Pamplin Media Group – Graser-Lindsey: Metro’s attitude to recycling is disappointing


‘More recycling could be achieved simply by using more segregated bins for paper, metal and plastics.’

Elizabeth Graser-Lindsey

An opinion piece (“The future of recycling is about more than recycling,” Sept. 4, 2019) written by Metro Councilors Shirley Craddick, Juan Carlos Gonzalez and Bob Stacey and published by this newspaper was disappointing.

The public would like real recycling, where all the products we use can be recycled, and “wish-cycling” or “aspirational recycling” is evidence of that.

Lecturing the public that most plastics should be thrown away in the garbage ignores that people want real recycling, and they want Metro to enable it.

Elected Metro officials hoping that manufacturers would take more responsibility for packaging isn’t working.

Read the three Metro councilors’ submitted commentary, which was published Sept. 4, 2019, in the News-Times.

Metro, other local governments and the state should 1) require that product packaging and products are recyclable and/or 2) charge a fee upfront for the cost of doing the recycling.

There is a precedent for this type of rule in the environmental disposal fee that car repair shops have charged and also in the Bottle Bill. This could be initiated immediately. Some manufacturers already use materials that are being successfully recycled.

The system also should not facilitate mixing recyclables, only for the items to be sorted later at great expense, and some to become permanently contaminated. Much of the public already is willing to keep their recyclables separated.

Contaminating recyclables should not be forced on everyone just because a few people aren’t ready to keep recyclables sorted yet.

It is disappointing to find out that our small recyclables, handled with care in the home, are turned into trash by the system of conveyors because lids, nails, small pieces of paper, etc., fall through the equipment.

More recycling could be achieved simply by using more segregated bins for paper, metal and plastics (soon sorted by code).

Or it could be achieved by pickups alternating the paper, metal or plastics material by week (and any mistakes would not put us in a worse position than we already are in).

Or it could be achieved by consumers delivering sorted recyclables to convenient locations (like taking plastic bags back to the grocery store).

It’s been approaching two years since China began rejecting our recyclables. China’s rejection of our mixed recyclables and trash should be forcing us to fix our recycling system by reducing trash.

China should be inspiring us to boost local recycling and eliminating stuff that really isn’t recyclable.

We need Metro’s elected officials actively working to get this accomplished, not their lectures.

Elizabeth Graser-Lindsey is a resident of Beavercreek who recently ran for state representative of District 39.

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