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Focus Should Shift From Trash Disposal to Recycling

June 30, 1988

I am glad to see that The Times continues to feature in its San Gabriel Valley section articles on trash disposal. Now that most San Gabriel Valley cities have come out against incinerators, many of the articles seem to be concerned with hauling garbage by rail to remote desert sites.

In my opinion, the governmental agencies are once again showing their shortsightedness in dealing with a longstanding problem which must be faced one day.

Your articles usually mention that hauling trash by rail is "a potential solution" to the solid waste disposal crises projected for the 1990s. This is not a solution, because it would only delay the trash crisis to the early 2000s. Simply putting our garbage somewhere else doesn't change the basic nature of a "throw-away" society.

La Verne Councilman Thomas Harvey may be correct in saying that most of his city's residents don't want to recycle. But obviously most people don't want to observe the posted speed limits, either.

The point here is we should not be looking at what people want, but what is best. As an average citizen, I see areas every day where there is room for improvement. I could make a myriad of suggestions, and I'd be willing to do it at a fraction of the cost of consulting firms. However, let's just mention one.

In regard to the current container-recycling law, most people won't return bottles for only 1 cent per item. Laziness and inconvenience aside, why not have Boy Scouts (or) Cub Scouts come by and collect them once a month? In Norfolk, Va., my Scout troop did this with returnable bottles in the early 1960s. Why not raise the deposit to a nickel per container, and if necessary, have the consumer pay part or all of the cost at the point of sale?

We can conduct studies on trash disposal from now till doomsday, but in the meantime, let's develop something we know exists: recycling.

STEVEN R. DESENS

San Dimas

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