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Letter: Our towns need to make recycling a priority

We in Depew have had totes for quite some time and we grew to like them. The fact of the matter is that rats were a city problem until they got totes, and then they became a suburban problem. You have rats. If you have food and bird feeders, you have rats.

Meanwhile, I sold my house in July and moved to a repurposed building, the old Depew High School, and the company that owns it bought us seven recycling totes. They contract with another service for trash pickup because we would have too many totes, and, like many businesses, more garbage is generated by them than families living in single or double homes.

One thing that is important to us baby boomers is recycling, and the thought of throwing away our plastic yogurt containers is appalling to us. However, the village of Depew has said that businesses which have too many garbage totes are bypassing their responsibility to provide an alternate pick-up system, and I get that. A restaurant is going to create an enormous amount of food and container garbage, and it would be irresponsible to expect the village to pay for their pick-up in totes.

The cost, they say, falls on the taxpayers (a group to which I belonged until July), and my argument for recycling pickup is that the owners of our building ARE taxpayers. Seven totes, every other week, and that’s all we ask.

Where is the line drawn? I don’t know. Right now recycling isn’t as lucrative as it should be, and it’s cheaper (and more toxic) to make new plastics than it is to clean them and reuse them. One of the more ridiculous arguments I’ve heard against recycling is how much water is used rinsing the containers. I use water to wash and re-wear my clothes, wash and reuse my dishes, but it’s somehow a problem to rinse my peanut butter jar.

Somewhere there are warehouses full of colored wine bottles (which don’t belong in your tote – look at the top) which can’t be cleaned and refilled. I don’t know why.

One day in the not-terribly-distant future, a contractor will begin digging a hole for a new home and come upon layers and layers of Pampers, margarine tubs and computer monitors, and it’ll be his problem to solve. We’re certainly not interested in doing so.

Becky Arcese


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