Can Augusta truly benefit from a mandatory recycling program? Optimistically, the answer is yes.
Many cities across the United States have adopted mandatory recycling. If cities such as Seattle and Pittsburgh have had a program for reusing materials in place for years, then why can’t Augusta have one?
The first issue in the answer to mandatory recycling is finding out how it can be done economically. Given Augusta’s infrastructure, the access to road and rail may alleviate both the environmental and transportation costs.
The second issue would be getting the community on board with sorting trash into separate bins and dealing with noncompliance fines. While it may be a slight inconvenience at first, the short-term benefits would be a unilateral push toward a cleaner city despite the time of year. The outcome of getting the junk off our streets and lots potentially could attract developers, and perhaps create more jobs within the city. The long-term benefits possibly could be residual income from reused materials, and a reduction in local landfills.
Cardboard, plastic bottles, glass and aluminum cans can be repurposed into either the same functional forms from which they were made, or into a multitude of products. It would be naïve to say that this easily could be done; however, I believe that the benefits outweigh the costs. Initially, there would be expenditures from bins, sorting locations and placement in the city budget.
We must understand that being “greener” would be beneficial to businesses and residents alike. By instituting a mandatory recycling program, we can create a brighter future for generations to come, and a cleaner city of which we all can be proud.