To the editor:
In Washington state the recycle rate is 49 percent. But here on Whidbey Island, with all our do-gooders and everyone saying we live in such a special place, it’s a disappointing 32 percent. Whidbey is surrounded by counties with curbside. Snohomish County, Skagit County, Jefferson County and San Juan County have all voted for curbside recycling. Camano Island and the city of Oak Harbor have curbside recycling. Coupeville is about to start picking it up at the curb.
Why does the rest of Whidbey Island keep voting it down? Curbside recycling is how cities and counties increase their recycle rate. Curbside recycling on Whidbey is long overdue.
People think it will be too expensive and I can understand the families that are having a hard time making ends meet. But the ones who have the most garbage for pickup will benefit the most and here’s how. If you put two garbage cans out on the curb for weekly pickup, you are currently paying $25.12 a month. If we get curbside recycling it will cost about $11 more, totaling $36.12 a month. But if you separate the garbage from the recyclables, you can downsize to one can every other week which costs $13.38, and you’d save $11.74.
If you need help doing this call the WSU Waste Wise program coordinator who would be happy to help you. Or check out the DVD from the library called “Slash the Trash and Save Some Cash” (part of the Sustainable Living Seminar Series). Recycling makes “cents.”
For those who haul your garbage and recyclables to the county collection sites, you can save money on gas and vehicle maintenance. Save the time it takes to sort it and haul it to the dump. It will cost you more for the convenience of having curbside, but you’ll save room by removing all the separate containers in the garage, or worry about the garbage spilling in your car, or lids flying out of the back of your truck, or pay for the gas at about $4 per gallon.
All the recyclables will go into one container, except glass. Glass is the troublemaker of recyclables. It’s heavy so it costs more to transport, and it breaks, which clogs the recycling equipment and cuts paper fibers. Removing glass from the recycle container makes the other recyclables more valuable. If you’re a really good do-gooder you will haul your glass to recycle centers separately. Or you could throw it in the garbage. Glass comes from sand. It’s non-toxic and won’t harm the environment unless it’s mixed into recyclables.
Curbside recycling has come up for a vote by the county commissioners before, but this time it will pass with your support. And when it does I will celebrate with all of those who voted for it by raising my aluminum can high in salute. Join me on Thursday, Dec. 20, at 1 p.m. at the county commissioners’ meeting room to urge them to vote yes for curbside.