, try to keep the schedule for pickup of recycling coincident with trash pickup.

* Make it cost effective -- If government has a real job here, it is to monitor the haulers in your area and ensure that they are not producing excessive profits from a recycling operation.

Remember, they are not only charging the customers for the additional tipping fees, but many are selling the more valuable recyclables at a profit.

People are generally adverse to paying for something that is an inconvenience to them in the first place, so we must keep the contractors honest and keep driving home the environmental message.

One last important message: Contact your senators and representatives and let them know you recycle. Encourage them to fund research projects that find new ways to use recycled materials.

Without this effort, we will be burdened with more recycled material than we can use and we will have two problems, not just one.


From: Patricia A. Fortney


Your question on recycling prompted me to write, as I fear the county is not responding as fully as it should to this major issue.

Recycling is an idea whose time has come and must for the sake of our future be acted upon quickly and decisively. Carroll County has long been known as the home of people who are caring and careful, people who are frugal.

One can no longer be caring if one does not care about what is happening to our environment, nor careful of our resources if one does not use them wisely -- namely re-use or recycle -- nor frugal if one does not conserve our vital land space and resources.

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