Our opinion:?Might as well pitch it in

If you take your recycling items to, say, Segel and Sons or Mortensen Recycling, you will be rewarded in a tangible way. They give you money for the stuff.

You’ll feel better about taking the trouble to collect those cans, bottles, cardboard and plastic containers that you might have simply tossed in with your garbage to be added to a landfill somewhere. It will have been worth it to tie up the paper, mash the cans and bag up the bottles to deliver them to a recycler to give yourself the satisfaction of not further contributing to the sullying of the earth. And, the extra jingle in your pocket will help.

In a perfect world, the cost the City of Warren pays to have cans, bottles, plastic and paper collected at your house would be offset by how much those materials bring to the collector/hauler. The entire thing would be a city service without cost to taxpayers, even perhaps providing the city with a bit of income.

Alas, this is not a perfect world, and it will cost the City of Warren and its taxpayers $61,000 a year to pay a recycling contractor under its new contract to make those pickups and haul away the stuff. The contractor, of course, collects the money the materials bring, or else the service would cost even more.

That’s a lot of money, and some might say: Let those people who want to recycle handle it on their own. The city shouldn’t underwrite recycling. The city should at least look for another hauler.

But, under Act 101 of 1988 Pennsylvania mandates that all municipalities of more than 5,000 inhabitants and a density of 300 people per square mile are required to provide curbside recycling services. Grants were available to establish the program – those handy green bins, for instance – but the city is on the hook for maintaining the service with only some of the cost reimbursed by the state based on tonnage. Last year, that reimbursement totaled about 20 percent of the cost. As for shopping around for a hauler, the only bidder was Advanced Disposal (formerly Veolia).

So, it’s costing you as a city taxpayer to have those green containers emptied at your curb twice a month. You might as well fill them up.

You’ll still get that feeling of environmental accomplishment and perhaps some small satisfaction of taking advantage of a service you’re paying for anyway…at least more than if you didn’t use those bins at all.