Keep pressing for recycling

Published 9:38 pm Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Michael Benedetto must have felt a certain amount of pride on Tuesday afternoon.

As 95-gallon recycling bins were unloaded at homes around Suffolk, he must have felt a sense of relief that a six-month sign-up and marketing process was nearly over and that his company, TFC Recycling, can get down to the job it was hired to do.

When the curbside recycling program was announced, this newspaper stood in strong support. And while it is encouraging that nearly 2,500 signed up recycling, it is a little troubling that only 1,000 have followed through by actually paying for and starting the service.

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In order for this program to work and to have a long future in Suffolk, the numbers of customers must increase. Benedetto is pleased the program is finally under way, but as a successful businessman, he is not likely to continue a program that is not beneficial to his company.

Although Suffolk residents will pay more for this service than those in other parts of Hampton Roads who have access to city-paid recycling, the mere act of recycling will save Suffolkians — all Suffolkians — in the long run.

Since Suffolk will be responsible for its own garbage disposal fees in just a few years, any trash that can be diverted from the landfill and transitioned to recycling will save room in the landfill — and, hence, money for city taxpayers.

Those involved in this recycling program should be applauded for their efforts in getting Suffolk to this point. But the work must continue to get more people to participate.

Having 1,000 homes in Suffolk out of more than 30,000 is a good starting point, but nowhere the number needed to have an impact both on our environment and on our pocketbooks.