The battle is now in your hands


They were lined up Friday like an army of blue soldiers, ready
for marching orders to fight Hollister’s garbage.
They were lined up Friday like an army of blue soldiers, ready for marching orders to fight Hollister’s garbage.

Some were shipped out late last week. The rest of the blue recycling containers will go out this week. Now, the real battle is in your hands.

Beginning Dec. 16, the City of Hollister will begin its long-awaited Single Stream Recycling Program, a mandatory recycling plan to reduce the amount of trash entering our landfill. And, the plan is simple.

Basically, customers can dispose of all their recyclables in the one blue bin – from plastic and glass bottles to newspapers to junk mail to aluminum – without sorting. About the only thing that can’t be thrown into the recycling bins is food waste.

The plan is being put into action because the city has failed to comply with state disposal regulations since 1989 legislation – the California Integrated Waste Management Act – mandated a 50-percent reduction of waste by 2000.

However, Hollister has avoided fines of up to $10,000 a day because of a good faith clause in the bill that exempted jurisdictions that showed conscious efforts to reduce their waste. And, since 1989 Hollister officials have estimated the city – you – have reduced garbage going to the landfill by 33 percent. But it is not enough.

Yes, the city has been lax in its effort to reduce waste. It instituted a mandatory garbage collection ordinance as late as 1997. It began a voluntary recycling program – that included a fee – in 1999, and just this year Council finally passed the most recent plan while most communities have had the program in place for the past five years to 10 years.

The county adopted a similar program not too long ago and has had great success. Statewide, single stream programs have diverted 200 million tons of garbage that would have gone into landfills. The program works.

Now, the battle is in your hands – to recycle.

Each day, every state resident produces about six pounds of garbage, and though recycling is a needed start, it will not be enough.

About one-third of household waste comes from the packaging of items. So, to help our county, our environment, think before shopping.

Here are a few examples to get you started:

A large box of cereal is less expensive, and it produces 50 percent less waste than snack pack cereal boxes;

Those single water bottles everyone loves, well, a one-gallon container of water generates 80 percent less waste than a six-pack of water in 12-ounce bottles;

A condensed can of soup produces 46 percent less waste than a microwavable single package of soup.

The battle is in your hands. And while it should have started years ago, it begins today for a better tomorrow.

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