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It's time to pick a recycling plan

September 03, 2011

It is interesting, in a discouraging sort of way, that a parent at a Washington County recycling meeting last Tuesday said her children are taught to "reduce, reuse and recycle." Yet, for years now, our county commissioners have employed a recycling strategy of reassess, re-examine and retreat.

Somehow, a policy that thousands of communities across the country have had little trouble enacting completely stymies our local county leaders.

It might be one thing if the county were to state emphatically that it was against curbside recycling; this would at least tell us where we stand, and allow voters to sort out the issue at the ballot box. But the commissioners stop short of either denouncing or endorsing recycling, leaving us to guess about what the future holds.

In fact, many citizens — and we count ourselves in this group — probably want to see a plan before they decide whether the recycling avenue is a good road to travel. The county has five duly elected, reasonably intelligent people on whom we count to make important decisions. Continuing to sidestep the issue is frustrating to a lot of community organizers who have spent a lot of time working for a greener planet.

This inaction has the appearance of a board that knows that recycling is the right thing to do, but can't work up the gumption to pass it because of the fear that it will cost some votes.

This board and past boards have had more than enough time to settle on a curbside recycling plan. It is time they picked one and put it before the public for debate. Then, when all have had their say, the commissioners need to vote so we have a record to take with us to the polls.

This is not to endorse or reject recycling at this point — we know there are arguments to be made on both sides. But as the aforementioned, wise parent also said, "Sometimes we need to lead, not just do what is popular."

We also need to show our children that the lessons about our planet that they learn in elementary school are not lost on those of us who have the theoretical advantage of age.

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