Letters to the Editor

The true cost of recycling | Federal Way letters

(RE: “Keep plastic bags out of curbside recycling,” April 27):

I totally understand the mechanical issues related to having loose plastic bags get caught up in the machinery (the conveyor belts and screens) that the recycling facility uses for sorting the items.

My impression is that the recycling facility is privately owned and operates for profit.

If this is correct, I believe that we should be promoting as much recycling as possible and avoid putting roadblocks in the way for citizens who pay for these services and all of society who benefit from a cleaner, healthier Earth.

If it’s publicly operated, what I’m about to write still applies.

While home cleaning businesses might find it easier to do their jobs if the people they work for would just pick up after themselves, a home cleaning business is paid to do the picking up.

If the recycling plant has to shut down an average of twice a day to correct the clogs from loose bags, I would think that cuts into their profits. If it were my company, I would analyze the costs associated with shutting the plant down that often and maybe hiring a couple (or a few) wage earners to pick those loose bags out manually, before they get caught in the machinery, and recycle them in whatever way works for the industry.

I’m betting that the cost would be a wash: the same to pull the bags out by hand, while it moves by, before it gets caught in the machine causing shutdowns, which use the same man hours and labor to get the machines going again.

I certainly wouldn’t think it would be reasonable to have my customers do my work for me.

Until mixed recycling pickup started, most people found recycling too cumbersome and time consuming.  Since mixed recycling was started, I find it hard to throw away enough trash to warrant weekly pickup, but routinely have a recycle bin (that’s twice the size of the trash bin) overflowing with recyclables because it is only picked up every other week. I’m betting we aren’t the only household that could use weekly recycle pickup and once every other week trash pickup.

This could change if you make it hard to recycle.

How about we put some more people back to work? Maybe city recycling project manager Jeanette Brizendine could use her influence in Olympia to ask them to legislate that recycling companies be responsible for their businesses and sort out by hand what can’t be sorted out by machine.

Tom Sichel, Federal Way



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