Ole Pappy

To recycle or not, that is the question

When the whole fiasco regarding recycling in Lyon County began I have to admit, I really didn’t think much about it. Yeah, my wife has tried to instill the importance of separating the recyclables from the trash. But I’ve always viewed it was “something I have to do.”

I never really took it seriously. “Make sure you wash all containers before you dispose of them,” I was told.

That seemed like a waste of time, so I’d toss the old ketchup bottle, still leaking of the red ketchup stuff into the recycling bin.

Or the milk container, still with milk residue, would end up there as well. Even when the county began serious planning of recycling I kinda ignored it.

“I’ll just go on as I always have,” I thought. Oh, if the container told me what to put in it, I put that in the proper container — most of the time.

And sometimes, when I got tired of the whole thing, I’d toss the container into the garbage. “Who will know,” I thought.

After writing stories about the high cost of recycling, the fact recyclers are increasing their fees drastically and counties are racing to find ways to do recycling without going highly into debt, it began to dawn on me.

“This is a serious problem!” Monday night at the Public Hearing on recycling at the Government Center in Marshall, Darwin Dyce of Ghent kinda put the whole thing into perspective for me.

“We turn on the national news and hear of the next extreme roll back of regulations designed to protect the environment. People’s very lives depend on clean air, water and soil. Here, at the local level, we have an opportunity. We have a voice to bring some accountability for a highly consumptive lifestyle.”

He added, “We face the changing dynamics of recycling here in Lyon County.” Darwin was right. He went on to say that when there is no commitment to curbside recycling, people recycle less. I liked what Diana Slyter, a Florence City Council member said.

“Much of the recyclables now picked up curbside will end up in the garbage cans and will be directed to the landfills.”

She said landfills aren’t cheap to run and create a permanent liability that never goes away. I didn’t think about that when I was tossing recyclables in the garbage can. Another person testifying at the hearing talked about how there is a solid waste “island” of debris in the Pacific Ocean as big as the state of Texas.

“Garbage is just going to accumulate in our landfills or end up in the Pacific Ocean,” he said, adding, “We can’t let it end up like this.”

One lady talked about the hazard of older folks taking their recycling to centers in the middle of the winter. She verbally painted a picture of the folks falling on the ice and breaking bones. It wasn’t a pretty picture. I’ve certainly gained a whole new insight into the world of recycling.

Hey, I always thought it was important — for the other guy to take care of it. But me, well, it was just an inconvenience. A Marshall lady named Dealyn Rose woke me up when she said she was going to take extra care to clean the recyclables before throwing them and to work hard to do this thing right.

I applaud her for that kind of thinking. This whole thing might have started because the cost of recycling had gone through the roof and the Lyon County Board was trying to head off the expensive cost of recycling. But after Monday’s hearing, I have to admit, it’s gone much further than I expected. It’s hit each of us right between the ears.

It’s a job for all of us. If we don’t do it right, we’re all going to be paying a high cost for a long, long time. The county board is going to do their job to try and hold down expenses. Now the rest of us have to do our jobs.

LAUGH A LITTLE: Personal challenge It’s kind of hard losing weight, though, when every time you see a sign that says, ‘World’s Best Donut,’ you take it as a personal challenge. You’re like, ‘I’ll see about that. Oh, you’re right, this is a good donut. I’ll take seven dozen and a diet coke.’

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK: As my Ole Pappy used to say, “It’s not whether you get knocked down. It’s whether you get back up again.” I remember one particularly horrible time when a teacher took a small transistor radio away from me in class. I thought I had it hidden, but I didn’t. He returned it on my graduation day, at my house, in front of my father. Hey, that knocked me down. But I got back up again and decided never to do anything that stupid again. Thanks Ole Pappy!

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