Solid waste fee will discourage recycling

I am writing about the recent decision by the county to charge $5 for every recycling visit. If the goal is to encourage recycling, this is a big mistake. My situation is probably common. I accumulate recycling materials until I have enough to fill the trunk of my car, and then drop them off on a trip to Eastsound. Since most recycling materials are pretty light, the $5 charge is a significant fraction of what it would cost to just throw them in the garbage for San Juan Sanitation to collect. When I consider the fuel used to drive to the transfer station, and especially when I consider my time, it is cheaper to do just that. I have a lot of faith in the free market to determine what is most economical. If recycling costs as much or more than garbage disposal, it is probably a bad idea as far as conserving resources, when everything, including human resources, is considered. People will recycle for other than economic reasons if society encourages it and they think they are doing a good thing. The addition of a government-imposed fee is a very strong societal discouragement. Look for recycling volumes to drop considerably after this fee is in effect.

Mike Macksey