“The bottom line is the city is not in the recycling business.”

What can be said when you hear a statement like that, especially when it comes from a community leader. I’m not in the business of paying taxes either, but I do it because it benefits the community. What do you do when your local landfill is filling up. Do you buy more land and destroy it. Do you ship the trash somewhere else and make it someone else’s problem. Do you burn it and pollute the air we breathe. How about putting it on ships and taking it out to sea and dumping it there.

What if I told you that, if done correctly, recycling could reduce the amount of trash going into our landfills by 80% and pay for itself. You may say what about all those stories that say only 5% of the recyclables collected are being recycled. I would say that we could find hundreds of excuses not to recycle, or we could just accept the fact that recycling can improve our community and improve the quality of our lives. Let your community leaders know that it is unacceptable that we are not taking full advantage of recycling. There are so many benefits and so few challenges, the decision should be easy. After all the Tennessee River system did not become the most plastic polluted waterway in the world because we are successfully recycling.

I believe shutting down the recycling convenience centers in Elizabethton at Lions Field and Mill Street is a poor decision based on faulty information. The Recycle Center at Cherokee Park will remain open M-F 8:00AM to 3:30PM and Saturday 8:00AM to 12:00PM leaving Elizabethton only a limited option for recycling. Most of us work during the hours that Cherokee Park would be open. This would make recycling in our city very difficult. We should be working to make recycling easier not more difficult. I urge all parties involved to sit down and work out the issues preventing us from being successful recyclers. Do it for the community and do it for the environment. Do it because it reduces the amount of trash in the landfill. Do it because it is the right thing to do. Please just do it! If you are not part of the solution, then you are definitely part of the problem!

Note: Since this email was disseminated, the Carter County Landfill Commission stepped up and is planning to reconfigure the Cherokee Park Recycle Center to provide recycling 24 hours per day with security cameras and lighting. In my opinion the County’s solution is a good one. I cannot wait to see it implemented. Thank you to all who worked to provide a much needed service to the Elizabethton residents. Recycling is a service not a business. If we only offer services to our residents that pay for themselves, we will not have Police, Fire or Sanitation services.