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Letter: Recycle, but also reduce and reuse

A truck passes One World Recycling on Queens

A truck passes One World Recycling on Queens Avenue in Lindenhurst on Nov. 25, 2013. Photo Credit: Steve Pfost

As a science teacher and the coach of an environmental team, I read William F. Shughart II’s op-ed with interest [“Recycling not as cheap as you think,” Opinion, Jan. 4]. He skips over many points that don’t support his opinion.

First, recycling is making the same object again using the same materials. As of now, only glass and metals are truly recycled.

Paper and plastics are “down-cycled” or repurposed. They are used to produce lesser-quality objects, and this can be done for only one or two cycles. Plastic degrades when reused, and with the price of oil so low, it makes no sense to recycle plastic.

What Shugart ignores are the most efficient and most cost-efficient ways of reducing the amount of waste we produce: reduce and reuse. I see people paying enormous amounts for cases of water, when my public water is safe and tasty. My family uses reusable water bottles, lunch containers and shopping bags. Buying vegetables at my market that are not precut or wrapped reduces the amount of plastic garbage I produce.

While Shughart states that there is plenty of room in landfills, he ignores the problem of methane production, as well as heavy metals and other toxins leaking into the groundwater. Those methods are penny-wise and pound-foolish.

Kathy Dubuke, Farmingdale