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COLUMN: Conserve resources for future generations

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By CURTIS OCHS
Solid Waste Coordinator for Spencer County

We have now lived through five years of drastic change in our living conditions. The world of 2005 has vanished. The year 2011 more resembles the year 1931 for industry, finance and social conditions.
If you own your home, polls show your equity has dropped 33 percent. The acts of nature and Wall Street have created a strangle hold on the buying power of today’s consumer. The arguments over how to reform health care get louder and louder, with no solution in sight.

Yet, in spite of all the negatives, we still waste as if there is no tomorrow. It is true, if we have any age on us at all, our tomorrows are indeed limited. But, our children and grandchildren deserve to have a chance at living in a county with sustainable raw materials, and in a pollution free atmosphere. We can begin to increase their chances by being more aware of our opportunities for recycling, renewing, and reusing as much of our waste as possible.

The handling of solid waste is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. Between the garbage can and the landfill, billions of dollars have been spent upgrading and improving the handling of, and disposal of what we commonly call waste. New companies spring up, and existing companies expand at a phenomenal rate.

The key to having a secure future is the separation of true waste from renewable materials. This is being done at a rapidly expanding rate. We can now look down the road and see all food scraps being used in composting operations, with a few already in operation.
Even today, some zoos are promoting elephant poop as excellent mulch. Recycling operations are growing by leaps and bounds. With our recession, the amount of old corrugated containers available for recycling is way down, and China is begging for more. Recycling an aluminum can saves 95 percent of the cost and energy of forming one from raw aluminum. Some soda companies are both attempting to develop a bio- degradable bottle based on soybean oil. The list of opportunities for saving raw materials is endless.

That said, I am happy to say Spencer County Fiscal Court is receiving a grant to provide the county with a new recycling trailer, plus a number of recycling containers that can be used at public areas and at our schools.

I invite all community agencies to join in promoting the expansion of our recycling efforts. From private businesses to governmental offices to private citizens, we all need to make a dedicated effort to recycle, renew, and reuse all the waste products possible.