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Spring Hill situation should embarrass residents too lazy and cheap to recycle

No politician will ever say it, but this is what it comes down to: Most of you are lazy.

All you have to do, you Spring Hill residents in the curbside recycling program, is drop plastic bottles and cans in one bin, paper in another and trash in a third.

Can't carry the bins to the curb? Then spend a few bucks on a rolling garbage can. If you are one of those people complaining about the cutback in service this month, these cans have plenty of room for two weeks of recyclables. The waste removal folks will pick them up same as a county-issued bin.

And if it's the washing out of, say, dog food cans you don't like, then just do the clean, easy stuff — newspaper, aluminum and plastic. How difficult is that?

Yet only 20 percent of you can be bothered.

Also, a lot of you are cheap.

For $1.15 per month, a few cents more than a Snickers bar, a crew comes to your house twice a month and does what the other half of county residents have to do themselves — haul away bins full of recyclables. We who don't get this service have even chipped in $8 per year ($2 since the cutback) to make it more affordable for those of you who do.

Still, according to Commissioner Rose Rocco, some of you feel this program was "rammed down everybody's throat.''

All I can say is, please ram it into my neighborhood.

Or maybe you're ignorant.

Commissioner Jeff Stabins said residents need to be educated about the benefits of recycling. But after all these years, how can you not know?

Hernando just spent $9.1 million building a new landfill cell. It's expected to last 15 years. Take out the recyclable material from the waste stream, and its lifespan could nearly double. Also, the new company that handles our recycled material pays us according to how much of it we send them. If 60 percent of curbside folks participated, the county would get about $225,000 more per year.

There's only so much aluminum in the world. Mining ore and smelting it are dirty jobs that gobble up fuel, consuming 20 times as much energy as recycling, according to Keep America Beautiful. Put another way, the waste of failing to recycle an aluminum can is equal to filling that can half full of gasoline and dumping it on the ground.

You don't want to hear that tree-hugger crud? Well, that means there may be another reason so few of you are willing to lift a finger for our planet. You don't really care.

Sure, Hernando's curbside recycling program could be improved, and utilities director Joe Stapf has some ideas about a more convenient automated system.

But it works pretty well as it is, and the commission is taking your nitpicking seriously because blaming the program is safer than blaming voters. Stabins has even suggested scrapping the whole thing at least temporarily.

That might make you happy, but it's a bad idea that would say bad things about the people of Hernando.

A few years ago, I went to Sarasota County to look at its curbside recycling program, which was and is a statewide model, with a current participation rate of more than 70 percent.

On pickup day, nearly every garbage can was accompanied by a recycling bin.

If their bins weren't out by the curb, residents told me, they were embarrassed. Which is how 80 percent of you in Spring Hill should feel right now.

Spring Hill situation should embarrass residents too lazy and cheap to recycle 04/29/10 [Last modified: Thursday, April 29, 2010 8:36pm]
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