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Sonoma County Gazette

OPINION - Reduce, Reuse, RecycleTown!

Mar 16, 2018


Two women are talking. “Every time I am down in the dumps, I get a new hat.”

“Is THAT where you get them!”

Well, not any more. The idea of recycle, re-use, re-pair, is “out the window” now, and into the landfill. Of course, you may need to wait in line, and then pay a disposal fee. And it may not feel good to dispose of something that is still usable – you just no longer want it.

I went to Recycletown a couple days ago, and was stunned, shocked, and saddened. There was not very much there, and things were not where they usually are.

I commented and questioned. Then I became disgusted and angry.

I have frequented Recycletown since the 80's. I think it is a most ingenious concept. One Sonoma County could be quite proud of. Perhaps it could be replicated across the country – maybe even farther!

For those of you who do not know of this treasure, Recycletown is located outside the entrance to the County Landfill. There, rather than discarding them, you may donate items that are usable. Everything, including the kitchen sink! Furniture, gardening supplies, windows, doors, random wood, tiles, lighting fixtures, housewares, clothing (often new from a store close-out), bedding, curtains, books, recorded music, bicycles, play equipment, wheel chairs and commodes, odd and assorted pieces that perhaps, only if you were looking for it would you know what it is. These are organized for easy perusal, and sold for a pittance.

I remember feeling it was not right when the county awarded a contract to manage the Landfill to an out-of-state company. How could they possible have our best interest in mind? Sonoma Compost was known for it's quality products. Local yard waste, decomposed, and sterilized. Bulk. Piles. Serve yourself, or have it scooped into your truck. No middle man, no packaging, no shipping, no predetermined quantity (bagged). It is gone now. And now, after the last rains, edicts at Recycletown. Certain things must be covered, or removed.  Inventory is greatly reduced, therefore sales. Therefore income. Therefore layoffs. Therefore more taken to the landfill. More money for the out-of-state management company...  There seems little reason for the changes that were required. Toilets, tubs, sinks, etc. which had sat in the open must now be under cover. Really? Also windows. Gardening supplies – pots, flats, etc.  It is difficult to believe.  Other inventory is just gone.

How “green” and “sustainable” is that? We live in a time when we know there is no “away”. And we know we are a “throw-away” society. Some, because new products are shoddily made and sold cheap. (Well, not really, if you consider they might not last long.) Do we really dump things in the ocean, or set them floating on barges?

We recently talked of Sonoma Proud. We are an innovative people here, often considered at the forefront of some practices. How can we have come to have our ways dictated by an out-of-state, for profit, company


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