I have been a professional recycler since 1983.
For Princeton to create a goal of a 50 percent recycling rate for 2012 (Notebook, March 19) is a travesty. Depending on the method used to calculate recycling, businesses today routinely are producing 80 to 90 percent less garbage than they had before implementing source reduction, reuse, and recycling plans and programs. The Sierra Club recently has adopted a zero-waste goal, as have numerous western cities, and many are beginning to devote substantial resources to plan and implement new programs.
Unfortunately, reducing garbage is not like switching to solar energy or installing low-flow apparatus in the bathroom; everyone thinks they have the right to throw what they want away. The nice thing about program implementation is that, unlike dieting or stopping smoking, you don’t have to do it yourself; you can pay someone else to go through your old stuff and direct it to the appropriate destination for reuse, recycling, or composting.
Princeton’s got to be able to do a lot better than 50 percent.