Please reconsider recycling policy
To the editor:
Peterborough Public Works Director Rodney Bartlett’s recent directive prohibiting employees of the Peterborough Recycling Center from acting on requests by residents to salvage and set aside particular items was undoubtedly well-intentioned. However, the consequences of the directive seem to us to be similar to throwing out the baby with the bathwater. Surely the “unfortunate incident” — according to the Recycling Center’s manager, Scott Bradford — could have been settled by measures specific to that incident, rather than by totally prohibiting Recycling Center employees from helping Peterborough residents obtain items discarded by other Peterborough residents.
The long-standing practice of assisting residents by setting aside requested items served several purposes. First, it permitted the items to be reused, thus saving the energy and environmental costs of disposing of the old items and manufacturing new ones. Second, every item found by Recycling Center employees and given to residents was an item that didn’t have to be hauled away at taxpayers’ expense. Third, the interactions between Recycling Center employees and residents contributed to Peterborough’s sense of community. According to the Aug. 12 Monadnock Ledger-Transcript, Mr. Bartlett feels that Recycling Center employees should be spending their full time managing the facility, not finding stuff for residents. For the reasons stated in the previous paragraph, we feel that setting aside potentially useful items at residents’ requests should be an integral part of the normal duties of Recycling Center employees.
Bartlett pointed out that his directive doesn’t prevent residents from looking for stuff they could use, but he failed to consider that having residents wandering all over the Recycling Center looking for stuff they could use would be both inefficient and unsafe. We hope that Mr. Bartlett will reconsider his directive and get rid only of the bathwater, not the baby as well.
Anne and Joel Huberman