LETTERS TO THE EDITOR | New programs must prove their worth
February 5, 2013 · Updated 3:13 PM
To the editor:
The county has answered, in part, some key questions on the mandated curbside recycling program. However, there are some critical gaps in information that need filling:
The important overall question is this: Has the county approved a recycle program based on emotional, feel-good motives, or one that has a cost benefit business plan and that proves worthwhile to the entire environment?
To me, environment means both nature and people.
For example, many of the charts in the public handout show information from other counties. However, is it realistic to compare those mainland counties to rural Island County?
In recycle terms, for every plastic bottle picked up at curbside, how many plastic bottles does it cost downstream to transport (a long distance to Tacoma) and recycle that one bottle?
From a business standpoint, where is haul truck costs and the return on investment from the sales of recycled material shown? I would be surprised if the haul truck annual costs (truck, driver, fuel, insurance, maintenance, etc.) can be offset by recycled material.
Not just for the recycle program, but for all new programs, the county needs to demonstrate in plain English (and numbers) a viable business model before imposing additional fees on taxpayers. And the public taxpayer deserves ample opportunity to provide feedback prior to the commissioners voting to approve the new program.