Recycling can help area and agency

Published 12:00 am Saturday, March 4, 2000

In the winter, most of us tend to look the other way when it comes to litter on the streets and highways.

Saturday, March 04, 2000

In the winter, most of us tend to look the other way when it comes to litter on the streets and highways.

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Cold temperatures combined with short days make it all too easy just to ignore the landscape around us.

Now, it is no longer dark by 5 p.m. In fact, on recent gloriously sunny, warm days, it has stayed light until 7 p.m. or later.

All of us can do our part by picking up winter’s accumulated litter around our homes and where we work.

We also can start recycling aluminum cans as part of an overall commitment to being kind to our environment.

Twenty or so years ago, recycling gained popularity as the nation first became aware of the need to take better care of our world.

In those days, it seemed almost everybody kept a garbage bag outside the kitchen door just for empty aluminum cans. Some collected cans for the money, but most did it because it was good for the environment, too.

Paul Mollett, director of Tri-State Industries in Coal Grove, remembers when cars would line up down the driveway at the facility’s recycling center. Now, only a car or two a day brings cans in for recycling.

Although today’s per-pound price of 39 cents is lower than the all-time high of 60 cents, we all benefit in countless ways when everyone recycles, Mollett stresses.

"I know the cans are still out there. I just fear that instead of being recycled, the cans are going to dumpsters," Mollett says. "I don’t know how to glamorize recycling, but I do know it is important for our area."

He is absolutely right.

Aluminum is a non-renewable resource. Once it all has been mined, you simply cannot "manufacture" more.

Also, as we fill up landfills with cans that could have been recycled, we are wasting precious space on our Earth that could have been used for something much more productive.

The failure to recycle takes a human toll, too, at Tri-State Industries. Clients depend on the jobs provided by recycling and other operations at the facility. When residents don’t recycle, jobs could be lost. The last thing the area needs is more lost jobs.

Recycling truly is a win-win proposition. The environment wins, each of us wins and the clients at Tri-State Industries win.

It takes very little effort to toss empty cans into a separate garbage bag and then take them for recycling.

The annual observance of Earth Day is coming up soon in early April. Starting a recycling program at your home or business would be a great way to foster the millennium spirit that was so evident as we began the year.

Jennifer Allen is publisher of The Ironton Tribune.