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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR | Rural Whidbey not ready for curbside
To the editor:
First off, let it be known that my husband, David, has been running Island Recycling for more than 33 years; I myself have been part of it for 22. Anything we say could be interpreted as “sour grapes” so we have been pretty quiet about the curbside recycling issue.
We are stubbornly holding on to our belief that most of Whidbey Island (excluding Oak Harbor; it is densely populated and already has curbside) is still too rural to have a curbside recycling program work out for the environmental good. It’s nice for so many people — the convenience and the warm, fuzzy feeling about recycling. But those same people have the luxury of not taking in the considerable “footprint” big trucks with 4 or 5 miles to the gallon will have just to pick up maybe 10 pounds of recyclables every few miles.
We can tell you from hard experience that too often people in nice, clean jobs can remove themselves from the reality of what happens with their garbage and recycling! And, especially, just how much energy must be spent dealing with it all. When we think of the inefficiency of mixed, light loads of commingled recyclables going all the way to Tacoma or Renton, it makes us crazy. Without an increased, denser population, and without building a sorting facility on the island, it seems a great waste of fuel and money.
Sorry to you true believers, but no way can this make for a smaller carbon footprint! If this is a done deal, so be it, but hopefully people will understand the increased rates and the part they will play in a premature setup. And hopefully, they will still recycle their glass! We fully expect to survive this as a business: There are going to be people quitting pickup entirely, perhaps increased awareness of the existing opportunities on Whidbey, and some that will finally start to recycle! Unfortunately, that small increase in recyclables can’t possibly outweigh the great environmental cost of rural curbside recycling.
Jill Ishii Campbell