Residents need answers about recycling

Published 7:25 pm Monday, January 25, 2010

To the editor:

I guess I have been busy with life and somehow missed the article about Suffolk trying to reinitiate a curbside recycling program. Your editorial on Jan. 7 supported this as a civic duty and a benefit and encouraged folks to sign up. It also made a point about the previous program, which had as its biggest drawback, the lack of participation.

A couple of points. In preparing the cheerleading editorial did anyone on the staff research how much our neighbors in other Hampton Roads cities pay for this service? I believe Chesapeake residents pay $3 for this service.

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Second, can someone please tell me from an intuitive standpoint how charging someone $12 a month for bi-weekly service is going to increase participation? Seems to me that many in the city will consider that price to be more than just a headache and extra effort.

Third — and this is a point I made a few years ago when the City Council in its penny-wise, pound-foolish madness decided to eliminate curbside recycling — if I place my recycling in my trashcan every week and the city hauls it off and dumps it in the landfill, I don’t pay anything other than my normal rate.

The result is an increase in my “deposit” of 10 percent or so in the regional landfill, which in turn speeds the rate at which that landfill reaches capacity.

With curbside recycling I separate my recyclables, products that can be turned into other products (like your newsprint), and someone earns a profit from that process and I believe some cities actually can make a few dollars from the process.

Fourth, I certainly don’t know where every big ugly white monster is located, but the several that I have used to drop off recyclable material are eyesores. They are the absolute last things I would want in my neighborhood.

They are positioned next to a park in one case, take up a third of the parking space, and constantly have debris from recycling (plastic bags, bottles that “missed” the hole, etc.) strewn around them. I certainly wouldn’t want this “commercial” activity in my neighborhood, visible from my front steps or window.

Bottom line, I agree that recycling is something we should be striving for, but we need all the facts before we decide to support it or not.