I illegally recycle. Its not by choice. My apartment complex does not provide recycling services. So every week I gather my cans, cartons, and cardboard and drag them to the grocery store. There, after checking for police and store officials, I secretly dump them into the recycling bins behind the store and run. I feel like a criminal. To me however, the real crime is that my apartment is not required to offer recycling services.
Fairfax, the county next to my own, requires apartment complexes to provide recycling. I see no reason why Alexandria should not do the same. Alexandria will quickly see the benefits if it passes a law requiring apartment complexes to offer recycling.
Recycling is good for the environment. Everyone knows that. Recycling leads to less waste in landfills, less need to gobble up natural resources, and less pollution. Yet somehow, my apartment complex, which houses more than 1,500 people, does not recycle. Why not?
Recycling is cost effective. Recycling substantially reduces trash disposal costs. Apartment complexes can also use recycled materials (such as compost) to cut down on landscaping costs. East Orange, N.J., provides recycling services for every apartment complex that has more than 50 units. Since this system began, the complexes have saved on average $35,000 a year. Thats more than the entire yearly salary of an average American.
Some say that people wont recycle even given the opportunity. They are wrong. In these days of modern recycling people can throw all of their recyclables in the same bin. Its just as easy as throwing out the trash, and comes with the added pleasure of doing a good deed.
Even more people will recycle if they know about it. Apartment complexes have high turnover rates, so it is important to let everyone know how recycling can be used. In Fairfax, apartment residents receive a recycling flier along with their lease when they move into a new home. Additionally, apartment managers are required to have a written recycling plan on file in the office for all to see.
Finally, apartment complexes are easy to regulate. Any apartment without recycling will be fined. Its as easy as that. Any resident, employee, or environmentally-friendly passerby could call to report an infraction.
Apartment complexes are the perfect place to require recycling. So, the only thing left is for Alexandria to require apartment complexes to recycle. Apartment recycling is good for the environment, good for the pocket book, and its been good for Fairfax. Lets make it good for us.