On recycling receptacles and recycling legislators


“Sometimes I’m confused by what I think is really obvious. But what I think is really obvious obviously isn’t obvious.”
Michael Stipe, singer-songwriter, R.E.M.

Because of my stupid allergies to pollen, especially from pine trees, I will sneeze and wheeze my way through this column, I hope. It’s not like it’s been a great week after receiving several bruises on both arms repairing my riding lawn mower and then installing my air conditioner. Funny thing is, I mowed my lawn once and created a huge dust storm and with the lack of rain that we have had, I don’t dare mow it again for fear I will kill it. In-between damaging my body I decided to go to Windham Public Works to drop off our recyclable materials and that’s where the confusion began.

I loaded up all our recyclables in my car and off to Public Works I went. I usually am pretty good about reading public notices when they exist, so I was quite surprised to find that the silver bullet recycling bins had disappeared. It’s not a huge problem because I can always stick my recyclables in the plastic bin given to us by the town, set that next to the road and then watch when the materials in it get sucked out by the wind or speeding vehicles and litter the neighborhood. If it’s not on my property, no problem.

After all of that, I talked with someone who brought up the fact that Ecomaine might have dropped some items from recycling because they are contaminating the system. My wife and I wash and rinse any container, such as bottles of salad dressing, so they are clean and safe to recycle. I also heard that if the items aren’t in one the bins furnished by the town they won’t be picked up. I haven’t watched Channel 7 on local cable lately, but at one time it was totally outdated and confusing because one segment showed that everything recyclable could be placed in one bin and then a few minutes later it stated items had to be separated by category (like paper, plastic or glass).

Windham town councilors were absolutely correct when they stated that there was a communications problem between the local government and Windham residents. When it comes to recycling there is a definite communications problem. When I went to Public Works there were a couple of cars ahead of me that also obviously didn’t know the recycle bins had been moved. Our local officials have asked us to approve a tax increase, but I’m not sure I can support it because our government is not supporting us.

The silver bullet bins have been relocated next to the Windham Social Services building and yes, they still contain a lot of materials that should have been placed in the trash.

Something else that should be recycled is the state Legislature. I read in Sunday’s paper that the state is funding only 47 percent of local education even though state law states it has to be 55 percent. I wonder if there are enough vacant cells at the Warren State Prison because the highest local education was ever funded was 53 percent. The common citizen gets punished with either fines or jail time or both when he or she breaks the laws of this states. It’s high time that it happens in Augusta, too.

Re-election time is rapidly coming our way and I see an opportunity for all of us to do a new type of recycling on the political scene. No rank choice voting allowed.

When it comes to politicians, Lane Hiltunen of Windham believes recycling is verboten.