The next to last item on your November ballot may be the most important one. It speaks directly to what makes us feel good as Lopezians: our solid waste effort. This annual property tax request adds a small but vital dollar amount to the fees we pay to deposit garbage in order to keep our dump financially sound.
Not long ago we could add net recycling revenue to this equation. But let’s not wait for the recycle markets to recover. Rather, let’s start reducing our consumption now, recognizing it’s not the products we purchase but the packaging that advertises and surrounds them that is our main disposal challenge.
Here’s one example. Ten years ago we received $120/ton from Skagit Steel for paper which they sold to Port Angeles Pulp and Paper Mill. In 2017 that mill closed. Today we must pay Skagit Steel $65/ton to take our loose paper. That’s better than the $105/ton we pay Skagit Solid Waste to take our garbage, but we can do better, saving trees and dollars too.
Now that both Rock Island and Century Link have established reasonably dependable broadband service on Lopez, it’s time to go “digital.” Join me in opting out of hard copy magazines and non-local newspapers and in for paperless reports when offered. If we also think twice about making any “extra copies” or “backups” and begin to trust the encrypted servers and not our copy machines and over-stuffed file drawers, we will be doing the right thing and feeling good about it.
And yes, voting overwhelmingly for our needed Solid Waste District’s annual tax will make us feel good too.
Larry Eppenbach, Former secretary of the LSWDD and recovering paper consumer