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Tuesday, December 7, 2021
ArlingtonOpinionLetter: Arlington recycling efforts again misfire

Letter: Arlington recycling efforts again misfire

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Editor: Recently, much to my surprise, I received a food-scraps-collection container courtesy of the Arlington County government, along with a starter kit and some biodegradable bags.

I’m guessing all homeowners got such a surprise gift, in many cases not only unwelcome, but procured and distributed at government expense, irrespective of interest.

To make matters worse, the county government provided alternative-use suggestions for the plastic bins, since maybe most residents are not interested and/or don’t have that many food scraps. What a ridiculous, wasteful example of the county government gone berserk.

No doubt the environmental impact of procuring and distributing the unsolicited plastic bins, most of which will be unused, will more than outweigh the potential offset of collecting food scraps. In addition, what is the cost of the procurement, program design, collection and recycling of this program, versus the benefits?

I now have five county-provided recycling bins: the original yellow plastic bin, the extra large black, blue and green recycling bins on wheels for trash, hard plastic/cardboard, for yard waste and now a small food scrap bin. At the same time, the county government no longer accepts glass bottles in the blue recycling bin for the weekly environmental-services collection.

That’s right: Homeowners are expected to pack up their glass bottles/containers and transport them to various collection centers for recycling. This makes absolutely no sense.

If we would separate glass containers and bottles into a fourth curbside collection bin, I strongly suspect the cost/benefit would be much better than asking residents to eliminate glass from curbside collection while adding food scraps.

There seems to be an enthusiasm for recycling, which is great. But at the same time, it seems crazy to eliminate glass from curbside collection, while providing food-scrap containers and collection programs at taxpayer expense.

If the county government has any economic analysis that supports the deletion of collection of glass for recycling in favor of providing unwanted containers and contractor expenses for the collection and recycling of food scraps, along with any empirical evidence of real outcomes based upon participation, please let us know.

William Johnson, Arlington

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