In Amelia’s utopia, a town does not enter into the sustainability movement, and the “Greening of Municipalities in Jersey Era” with a recommendation to end recycling. The recycling program in Frelinghuysenfolly is under review; it may be chopped. Yet, recycling is trending up in Jersey (according to the DEP). In addition, a recent national study it was shown that “converting wastes into valuable raw material recycling creates jobs, builds more competitive manufacturing industries, and adds significantly to the U.S. economy.”

I sat next to an elected official this week who questions the negative green house gas effect; he is not sure there is global warming. “Wow,” I said, “I had heard there are thousands of people who think that way, but I never met one before. Wow.” Then I decided that conversation would not be productive to continue.

It is a manageable task to find grant and matching funds to support recycling programs; we even have one right now! We spend so little on our current recycling program which is good and useful and helpful, and an important service for tax dollars. According to fiscal reporting 2010, Frelinghuysenfolly was spending less than $175 a month to manage our recycling program.

Amelia uses Freecycle, she recycles, and everyone in the family wears hand-me-downs and second-hand cast offs (noted trick, go to wealthy vacation destinations and check out the thrift shop- tres excellent!)  Blairstown and Newton have amazing Freecycle programs. (Did you know that I got canoe paddles for free. But I don’t have a canoe yet- although I certainly am looking!)

Did you know towns have started “building/sports/household items/garden/farm recycling programs” in old municipal facilities and have full funding for these programs? They are staffed by volunteers, and they function as a kind of “swap shop” with great community gain. If someone wants something, and they don’t live in town, they pay a small fee for the item. This approach to recycling helps the town’s citizens save money on home improvement/repair projects, and keep mass out of landfills.  

In my utopia, an elected official does not state “Only about 40 people are using the recycling program and it costs us over $3,000 a year; and Blairstown eliminated their program, so I think we should too.” When questioned by Amelia, “What is the 40 people number based on?” Answer: “We counted users for a few weeks.” To which I ask, “In the dead of January?” Please do some more research about recycling, scan other months, research grant options, think about recycling as part of how to use the old DPW building if a new building is in the planning. Please don’t remove this program. It is counter-intuitive on all fronts to undo recycling.