Monday, February 05, 2007

Column 91 - Recycling

Most of you will be relieved to hear that I won’t be writing another column about John Bohn, but I will take one last word. If last week’s letters in which Bohn and his cronies trotted out the “sore loser” chestnut is the best he’s got, then I think that it’s likely that the complaints filed with the state and any recall effort anyone decides to undertake will likely be successful. The State Board of Ethics has let me know they have decided to look into the matter, so I’ll leave the rest up to you, the residents to say what kind of person you want on the Board.

Now to other matters that deserve our attention. As you may have heard by now, the IVGID Board, at its meeting tonight, will have its first hearings on the renewal of the contract with Waste Management, the company that handles trash and recycling in the District. In this hearing, the public has the opportunity to give the Board its input on this matter, one that affects all of us.

To be sure, Waste Management has been doing a good job for the District to date. They have shown that recycling is a viable business for them in Incline and when you factor in the fees they pay, it is profitable to the District as well. For a very small part of our utility bill we have the advantage of having much of our recyclable trash picked up at curbside and the ability to bring other recyclables, particularly corrugated cardboard, to the facility as well.

Still, we could have more. Right now only number 1 and 2 plastic bottles are accepted for recycling, leaving other plastics to go into the trash. Judging my what I see in the streets on trash pick-up days, many people do not bring corrugated cardboard in to be recycled, and non-corrugated cardboard of the type used in many household items is not accepted for recycling. Finally, the trash/recycling facility on Sweetwater is open only until noon on weekends.

If you believe as I do that recycling has a clear benefit to the environment, tonight’s meeting is an opportunity to let the Board and Waste Management know you want more – not because there is anything wrong with the job they’ve done to date – there isn’t - but because we’ve sent the benefits of that to the District and to the environment and want to extend those benefits.

I would like to see pickup of all cardboard – corrugated or not – at curbside, extension of the plastics recycling to containers other than bottles and extension of the facility’s hours until 4 or 5 on weekends so that residents who spend their day building or cleaning up aren’t restricted to the morning hours to bring in their trash or recycling.

Whether you agree with this or not, tonight is an opportunity to make your views heard by the Board early in the contract renewal process, while there is still time for them and Waste Management to research the impact of these proposals and see what makes economic and environmental sense.

If we can turn out a couple of hundred people for a debate on a non-issue like “affordable housing” then surely we can pack the hall for this, an issue that will have immediate effects on all of us.

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