Better late than never.
Columbia County's recently approved recycling program should have been started years ago when it could have helped prolong the life of the now-closed landfill.
But it wasn't. The only thing that can be done with a wasted opportunity is make the best of it in the future, and county officials have done that with a program to increase recycling opportunities in Columbia County.
County Engineer Miguel Valentin recently presented the results of a rcycling study and offered several options to county commissioners, ranging from a full-blown mandatory curbside pickup program, to lower-impact options that would make voluntary recycling easier.
The latter choice is the one commissioners picked, and it's the best option. County citizens rebelled a couple of years ago against the idea of countywide garbage service under contract with one private hauler, so a mandatory curbside recycling program would have been unpopular, to say the least.
Instead, the approved program will use existing county facilities - the government complex, fire stations and the closed landfill (unless it's sold to a private buyer) - as additional drop-off sites for consumer recyclables. Initially, the program will alloy recycling only for newspapers and aluminum cans, but eventually will expand to include more paper products at a convenience center in a central location.
Though it should have been done much sooner - preferably, to help extend to life of the landfill - commissioners and Valentin still deserve praise for finally getting this program off the ground. The missing component? For any recycling program to work, residents must participate.
The public officials have done their job, even if belatedly. Now the citizens should do their part.
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