There are fewer and fewer excuses to not recycle in Robeson County.
Disappearing are the days that it required a determined effort to recycle spent items such as paper, plastics, bottles and metals. Toughening state laws about what cannot enter a county landfill are dragging residents along, and most recently Fairmont joined other local governments in providing a voluntary recycling program. The program, adopted by city officials after a letter from seventh-grader Katelyn Bass suggesting it, took effect yesterday.
Robeson County is late to the party: In 2008, the North Carolina Department of Environmental and Natural Resources ranked Robeson County 98th among 100 counties in the state for recycling plastic bottles, with the average Robesonian recycling just a little more than one-tenth of a pound of plastics for an entire year.
Recycling continues to be a money-losing proposition, and local governments, particularly the county Board of Commissioners and the City Council, have been reluctant to implement mandatory programs that would have raised taxes in a county where property taxes are already too high.
But voluntary programs are becoming more accessible.
There are many reasons to recycle; No. 1, it’s the right thing to do. Recycling is eco-friendly in a world that is being threatened by climate change. There are also some money-making opportunities, particularly with metals.
Robeson County, the state’s largest county, isn’t in danger of running out of space to dump our trash. The current landfill has 35 years left of life span, and when the time comes, it won’t be a long jump to find another dump. Unfortunately, that eases the urgency for recycling efforts, which will probably be driven by stricter state laws as the nation’s green movement gains momentum.
For now and the foreseeable future recycling in this county will depend on the people living here getting into a good habit of separating out recyclables and finding a convenient site to deposit them. If we can’t convince you of the need, perhaps a seventh-grader in Fairmont can.