Thomas Kosloske’s recent letter about solid waste and recycling raises interesting issues — clarifications of which can lead to a different conclusion that commissioners Angie Homola’s and Helen Price-Johnson’s support of the proposed, non-mandatory curbside recycling program was the best option for the near to mid future.
First, the county Solid Waste and Recycling Programs are self funding; fees paid are for services provided. They are not a “tax” any more than a gas or electric bill. No tax money is used for county solid waste/recycling programs.
County recycling rates remain disappointingly low because the “drop-off” system is inherently inefficient in today’s economy. It was developed decades ago as a first step toward conservation of re-usable materials being discarded as trash. This is absolutely no reflection on the incredibly hard and dedicated work done by both the county’s contract recyclers and attendants at county facilities.
The current system is not only inefficient, it places the burden of paying for solid waste/recycling on self haulers of residential and commercial trash; folks on curbside (through no fault of their own) pay nothing for self hauled recyclables. It simply is not feasible to identify and charge individuals a “recycle fee” for those on curbside trash service.
From long-term research in nearby and distant communities (and personal experience) the increased cost of a combined service is largely offset by a reduction in trash volume and an increase in materials recycled; a so-called “convenience effect.”
Although there is no way a “one-size fits all” program can fit the individual needs of all residents, the proposed program was a economically and environmentally responsible next-step at this time. The proposed program was based on local, regional and national experiences of dozens of other communities.
I believe that Homola and Price-Johnson were spot-on in their initial approval of the program.
Island County Solid Waste/Recycling