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To recycle or not to recycle, that is the question. Whether it is nobler in the mind to repurpose used materials, or doom them to ignoble burial in a landfill.

Republic Services has guilted local councils into allowing them to charge their subscribers a $2 monthly fee to defray the cost of curbside recycling. Since China stopped taking our dirty plastic, the market has gone from a nice tidy profit to a flood of red ink. No more free service.

Ironically, if the plastic could be made clean enough, there are domestic industries who would buy it. The technology to do it is out there.

I watched a video of a firm in Germany that takes all thermally moldable plastics and shreds, cleans, sorts, and turns them into pellets that are ready to be remanufactured into new products. Innovation, technology, turning trash to treasure — isn’t that something we pride ourselves in as Americans? Isn’t it time we took the way we process our recyclables, in particular plastics, out of the Middle Ages?

Thomas K. Binker

Corvallis (April 9)

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