In December, Island County Commissioners approved curbside recycling for rural residents and Langley.
While many applauded the change, many were upset with the mandatory nature of the decision.
Per the approval, residents who subscribed to curbside garbage service would also be required to pay more and have mandatory recycling.
The Whidbey News-Times received many letters from angry residents and the paper’s website at www.whidbeynewstimes.com was set on fire by comments for and against the decision.
It’s not that residents on the island are opposed to recycling. In fact, there are several recycling locations frequented by residents all over the island.
It was the mandatory nature of the decision.
Why pay more if you can go to a location and recycle for free? And if residents choose to have curbside garbage pickup, why should they be forced to have both?
In response to the public, commissioners raised the issue again and are now in the process of rescinding the decision.
There have been discussions about why the recycling portion has to be mandatory.
It seems it comes down to dollars.
Island Disposal will invest a lot of money into getting this program up and running. They need some guarantee they are going to get their money back.
There is nothing that forces people to remain or even become Island Disposal customers.
Whidbey Island is behind when it comes to curbside services. Oak Harbor has curbside recycling and town of Coupeville recently approved a program.
Island County has spent five years researching the topic. Make a decision and stick with it before it’s another five years before a decision is made again.
Residents want curbside recycling. Those who don’t have other options.
If residents don’t like the mandatory recycling portion and want to continue taking recycling into the centers then they should change their waste disposal habits and start hauling garbage themselves.
It’s 2013. Whidbey Island needs to get with the times.
— Megan Hansen, Editor