Keep recycling momentum going

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By Rich Bauer, Managing Editor

It’s been a long time since residents of this area were offered any type of recycling program. If the participation in recent recycling drives are any indication, they are ready and willing to start recycling again.

In recent months, area residents have had the opportunity to turn in old electronic items and paper products, instead of throwing those items into the trash. Those drives have kept several tractor-trailer loads of old TVs, computers, cardboard boxes, newspapers and other pieces of what is normally considered to be garbage out of our landfills.

The collection drives, and ongoing recycling efforts, have been made possible by a recycling committee made up of staff members from the Fayette County Water & Soil Conservation District and Fayette County Extension Office, Mary Fulton, John Sanders and Renee Willms.

That committee has put in a lot of time to organize the collection drives and ongoing recycling efforts, and their work has paid off. Karen Sanders of the SWCD staff has been the most visible of the committee workers, but all are active members of a group that is providing a great service to our community.

But the committee is not done yet.

The SWCD staff is continuing to accept electronic items every Wednesday afternoon in its parking lot at Third and Johnson streets. And, the committee is hoping to establish a regular recycling program for paper products.

Committee members were scheduled to meet with Vandalia Mayor Rick Gottman to discuss the placement of containers for the ongoing collection of newspapers, cardboard and other paper products. They also are working to organize collection drives or an ongoing program for plastic products.

Yet, all of the work that is being done by committee members could be undone in a short period of time by people who don’t take recycling seriously.

That was the case when Vandalia offered a recycling bin more than a decade ago. That bin was located in both the city parking lot downtown and on Randolph Street, and in both places, it was the target of what amounted to vandalism.

City workers who had the responsibility of pulling the recyclables had to sort out dead fish and regular trash. It was not only costly for them to do so, but that abuse ultimately translated into a death knoll for the recycling program.

We have many responsible citizens in our community who are yearning for the opportunity to recycle discarded items; they have proven that by their participation to this point.

As we applaud the efforts of the recycling committee, we encourage all residents to be participants in collection drives and ongoing collections. At the same time, we ask those who don’t wish to participate to refrain from ruining it for those do.