Bill Wayne's Political Pages - The Gadfly
Gadfly 285
Submitted to the Warrensburg Gazette for April 7, 2005

The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.

We're in the middle of Warrensburg's semi-annual celebration of recycling, better known as Spring Clean-up. That’s when residents put their unwanted items on the curb in the hopes that someone will find those items a better home. Officially, the items are destined for the local dump, but a pretty decent number actually find another use.

Yes, we are among those who cruise the neighborhoods and examine items tossed by the citizenry. Over the years we have found dressing dummies (two of which grace a downtown business's window sporting 1855-era clothing), paintings, quite usable clothing, books and supplies useful to rural elementary schools, and even historic documents. We see others assiduously saving metal items & appliances for scrap, updating their gardening supplies or stocking their booths at local flea markets.

Essentially, recycling is good, especially if done voluntarily. At the recent Home Show, we saw a list of what the Sheltered Workshop can handle. Anything the workshop earns from its business-type activities saves the taxpayer money while providing jobs for impaired people. Definitely a win-win situation.

When recycling becomes less good is when it becomes a government-mandated activity. As I see news from cities that have mandatory programs and government-run trash service, I see problems with failure to comply with the official procedures, dumping, enforcement complaints and disgruntlement among ordinary citizens (those not among the elite who demand government action). We have already seen how the rules for Warrensburg's trash pickup have multiplied to fill half a page of newsprint; imagine how rule-bound we’d be if all our trash collection were run by the government.

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