Recycle to benefit environment, city

A boy takes his family's recycle bin from the garage for curbside set out. A man shops at an auto parts store and takes along his spent motor oil for the recyclable waste oil repository.

And a woman posts an offer for a free stove online. There are many ways to recycle in Aberdeen.

Recycling is living out a values system that believes in conservation of resources and protection of the environment. Modern man is a big consumer of product. Annually in the United States, for example, one billion - 1,000,000,000 - plastic shopping bags are consumed, and only 1 percent to 3 percent of them are recycled. Reusing plastic bags is a great lifestyle choice. Buying reusable cloth bags and using them for trips to the store is an even more progressive, earth-friendly choice.

Being considerate to the world we were blessed to live in is becoming more mainstream these days. We can all take steps to reduce the amount we consume and reuse or recycle materials. Freecycling, for example, is a unique movement that involves people offering items for which they have no further use to others for free. Aber- deen's Freecycle community can be accessed through Yahoo Groups.

City recycling programs are what most people think of when considering recycling. Are you one of the roughly 50 percent of Aberdeen households that recycle through the city's recycling program? That figure is the consensus of the Aberdeen Public Works Department and does not include apartment buildings, since they do not have city accounts for waste collection. More than 500 tons of material is collected in recycling bins annually from approximately 7,000 households, with 75 percent of the measured weight being newsprint, according to city officials.

Materials accepted include various metal and plastic containers, paper products and cardboard. Glass is not an accepted material because at times there is no stable resale market. Additionally, there are problems with glass - such as the need to separate different colors of glass and it breaking and becoming mixed during the collection cycle. Omitting glass from the recycling program is practical because of the costs associated with collecting it.

Robin Bobzien, public works director/city engineer, says the program is successful because the city made it easy for the public to recycle. A bin is provided for the asking and recycled items are collected at the same time as the weekly trash pickup.

Aberdeen does not want to mandate recycling, however those in single-family homes have no choice but to support the program because $2.50 per month is figured into each garbage bill. That money goes to Dependable Sanitation for picking up the recycled garbage.

Even at that, the city is actually subsidizing the program; the city pays Dependable $2.75 per single-family dwelling each month.

Dependable Sanitation receives about $230,000 per year for taking the recyclables. But even though it costs the city about $20,000 a year in addition to homeowner fees, there are other savings. The 507 tons of recyclables collected do not end up in the county landfill, where costs average about $35 a ton - or in the case of the recyclables about $17,745.

Any city garbage customer pays for the recycling program whether he or she participates or not. So join in the recycling program for the benefit of the city's budget and the environment. With money saved from less dumping fees at the landfill, more funds would be available for other city improvements. And less trash disposed of in the soil results in more land and water, in better condition, for people and creatures alike.

600450 Recycle to benefit environment, city
Date: 15 June 2005

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