Recent letters to the editor show a positive attitude regarding recycling in Columbia County. That is a good thing. However, the bottom line in this useful endeavor always seems to come down to economics. The Solid Waste Authority has had experts in government and private industry discuss the efficacy of recycling. And staff to the Authority has distributed papers, reports and articles discussing the pros and cons of the issue.
The result, unfortunately, is that recycling for a county our geographic size and population will cost more than it brings in. Of course, there is always the feeling citizens get from reducing blight, saving land, conserving energy and managing our resources. But county governments look at what programs will cost in dollars to initiate and maintain - and rightly so.
As with the letter-writers, I too am committed to reducing material going to landfills. I have a compost pile where "clean" waste is deposited (even stealing coffee grounds from the office coffee pool), I use my old newspapers for garden mulch, I've purchased a can crusher, take my used oil to the car parts store, and much to the chagrin to my family, ask that we source separate our other household waste.
Unfortunately, even if all Columbia County residents instituted such measures, there would still be a need for disposal of non-recyclable items, as well as those which can be reused such as white goods (large appliances and the like), hazardous wastes (paint, solvents, etc.), and cooking oils (which make a good fuel).
Ideas from citizens are what make this a great place to live. I am sure the County Commission would welcome more recycling suggestions. However, at present, if citizens want to institute recycling programs, sadly, it will cost.
Christopher Noah, Ph.D.
Solid Waste Authority of Columbia County
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