Please Don’t Give Up Recycling (Letter to the Editor)

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This letter is in response to Philip Schertz’s letter, published on on January 24 and in the January 26 print edition of Montclair Local, saying it’s time to stop recycling plastics because it is not effective.

Although Mr. Shertz exposed the parts of the plastics recycling system that are broken, his suggestion to stop is dangerous. Conjuring up images of our plastics falling into the ocean or being incinerated is of course appalling, especially when one imagines them being used to make park benches (a growing industry). But the alternative is for the plastics to take a ride in our garbage trucks where we pay per pound to throw them away, or ship them on other boats to dump in the ocean. Currently, our plastics are recycled along with glass and metal. So while a small part of transporting plastic is productive, I think the overall effort is worth it.

Equally important, and outside of Montclair, there are places where recycled plastics are fulfilling their promise – economically, efficiently. We train our children to be responsible global citizens, to show respect for the planet wherever they live, and to work to change the faulty systems they encounter. Taking individual actions like reducing our waste, traveling responsibly, eating sustainably and recycling reminds us that we all have to do our part.

This is what has brought us to an era of global climate awareness, even if it seems locally wrong. Now is not the time to stop. It’s time to do better.

Debbie Villarreal-Hadley


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