LETTERS TO THE EDITOR | Nothing free about recycling
December 21, 2012 · Updated 2:58 PM
To the editor:
Island County’s recycling rate is 32 percent. The national recycling rate is 34 percent. Counties with curbside recycling are in the range of 50 percent and above. If we were doing such a great job recycling without curbside recycling, our recycling rate would be closer to that of other counties that do have curbside recycling.
Experience has shown that high recycle rates result from very convenient, easy-to-use services. If garbage is more convenient than recycling, then that’s where a lot of good recyclables will end up. Combining recycling service with garbage service and making sure everyone gets a recycling container are keys to success.
We have become accustomed to the idea that we have free recycling available to us, so why would we want to pay for it to be collected curbside? First of all, dropping off recyclables at the Bayview Recycle Park, for instance, isn’t free. The fee paid per vehicle is the same whether it is your pickup with garbage from your own home, or a garbage truck holding the garbage from 300 to 400 households. Each vehicle pays $4.49 toward the recycling program. So when garbage service customers use the recycle parks, it is really predominantly the self-haul garbage customers who are paying for the recycling services that the garbage service customers are using. It’s not free, it’s just being paid for you by someone else.
Whidbey is an island with an abundance of retreat centers for thoughtful people and lots of coastline that is loved by many, whether for watching, walking, or fishing. Sustainability is on the lips of many locals and visitors alike. Let’s take the next step and do our part with curbside recycling.