Education the key to recycling
Rutherford County seems well on its way to changing its recycling structure.
During its meeting last Monday, the Rutherford County Commission approved a contract with Republic to collect and haul co-mingled recycling from the county.
Under the terms of the contract, the county will neither pay nor receive any money for the process.
That's all well and good.
However, moving to a co-mingled recycling structure requires a great bit of information the education to the public to understand exactly what that means.
When you factor in the rapid pace the county is moving to get this done, it puts the need for education that much more in the spotlight.
Prior to even discussing contracts or methodology, the county disbanded the Solid Waste Environmental Education Panel (SWEEP) in favor of an enhanced recycling panel that, for the next two years, will be tasked with educating the public on co-mingled recycling.
The problem we have is we have heard nothing from this new group.
There have been no flyers, no pamphlets, no sound bytes, no articles for the paper, no nothing.
That presents a big problem.
As we move into this new co-mingled recycling world, the public has to know what it means, what they have to do to prepare and how the system works.
If that doesn't happen, we may be left with a process that, despite the best intentions, doesn't work because the citizens of Rutherford County haven't had it explained to them.
On top of that, we can forget the possibility of recycling growing in the county.
There are plenty of materials on the web and in print describing how co-mingled recycling works in communities across the country but, as of now, there is nothing regarding the process working in Rutherford County.
We certainly do not oppose the prospect of co-mingled recycling in the county. However, the bottom line is that we simply don't know enough about the process to know whether it will be good, bad or indifferent.
That is problematic.
The county elected to disband the one committee with a noted track record of educating the public on recycling and it was within their rights to do so.
But, the money dedicated to SWEEP was reallocated to this new enhanced recycling group and, to the best of our knowledge, nothing has been done.
This new committee, which we understand has just been established, has a tough task at hand and little time to waste. The county is moving quickly towards the process of co-mingled recycling.
It is time for the committee charged with providing the public with the necessary education to keep pace.
By Matthew Clark, for the Editorial Board
The Daily Courier Editorial Board consists of community members Jerry Brewer, Kyle Bingham, Tom Padgett and Cliff Strassenburg as well as Editor Matthew Clark