It's great that Asheville is such a progressive town. We unite and fight vehemently for all sorts of causes. We become militant about the aesthetic integration of office-supply store facades, benefits for domestic partners, vegetarian equality, chained dogs and even a single threatened tree. And if we believe in something, we don't even bother with how our bankrupt city budget will absorb it.
But there is a cause that is sorely and inexplicably ignored for such a self-aware and progressive city. This is something that is important to everyone across all demographic strata: Recycling matters to all of us.
Curbside recycling exists in only select neighborhoods in Asheville. It is not available in any apartment complex or business. And business is where recycling should begin. The amount of recyclable material cast off by consumer households doesn't amount to a drop in the bucket compared to mountains generated by commercial businesses. And at present, unless a business recycles, all of that mass is still going to landfills.
A cursory visit to one of the very few voluntary-recycling centers will amply testify to the passion and dedication that self-sacrificing Ashevilleans have for recycling. I often have to wait in line at the recycling centers behind Asheville Pizza & Brewing or Westgate Shopping Center. These citizens go to significant trouble and inconvenience to save, sort, transport and deposit a large volume of recyclable items at these centers, week after week, month after month, ad infinitum, with no thanks or reward aside from the satisfaction of knowing that they have done the right thing for the environment. If individual citizens are this motivated, our municipal government should encourage and underwrite the effort too.
The time to change is way overdue. As of Oct. 1, 2009, North Carolina banned all rigid plastic containers from landfills. This includes any bottles with a neck smaller than the container itself. That's great, but as of right now, little if anything is being done locally to uphold or enforce this law.
Please petition and nag your City Council representatives relentlessly to enact policy to compel recycling at every business and domicile (including apartments!) in the city, and to provide the means to make it happen.
— Clay Watson