We understand delay on recycling program, but city does need oneImplementing a recycling plan is not as simple as sorting cardboards from plastics. Although the concept seems simple, and sometimes obvious and outdated for some (seriously, it’s 2011 and we don’t have a recycling program yet?) implementing a system isn’t as easy as it may seem. At least, it isn’t easy given the city’s cup, like the James River, runneth over normal capacity.
Implementing a recycling plan is not as simple as sorting cardboards from plastics.
Although the concept seems simple, and sometimes obvious and outdated for some (seriously, it’s 2011 and we don’t have a recycling program yet?) implementing a system isn’t as easy as it may seem. At least, it isn’t easy given the city’s cup, like the James River, runneth over normal capacity.
Although we support recycling, and have for many years, we understand the city needs time to create a plan that would best fit the city. We, like the majority of respondents of two recycling surveys, await the days when we can recycle our newspapers, milk jugs and pop cans from the convenience of our own curbside. But we, and our landfill, will wait patiently. The city must prioritize and withholding the water from city infrastructure and our stretched sanitary sewer system comes first.
But the clock is ticking. Every day without a comprehensive recycling program means more material ends up in the landfill, which is expensive to maintain and doesn’t do any favors for the environment.
City Sanitation Foreman Roger Mayhew said 40 percent of what goes into the landfill could be recycled. That would extend its life, and potentially reduce city costs.
The pursuit for curbside recycling began about two years ago with the dawning of the Jamestown Recycling Task Force. Designated by the Chamber of Commerce, the goal for the dozen or so members was to research and propose a curbside plan the city could undertake. Today, the task force has disbanded, expressing frustration with the city and saying its members did all it could.
The frustration is warranted. They spent many volunteer hours on a project that has yet to come to fruition.
“Our hands are tied,” one member said.
But our hands are full, the city seems to say.
After the city let bids for a curbside recycling program, in May the council instead directed city staff to overhaul the entire garbage collection system and as part of it, also include a curbside recycling and pay-as-you-throw program. This was the right decision. It requires more time, but it is what’s best for the city.
Curbside pickup allows residents to dispose of their recyclable materials similarly to the way they throw away regular garbage. Residents would put trash out in one container and recyclable materials in another. For residents’ convenience, crews would collect both materials in the same location: each resident’s curbside.
The pay-as-you-throw system gives residents an economic incentive to recycle. It charges residents for garbage pickup based on how much trash they throw away instead of the straight $10 or so per month fee each household pays now. Under the pay-as-you-throw method, residents would not be charged to recycle. Therefore, the program encourages residents to recycle and reuse materials rather than to waste them.
Public support for a recycling program is evident based on survey responses and attendance at city meetings regarding the issue. We hope those same attendants as well as other residents and even residents outside the city, to take advantage of opportunities to recycle at Renaissance Recycling in downtown Jamestown. It’s not as convenient as curbside, and residents won’t see a discount on their utility bill, but it is a worthy cause, something surely for which our grandchildren will thank us.
We’re heard many times now how the city councils, county commissions, etc., have passed the buck, forcing today’s councils, boards, etc., to face issues at their crisis stages, rather than mitigating the problem before it becomes an emergency and a huge expense. The sanitary sewer system is an example of that. County roads are another.
We hope the landfill doesn’t become one more.
The wait for a recycling program has been a long one, albeit understandable. We just hope the city can research, plan and implement whatever program is best very soon.
(Editorials are the opinion of Jamestown Sun management and the newspaper’s editorial board)