Education is the key to recycling

Rod Baker
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In light of the recent talk regarding the recycling program within the City of Maysville, I believe it’s time for the leadership of the City to stand up and take some ownership of the program. If you were just looking at from the outside you’d most likely surmise that the City would just like it to go away. After all, according to City Manager Matt Wallingford it would save them $20,000 per year and that’s no small potatoes.

Now, in all fairness the City Manager did say, “Recycling is a good thing. Recycling will help prolong our locally owned landfill. I am just trying to help drive costs down.” I commend him on being fiscally responsible, and I also know that sometimes you have to spend money because it’s the right thing to do.

The Ledger Independent has kept this issue in the forefront by writing stories about it and then making sure that these stories are posted to our various social media outlets, all in an effort to make sure that the public is well aware what’s going on. I for one believe that it’s paramount for the City to find a way to make this program work. It starts with educating the citizens on the program and how it works, making bins available or making sure that the public understands what’s an acceptable container, then publishing when it will be picked up, and picking it up when it’s supposed to be picked up.

This isn’t rocket science but offers a great deal of benefits. I’m no expert on recycling but a simple Google search can help with educating oneself as to the reasons it’s important. The following was taken directly from the EPA’s website (https://www.epa.gov/recycle/recycling-basics#Benefits):

Benefits of Recycling:

• Reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills and incinerators

• Conserves natural resources such as timber, water and minerals

• Increases economic security by tapping a domestic source of materials

• Prevents pollution by reducing the need to collect new raw materials

• Saves energy

• Supports American manufacturing and conserves valuable resources

• Helps create jobs in the recycling and manufacturing industries in the United States

Looking at Rumpke’s website here’s what they say about curbside recycling:

• Curbside recycling is easy and convenient for residents. Rumpke’s innovative recycling technology allows residents to mix all recyclable materials in a bin or cart and place it at the curb for collection.

• Rumpke collects and transports recyclables to one of our state of the art material recovery facilities, where it will be sorted and processed. Rumpke’s investments in recycling are based on proven systems that result in clean raw materials ready to be used by manufacturers of new products.

• Throughout the country, curbside recycling programs have consistently proven to be one of the most effective ways of diverting recyclables from landfills.

I’m not sure about you, but I think these are some pretty good reasons to find a way to make the program work in Maysville. Adding a “50 cent fee per month” isn’t going to make people participate more, if anything it may tick people off and have an adverse effect.

The City has tried the recycling trailers and that ended up being a mess with people putting trash in them, having them overflow, and eventually running people who had recycling away because there was no room inside. I know because our family was one of those who was run away because of that.

In my humble opinion, it all comes back to educating our residents and making it easy to participate. Why don’t we start there and see where that takes us.

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Rod Baker