What is not happening with Calhoun County’s recycling program is a disgrace -- not just because of the disrespect and lethargy people have shown in leaving non-recyclable items at the recycling bins, but also because we are short-changing our state in jobs and revenue.
Star reporters Eddie Burkhalter and Laura Camper brought this to light in their story. Twenty-six manufacturers employing more than 10,700 people and generating in excess of $6.6 billion in annual sales just from the recycling industry. Did you read that? Recycling just 10 percent more statewide would create 1,400 more jobs and an additional $66 million in personal income and $3 million in state tax revenue. That is millions of dollars the state could use to fund much-needed projects.
Add to that the $25 million spent to place in landfills the more than $193 million worth of materials that could have been recycled and you can see that recycling is a “green” initiative on more than one level.
Anniston and Oxford residents should not have to pay for curbside or more convenient recycling opportunities; that cost can be buried in other services. The cities and this state should care enough about not just the environmental impact but also job and revenue-creation to make recycling virtually mandatory. We should have a plethora of multi-compartment bins at a multiplicity of sites. But that won’t happen as long as people dump Styrofoam, mattresses, glass bottles, children’s tricycles and even dead pets in or around the bins.
Doing what is right is not always easy or convenient. But it should be done anyway for the good of our state’s economy, reputation and, yes, fellow tree-huggers, environment.