Opinion

EDITORIAL | Don’t rush on recycling program

One of the more colorful terms in politics is “lame duck,” the phrase used to describe a politician serving out his or her term after being defeated in election. Having been shot down in the election, lame ducks usually lose some of their ability to fly high and instead wobble across the finish line with ruffled feathers.

Because they do not have to answer to voters again, lame ducks should sit back and refrain from helping to implement any costly new programs. Leave that kind of stuff to the elected successor.

The lame duck on the Board of Island County Commissioners is Angie Homola, who is pursuing a curbside recycling program in the unincorporated areas of the county that looks like it will be costly to homeowners, particularly seniors who produce very little garbage. The county put out a “make me an offer” proposal and got a response from only one firm, that being the present provider, Waste Connections, which locally still goes by the quaint name of Island Disposal.

Waste Connections operates differently than Island Disposal when it was locally owned. Island Disposal ran its own recycling operation, hiring folks who otherwise probably couldn’t get a job to separate recyclables from garbage at the county’s main transfer site. Waste Connections, Inc., a multi-billon dollar company with operations in 29 states, did not continue that program, so recycling was stopped, other than that done by the thousands of Whidbey Island residents who care about the environment. They do their own recycling at county transfer locations or the privately operated Island Recycling in Freeland.

The details of the Waste Connections proposal were printed in Wednesday’s Record and more will follow. But the bottom line is it could be a costly proposition for many islanders trying to survive in a hostile economic environment.

Homola should back away from her pet project to reduce the county’s “carbon footprint.” We have no idea what her successor, Jill Johnson, thinks about the program, but she’s the one who should start making the big decisions in January.

Homola should not be pushing to adopt this program before she leaves office. Take a long Thanksgiving break. Spend a couple of weeks in Hawaii over Christmas. Her heavy lifting in Island County should be over.

 

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