Opelika has made great strides in its recycling program. Recycling has advanced from the small but colorful happy face bins to the industrial bins currently located in five different areas (one in each ward). The original bins were acquired by Shirley Flora, first executive director of Keep Opelika Beautiful, who started the recycling program in Opelika.
We should continue to move forward, with the possibility of more recycling locations (not fewer) and curbside pickup, which Auburn currently has.
Sadly, instead of moving forward, Opelika seems to be moving backward. The city has announced tentative plans to only accept cardboard at the current five locations, with all other items to be taken to one location, the Opelika Recycling Center across from Jeter Primary School. Glass will no longer be recycled after Oct. 1.
Cardboard will still be accepted at the original five locations because it is a money maker. Everything else – plastic, paper and aluminum cans – will have to be recycled at Jeter Street in an effort for the city to save money.
If nearby cities can financially continue to expand their recycling programs, then why can’t we at least maintain what we have?
We have been told that the city wants to grow recycling; that it is trying to do what’s best for Opelika and that change is necessary for growth. On the contrary, these changes will not grow the recycling program but will result in its decline. Maybe the people should have a say in what’s best for Opelika.
Many of us are passionate about recycling and see it as one small way that we can help our city, our environment, our world. There has to be a better way. Please find one.