Pasco Letter to the Editor for March 16

Published March 13 2018

Re: Pasco to test roadside recycling | March 9 column

Pasco County (and its residents) have financial incentives to recycle, but the participation rate is low. Clearly, Pasco County either needs to make recycling mandatory — by making residents recycle or suffer a financial penalty — or provide additional motivation for people to recycle. Some ideas:

1) Have students taking environmental studies courses make community presentations could provide a persuasive recycling case to their parents and neighbors.

2) Send letters to every household, outlining the financial facts. Include tables showing how much each household will pay if Pasco County has to spend $190 million to expand its incinerator and how much each household would save if Pasco recycles all the bottles and cans it now burns.

3) Organize neighborhoods with recycling captains and co-captains who will demonstrate how easy it is to start recycling.

4) Have competition among neighborhoods, publishing standings monthly and awarding small prizes to the top communities every month or two.

5) Designate a small rubber garbage can on wheels as the official recycling container of Pasco County. Residents need not use this type of container, but all Home Depots, Lowe’s and Ace Hardwares, etc., in Pasco County can stock these containers and sell them at a low, competitive price. They are small enough to fit on the back seat of a car, yet large enough to accommodate three weeks of household recycling materials.

Recycling pickup every other week is fine, even for ardent recycling households. There is no need to offer weekly recycling pickup. Reducing garbage pickup to once a week is a terrible idea. Some residents in my community can’t always fit their garbage into their garbage cans, and they leave the lids partly open or put garbage bags on top of the lids. Dive-bombing crows rip the bags and make a smelly, unsightly mess.

This would only get worse with once-a-week garbage pickup. If these residents can’t be bothered to recycle now, what makes Pasco County officials think they will voluntarily recycle if the only variable change is pickup frequency?

David Silverman, Wesley Chapel