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Now is the time to begin enforcing the recycling ordinance

Harrison County was one of the first counties in the state to recycle garbage. The county commission passed an ordinance in 1992 mandating the recycling of paper, metal and plastic. So far, it's worked pretty well, but not everyone is on board. That has to change.

Commissioners now want to revisit the 8-year-old recycling ordinance and beef up enforcement. When it was written, it provided for penalties, but there were no provisions for enforcement. The commission did that for a reason. It wanted county residents and the garbage haulers to get used to the idea of recycling.

Now it's time to crack down on those who aren't participating -- both the customers and the haulers. While not naming specific violators, commissioners say that there are some residential and commercial customers who are not recycling. In addition, they say they have heard reports of some haulers tossing recyclables into the same trucks with the regular garbage.

We recycle for a reason. We want to extend the lives of our landfills for as long as possible. Studies show that recycling can keep significant amounts of trash from being dumped in landfills. We only have a finite number of places to send our trash in this state, and we need to utilize them for as long as possible.

The commissioners want to make the program as painless as possible. Giving the county an 8-year grace period was pretty generous. In revisiting the ordinance, they will look at a proposal to establish several sites around the county where residents can bring their recyclables.

Recycling may not be the most fun thing to do, but it's the right thing to do. And we all should be participating.

Today's editorial reflects the opinion of the Exponent editorial board, which is comprised of John G. Miller, James G. Logue, Kevin S. Courtney, Patrick M. Martin and J. Cecil Jarvis.

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