The Wahkiakum County Eagle - Established as The Skamokawa Eagle in 1891

Recyclers will not become criminals


November 2, 2017

To The Eagle:

Let me begin by thanking our county commissioners for saving the county recycling program. Throughout this process to decide whether to continue the recycling program at an expense to Wahkiakum County without reimbursement of tax dollars from the state, several county officials and commissioners stated concerns that “if the recycling containers were not available to residents, there would be an increase in illegal dumping.”

As an avid recycling family, we are concerned that the people running our county think we will become criminals if the recycling containers are removed from our county. Recycling is not for the lazy, it takes a concentrated effort to separate, clean, sort and deliver recycling to the proper recycling containers. It would be much simpler to just throw everything into a trash can and let the trash man haul it to the landfill, but recyclers are committed to helping our environment by not filling up landfills with reusable items.

People who dump garbage anywhere except in proper containers are criminals, they face fines and jail time if caught. They are not “keepers of our environment,” they are taking the easy and cheap way out (as long as they don’t get caught.) Most of the criminal dumpers would not recycle no matter how easy the county made it for them.

On the other hand, most of the recyclers would see the loss of local containers as a slightly less convenient situation. Most would haul it to Cowlitz County and dump it legally in any of their recycling containers.

I am concerned that our county officials do not realize what the real issues are. The real problem is illegal dumping, a criminal act. You may be able to reform a criminal dumper and turn them into a recycler, but I can guarantee that you will not be able to turn dedicated recyclers into criminals just by making our job a little harder.

So, if you think that a little inconvenience is going to encourage a recycler to become a criminal, you might reconsider who you are talking about. I would guess that most of the people who go to the trouble to recycle also go to the trouble of filling out those pesky voter ballots. Maybe you can give us a little more credit for who we are rather than worrying about and stating we recyclers are all on the verge of becoming criminal illegal dumpers.

Steve Sharp



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