Terrific value from a great event

Published 9:16 pm Monday, July 23, 2012

Though it was not always so, recycling appeals and opportunities have become so prevalent in America as to be nearly clichéd. With “green” having acquired a figurative meaning that threatens to eclipse its literal usage, the calls for environmental awareness and sensitivity make it unlikely that many are left who are unaware of how their waste disposal decisions can make a difference in the world around them.

Suffolk made the point compulsory when the City Council last year decided to institute mandatory recycling by giving every home in the city a new, blue recycling can, to charge homeowners for the service and to pay TFC Recycling to pick up and haul away the contents of those cans once a week. At the same time, the city removed most of the large collection boxes that had been located in public spaces around Suffolk, meaning that businesses, apartment dwellers and those with items too large for the new recycling cans had to find another way to deal with their plastic bottles, aluminum cans and the like.

One option for those who are willing to save their recyclables for a stretch is Suffolk’s quarterly recycling drive, when the Suffolk Clean Community Commission provides a central collection place for just about any kind of recyclable material that can be imagined.

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During the commission’s recent event, held earlier this month, 957 tires were brought in to be shredded and put to use in asphalt and other projects; 3,621 pounds of paper were shredded on site by Cintas; and 2,800 pounds of old televisions, phones, computers and other electronics were collected by Goodwill Industries, which will part them out for sale or recycling. That doesn’t even count the 600 pounds worth of regular recyclables that were brought to the event.

For the cost of a few city employees’ time — along with the donations by Cintas, Goodwill Industries, TFC Recycling and other sponsors — a significant amount of junk was removed from Suffolk during this event. Some of it — especially the tires — likely would have wound up in the woods somewhere if there had been no easy way to get it recycled. Suffolk got far more value from the event than the cost of its commitments.