High Desert Hoofbeats
Sorting things out...
by Sena Taylor Hauer
Apr 04, 2013 | 490 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
I believe in recycling. I believe that the practice of re-using our waste items is key to keeping the planet cleaner by not having to bury or burn refuse, and not having to make as many containers from scratch. From a natural resources perspective, recycling is mostly a win-win venture. But from a financial standpoint, it’s not always economical.

In Moab it isn’t easy to recycle. I think our county and city are a bit old school when it comes to supporting the practice. I developed that opinion about 25 years ago while visiting metropolitan areas that had mandatory business and residential recycling. I was surprised to learn way back then that if you lived in some cities and you didn’t recycle your waste into the correct bins – which were provided by the municipality in which you lived – you might get a hefty fine.

Over the years our city and county decision-makers have not fully supported recycling because of the costs associated with it. Operating a curbside recycling program in Moab is much more complicated than just getting Bob’s Sanitation to pick up the trash. I understand that, but I haven’t understood why the city and county haven’t been more supportive of the Canyonlands Community Recycling Center. I haven’t understood why the center just barely stays open. The various levels of government, whether city, county, state or federal, have long been in the business of funding losing ventures. Grassy parks are not a necessity, are they? Recreational ball fields and walkways certainly don’t generate money. But they enhance a community, and so does recycling.

So nearly a decade ago when a progressive-minded Moab entrepreneur decided to start a private curbside recycling business, I was one of the first to sign up. Hooray, I thought. Recycling wouldn’t be so difficult because I wouldn’t have to separate and store my refuse or make regular trips to the recycling center on Sand Flats Road. I wouldn’t have to feel guilty for throwing recyclables away because now I could pay someone to come pick them up.

But apparently my family of three generates more matter than my curbside service is willing to collect. This Monday morning, and several other mornings like today, my recycling service has left a box or bag full of cans and milk jugs right there on the curb. These were the items that didn’t fit into the little blue bin. That is really deflating to me, after having painstakingly gathered this stuff up all week.

So I’ve decided to take a break from recycling. I’m a little disillusioned.

I know I can pay for a second blue bin, and then pay $20 per month or $240 per year (essentially double), so that perhaps more of my refuse can go to the recycling center. But that’s when I begin to think similarly to some of our community leaders. That’s just too much money out of my pocket for something that’s optional. I already pay a lot in taxes, including a fair amount for curbside trash pickup. I can’t justify paying that much more for residential recycling. Yes, I understand the recycling service I subscribe to feels they have to work too hard at my curb if they have to sort and carry more than one full box when they stop at my house for $2.50 a week.

The solution for me, right now, is to take a break from recycling. When my little blue bin gets full, I’ll put the rest of my trash in the big green barrel provided by Bob. Sounds reasonable to me. For if my recycling service has no guilt in leaving a box of cans and containers sitting on the curb, I have no guilt in dumping it in my trash can.

Enough of that garbage.

I’m also a little out of sorts this week by the dismissal of Moab Area Chamber of Commerce Director Kammy Wells. My old high school chum, with whom I haven’t spent much time since we graduated from high school in 1981, has worked her heart out at the Chamber for the past half-dozen years. She’s done a good job. She’s been there to light the community Christmas trees and set up the dunk tanks at Fourth of July holidays. She has orchestrated parades and socials and luncheons. She’s outlasted most other directors. She was asked to resign last week, just before Easter, over what I believe are some technicalities.

I don’t need nor want to get into the personnel files of anyone on the Chamber board or on the Chamber payroll, but I do believe this situation could have been handled with more care and sensitivity. So from me, Kammy, thanks for a job well done.

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