Facing Reality Over Recycling

Remember all the claims, not so many years ago, about recycling? We could all help the environment while at the same time padding our own pocketbooks a bit, because there was money to be made in reusing goods such as paper and glass, we were assured.

Most Americans learned quickly that while recycling may be doing a good deed for Mother Nature, it comes with a price tag. Like it or not, prices paid for recyclable materials in most places don’t cover the cost of collecting them.

Earlier this year, Brooke County commissioners were forced to face that reality. Grants supporting the county Solid Waste Authority’s recycling program have dried up, at least temporarily.

Authority officials reacted properly, by cutting spending. They did that by removing plastic, paper and metal recycling bins from some locations in the county.

That makes it more difficult for Brooke County residents to dispose of waste material they hope can be recycled, as county commissioners were reminded last week. A county resident wrote to them expressing concern about the change – and adding a question about why glass is not being collected for recycling.

Commissioners are sympathetic, of course. But the reality is that the county’s recycling program needs big subsidies through grants. County taxpayers can’t afford to support it.

Let’s hope the grants are forthcoming. In the meantime, however, the authority and commissioners are right to be worrying about conservation – of taxpayers’ money.