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Setting a good example

Published 10:16 am Wednesday, February 27, 2013

It has taken only a few months to answer the questions regarding the new recycling program implemented last fall for those who live outside the city limits.

Would more residents actively participate in recycling if the small bins supplied to them were replaced by larger wheeled carts?

Yes.

Would it be easier for homeowners if recycled materials were picked up weekly, rather than every other week?

Yes.

Would the end result be less trash placed in a landfill?

Yes.

Franklin County Fiscal Court signed a five-year, $7.18 million contract with Legacy Carting last year, having previously used Republic Services to collect its trash and recycling.

Republic customers placed their recyclables in 15-gallon bins, and while trash was collected every week, the recycle bins were picked up every other week on a schedule that often became confusing because of off weeks.

Legacy issued two 95-gallon carts on wheels, one for trash, the other for recyclable material. Those carts, with different colored lids to distinguish them, are both collected each week.

In a report presented to Fiscal Court magistrates Friday, recycling was up by a staggering 253 percent since the switch from Republic to Legacy. In addition, waste collection costs have dropped by slightly less than 10 percent.

The county went from collecting an average of 39.5 tons of recycled materials per month to an average of 139.52 tons.

The county is using Legacy to pick up trash and recycling from 9,260 residences. The cost, per customer, was an average of $10.65 per month before the change last fall, but had dropped to $9.62 in December a savings of 9.67 percent.

The rates paid by recyclers for cardboard, aluminum, glass, metal cans, plastic, etc., have decreased, but are starting to show signs of recovery.

Though the county would, of course, like to see those rates rise, there are other factors to consider. Questions perhaps more important than those posed at the beginning of this editorial.

First, what does more recycling mean?

Well, if more materials are going to a recycling center, it not only means less is going to a landfill, but less is being uncollected, disposed of improperly, burned, or left to become litter.

Second, what are the long-term benefits of recycling?

When we recycle we help the environment by conserving natural resources, we save energy, we help produce items made from recycled materials, we reduce pollution, we create jobs, we conserve landfill space.

But there is another important factor as well. When we recycle, we teach our children how important the practice is.

Lets face it, for good and bad, children often imitate their parents. Seeing parents recycle reinforces in the minds of children how easy it is and how important it is.

Fiscal Court has made it easier for people to recycle.

Anything that can be done in that area is a good thing.