Sunday, October 26, 2008

Problems With Downtown Recycling

Another example of inadequate recycling in Princeton can be found downtown, in the borough. The library, for instance, recycles cardboard, but from what I've heard and seen, all paper, bottles and cans get tossed out with the trash. The library cafe has stylish but totally dysfunctional lookalike recycling and trash containers that both end up filled with trash.

The two businesses I checked with are recycling bottles and cans, but all the paper and cardboard are getting thrown away. Email inquiries to the library and the Borough Merchants Association have not as yet gotten responses.

Again, this is a situation where local government, which gets annual grants from the state to support recycling initiatives and recycling coordinator positions, could be stepping in to make sure businesses are complying with the mandatory recycling ordinances. The merchants association, borough staff and the business owners themselves all could be playing a role in solving any logistical hurdles. The value of recyclables when compared to landfilling costs, the introduction of single stream recycling in which bottles/cans and paper can be mixed together, and the potential for businesses to team up and share dumpsters--all are ways that costs could be minimized.

What is most remarkable about the situation is that the great majority of Princeton institutions and businesses would surely say they are highly sympathetic to environmental concerns, and yet there is a breakdown in the expression of that sympathy at a nuts and bolts, day to day level.

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