EDITORIAL: More recycling

On any Wednesday morning, you can drive through many Tupelo neighborhoods and see half or more of the households with green recycling bins set on the curb and awaiting pickup.
This week it was the area south of Main Street, while next week it will be neighborhoods to the north. After three years, it’s become a regular routine for more and more city residents – a big improvement over having to collect recyclables and haul them to designated drop-off points.
The same convenience is now available to businesses in Tupelo, and some are already taking advantage of it.
Waste Management started a commercial curbside recycling program in October, and as today’s front page story recounts, it’s because Tupelo’s waste hauler recognized a demand.
The growth of recycling into the business sector is an encouraging development after successful introduction of residential curbside recycling in Tupelo. It’s indicative of the growing recognition that recycling is the responsible alternative to sending everything to the landfill.
Many Tupelo residents have made collecting household recyclable materials – plastic, aluminum, steel cans, cardboard and newspapers – and placing them in the 18-gallon bins a regular routine. Like anything else, it takes a disciplined approach until it becomes an ingrained habit, after which it’s simply no big deal.
The first benefit to recycling is reducing the amount of landfill space needed. That’s a significant impetus by itself, given the cost and availability of land and the perennial difficulty in finding landfill sites that don’t arouse public protest.
But by now everyone also knows that recycling saves energy and raw materials, which is good for the environment. Our “throw away” culture has not been good environmental stewardship, and reusing what would otherwise be tossed out represents a reversal of that decades-old carelessness.
Some skeptics scoff at the impact of recycling on larger environmental problems, but even small steps in the big scheme of things, taken together, can make a difference.
That’s true on a broader scale with businesses since they produce so much more waste than the average residence. If all of Tupelo’s residences and businesses eventually recycled, there could be considerable financial savings to the city in landfill fees, not to mention the satisfaction of eliminating an unnecessary stream of waste.
Recycling is something any city needs to embrace if it aspires to be seen as a progressive community – and that has always been Tupelo’s goal. With curbside recycling for business, Tupelo has taken another important step in making the recycling ethic the city’s eventual norm.

NEMS Daily Journal