In response to Curly Finster’s questions about recycling in a recent letter to the editor, I, for one, am glad that Republic Services is still making an effort to provide recycling services. The fact that it now is losing money taking recyclables is not due to its bad business decisions.
For years, most of our recyclables were sold to China. But this past year, China said it no longer wanted to collect the world’s garbage and stopped accepting most plastic containers or any recycled paper with a contamination level above 0.5 percent. So, blame us for being too messy and contaminating recyclables with food and trash. Republic Services has had to raise their rates as it tries to find solutions for dealing with contaminated materials.
But there are good reasons to continue to recycle what we can. Just a few figures to consider:
• Using recycled plastic saves 33 percent of the energy it takes to manufacture it new from fossil fuels.
• Using recycled steel saves 74 percent of the energy it takes to make it new from mineral ore.
• Using recycled aluminum saves 95 percent!
• Recycled paper saves 40 percent of the energy it takes to make new paper from trees.
So, maybe we can’t recycle as much, but why not recycle all we can? It’s worth it to pay a bit more and do what we can to take care of the earth. Just remember that your recyclables must be empty, clean, and dry.
Corvallis (Nov. 30)