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Where's the recycling in Bayfield?

It is disconcerting that recycling has become a polarized issue and the necessary expenses to cover a recycling program cannot be met by the Town of Bayfield. Community-wide recycling services need to be reinstated in order to reach people in the Pine River Valley because the only recycling services available are located in Durango, for a fee.

Recycling should not be an inconvenience or a burden on the community; rather it should be treated no differently than garbage disposal. Americans have come to expect the convenience of a strong infrastructure with gas, sewer, waste removal, and roadways. Recycling should be no exception to the daily lives of the public. The only way to have a manageable and sustainable recycling program is to incorporate the cost into the annual budget.

Over the last four years, I have been involved with recycling materials as a member of BHS Earth Club. Every Friday we manage all recycling of paper, plastic, cans, and cardboard from every classroom at the high school. Recycling prevents disposal of tons of material into landfills. Last week alone we recycled 70 pounds of steel cans and 40 cubic feet of single-stream recyclables. Recycling at my school shows my peers and my community recycling can, in fact, be done in an efficient and fiscally sound way. Recently, we have expanded our recycling operations to include the entire school district.

Over the next several months, Earth Club, with the support of Waste Management, will be providing free electronic recycling services to the community. Please bring in old, small electronics, ink cartridges, laptop computers, and small batteries found in cameras to the clearly distinguished boxes found at Pine River Public Library, Bayfield Town Hall, First National Bank, Pine River Valley Bank, and Bayfield High School.

Unfortunately, the recycling services provided by the town have been discontinued. Our community needs to stand up and demand the simple services that are not being provided. I will continue my pursuit of facilitating a community-wide program.

Michael Fusco

Earth Club president, Bayfield High School