By John Oglevie

Recycling at present is not profitable. Just ask Adams County, the Weiser River Resource Council, or WICAP which has just announced they will no longer operate the recycling center in Weiser.

It is unlikely manufacturing will stop producing non-recyclable containers. Or the conversion of plastic to other materials which would boost the value of recyclable materials will happen anytime soon either. This means we must work within our local communities to do what we can to manage our waste disposal. 


Commissioner Kirk Chandler recently expressed the opinion that a private, for profit business, is the only solution he can see for continuing with the recycle center. If the recycle center closes, then our only option is burying our waste along with our plastic, paper, metal, and cardboard. Is this a plan for the future? Where all management of our waste is a search for landfill sites and ever increasing transfer costs? 


The issue is not and should not be about profits. Or that one option needs to be profitable at all times while the other is an expense we just have to accept. I think the issue should be about sustainability. The United Nations, defined sustainability as ‘… development that satisfies the needs of the present without adversely affecting the ability of future generations to satisfy their needs.’ The management of our Idaho forests is one example of a successful sustainable program.


To this end, I am calling on the City of Weiser and Washington County to create a 5-year waste management program that recognizes the need for both options. The  program would look for new options and incorporate them when they become available A program that is aware of budget constraints, but also recognizes maintaining a recycle center is necessary even when profits from these materials is not available. I would also like to see the city and the county create a local campaign to educate our citizens on the role they must play in its implementation.


One day soon recycling will become mandatory in this country. We have the opportunity now to be ready for that day with a functioning center and a city and county that have wisely invested in that center and the education of its citizens.


Finally, I would like the candidates in our 2019 elections to speak about a waste management program. How they see our citizens dealing with the present while protecting the future that our children will inherit from us. 


If you think having a sustainable solid waste program that includes recycling is necessary, please speak our commissioners, council members and candidates and let them know.