Opinion Piece By Samuel Strait – September 21, 2017 – I guess our local recycling guru, Tedd Ward, Director of the Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority hasn’t gotten the memo, China, the United State’s largest purchaser of recycled materials has taken themselves out of the recycling business with the U.S. by banning any further recycled materials to be imported from this Country. For at least ten years, most of the materials collected for recycling not purchased by China, at bargain basement prices, are more than likely returned to the solid waste stream and never become newly manufactured products. This has made a mockery of the insistence by recycling activists that recycling is still some kind of benefit to those that foot the bill. For some time Americans have paid nearly double the cost to recycle as opposed to simply sending everything to the landfill. Major urban cities such as New York ($200/ton), Chicago ($240/ton), and Los Angeles ($219/ton) pay more than double the cost of solid waste disposal, to “feel good” about recycling, recycling that more often than not will eventually find its way back to the landfill.
But we are running out of landfill space, not true. But we are running out of raw materials, not even close. But it serves to protect the environment, what a joke. But it uses less energy and prevents toxic materials from the processing of raw materials, not anymore. It is almost irresponsible for people to consider recycling as a benefit to society in this current time period due to the sheer cost to recycle. That coupled with contamination, high handling cost, high transportation cost, and increased awareness that toxic waste collected from re manufactured recyclables exceed those from the processing of raw materials. Improved manufacturing techniques, lower energy costs, more energy efficient practices, and less toxicity from production have all contributed to the decline in the utilization of recycled materials.
Director Ward has made a career out of riding the recycle, or zero waste wave, at great cost to this County. Now that recycling has become a major problem for Ward, where are his answers to this problem? After all, that’s what over a million and a half dollars spent each year on a useless Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority (DNSWMA) is suppose to be all about. Looks like Recology has purchased the Eel River Recycling Center in Fortuna. Isn’t that just wonderful. Now Del Norte’s citizens will be on the hook through increased garbage collection rates to pay Recology back and then some, plus absorb the increased cost of transporting recyclables to Fortuna. I can Hardly wait for my bill. Of course no one even considered purchasing the local facility, keeping the jobs here, and helping our “less Fortunate”. What a sterling example of “good management/”
In addition to this colossal oversight, it needs to be pointed out that Eel River had its own share of problems before its purchase by Recology. In fact, the problems with recycling centers is far greater than the spin being reported by Ward in the Triplicate. In the past three years as of the end of 2016 only a few less than 1100 centers remain in California of the nearly 2500 recycling collection centers. Many States have gone away from the ‘mandates” such as we endure here in California where 30% is the goal of diversion from solid waste, set to go to 50%. Many locals else where have no recycling collection at the curb period. Gone is the blue can. Many localities are going to voluntary recycling where materials collected by individuals can be taken to central collection centers which greatly reduce the contamination, handling and transportation costs. Of course our local anti growth environmentalist lobby fears that people will forsake recycling if given the choice, but given the facts, who can blame them.
In a recent trip to the east coast, I spent time in a small rural county where the blue can at the curb did not exist. Never fear recycling activists, upon visiting the local recycling collection center, which was not teettering on bankruptcy, I discovered a booming business that claimed an almost contamination free product and estimates of 25% to 30% diversion rate from solid waste collections. I guess it can be dome without the contrived situation we face in Del Norte County. Don’t worry Director Ward, CalRecycle will be just as useless in what you think of as a problem and in its solution as DNSWMA is to this County.
Time to get serious about making Tedd Ward unemployed. Get rid of DNSWMA….