Recycling saves landfill space, tax dollars

Published 11:42 am Saturday, March 3, 2012

It has been said no one is truly concerned about the things of government until it affects their individual world.

That being true, permit me to share data on a subject barely escapable if you live in the 21st century.


Specifically, our trash.

I will be the first to admit that I grew up in a throw-away generation; I’m 56.

We rarely considered the amount, or the type of refuse we generated. There seemed to be a limitless supply of bottles, boxes, plastic bags, glass jars, paper, etc. Just throw it away and reach for another.

Those times are past. And I’ll admit, it has been hard for me to change!

Our county is charged with the disposal of refuse for our residents.

We generated, as a county, about 17,500 tons of waste last year. That is 2,500 pounds for every county household. Or, considering around 35,000 residents, 1,000 pounds of waste for every man, woman and child in the county.

Every year.

More sobering is the fact it cost the county, and ultimately the Isle of Wight taxpayers, more than $2.5 million annually to dispose of this waste, not to mention the growing mountains of refuse dotting our landscape.

To be realistic, to live today is to generate waste. It is inescapable, a part of living in the United States. But we can be smart about it. We can be intentional about something as everyday as trash. We can recycle.

Not only does recycling reduce the size of landfills, it reduces our county expenses.

All eight garbage locations have recycling opportunities. These recycle bins are single-stream, meaning all recycling materials can be mixed together and placed as one in the bins.

Acceptable are newspapers, magazines, catalogs, cardboard, any paper, milk and juice cartons, plastic bottles, glass bottles and jars, aluminum (pie plates, trays, etc.), metal cans, milk jugs, bleach, etc.

There is a long list that can be collected separately in your household and put into the recycle bin (though it is asked they not be put in a plastic bag and dropped in). Ask for a brochure your next visit to the convenience center.

More and more county people are getting on board. In 2009, we recycled 356 tons. In 2010, 403 tons. Last year, Isle of Wight recycled 620 tons of material that was reused for other purposes, a 75 percent increase in two years.

I commend those of you who take time to recycle, and I encourage others to consider it. Not only does it save our county dollars, but it more responsibly deals with the by-product of everyday living, and ultimately passes on to the next generation a better world in which to live.