Opinion

Maybe recycling does have its place

OK, OK, I’m recycling.

As a disciple of the late Gov. Dixy Lee Ray, I’m not convinced of the value of it yet, but I’m willing to listen to those who are and do.

I should have explained, I guess, that my recycle load of four dog food cans, three cat food cans, an empty whiskey bottle, a milk carton and a sauerkraut jar was the first time I ever recycled and the first day I did it.

Other than newspapers, that is. One of my daughters is kind enough to take care of them. I have received mail from those who view me as a slacker in the campaign to save the planet, an example of which is from Glea Bransletter of Indianola.

“Adele, for years I have defended what you write with friends and neighbors. I assumed you had a modicum of common sense. Your article on recycling made me cringe. In a month’s time, you must have a soup, vegetable or tuna can or maybe a coffee can. Also an empty pickle jar, mayonnaise or peanut butter jar to recycle.

“Separating a cap from a bottle or checking numbers on plastic containers is not rocket science. The thousands of tons of recyclables can be reused to make rags, building materials and paving products and not put in the ground. Your stupid article gives permission to my neighbor with three dogs and a cat to dump his pet cans in regular garbage and not recycle. I have recycled for 20 years. This is the first time I have considered the Herald trash, but I will recycle it.”

I make my own pickles, freeze my own soups and can vegetables, chicken and salmon and one does not dispose of mason jars. But I did pursue the subject with Dave Peters, recycling coordinator for Kitsap County, and asked what became of the recycled material?

Plenty, he said. “A lot of it is baled up and sent to China. Their ships that come over here don’t want to go back empty. Some years ago, China had a cotton crop failure and collected plastic pop bottles which were turned into fiber and made into T-shirts.”

Plastic milk jugs can be recycled into plastic lumber. New cans can be made of old. A lot of the cardboard goes to the Port Townsend Cardboard Co., which recycles it into new cardboard.

The company also does a lot of paper telephone books. Newspapers and mixed paper go to the Blue Heron Co. in Oregon to be restored into new paper.

If you recycle, you are given a rebate in the form of a credit determined by the annual profit to the recycler divider by the number of customers. It costs $4.05 a month for the recycle truck to pick up your stuff, so this year’s rebate of $1.38, subtracted from that leaves $2.67 for you to pay in this county.

Each county would be different.

As for Dixy, she commented thus in her book “Environmental Overkill” on Al Gore’s promise to force total recycling: “Recycling has already ballooned the cost of managing wastes for taxpayers, and that cost continues to climb. Total recycle is not only impossible but undesirable. Incineration and composting were once accepted by cities and counties as companions to recycling, until pressure from militant environmentalists caused politicians to abandon them almost completely in favor of total recycling programs. It has happened despite the fact that new incineration techniques have virtually eliminated the problem of controlling emissions and disposing of the resultant ash.”

And to the lady who sent me a modern can opener that doesn’t leave jagged edges which I cut my hand on twice in cleaning out cans to recycle, thank you very much.

I wrote you a letter but discovered I had recycled the box you sent the can opener in so I don’t have your name and address.

If you contact me again, I’ll thank you properly.

Adele Ferguson can be reached at PO Box 69, Hansville, WA 98340.

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