Time to refocus recycling efforts on reusables

One must question the validity of recycling items like glass, paper and plastic in light of the costs associated with it, such as cleaning, separating and transportation costs, including to overseas markets. In a lot of localities, these costs are subsidized by local government, costing the consumer money.

The better choice is to not buy the products that make up 100 percent of the problem. Instead, buy products that have no recyclables, such as bulk food purchases. Insist that sellers use less packaging. Inform manufacturers of your wants.

Items like glass bottles can be reused many hundreds of times, while plastic is not an item that is easily reused . When oil prices are down, recycling plastic is not a worthwhile endeavor.

Items such as cardboard have a good return on recycling, but even there is a need for less material. Most of the time, a box exceeds the size relative to the item in it. Styrofoam is an example of packaging that has absolutely no further use beyond using it in packages. Perhaps loose paper would be a better material for shipping.

I don’t have all the answers, but making a wise choice is a smart start. The government has a role to regulate and make usage of certain materials more worthwhile. We all must do our part.

Otto Richter


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