Letters: Reduce plastics in landfills

Johnson City Press • Mar 31, 2019 at 6:00 AM

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Reduce plastics in landfills

While Johnson City has been recycling for years, it is disappointing to learn that it has become necessary to limit some of the plastics that we have been able to put in our bins. A recent JC Press article has reported the state General Assembly plans to ban local governments from restricting the use of certain plastics as Styrofoam because of business confusion. The Assembly could solve this problem by creating a statewide ban on such plastics that never decompose. The ban could be set to begin at a certain future date to enable the companies get rid of their supplies.

Just imagine how much less trash would be in our statewide landfills.

Johnson City

A new recycling idea

As has been recently reported numerous times in the Johnson City Press, China’s decision to stop accepting American recyclable waste has caused turmoil in the global recycling industry including at the local level. This combined with the infantile, tribal response of many right-wingers in this country to fight any efforts of environmentally concerned folks to get a handle on our world’s profound plastic pollution crisis is a recipe for catastrophe and very disheartening to me.

I have especially hated to learn that much of the refuse I have seen in those big green recycling ‘dumpsters’ I have visited every week for years and years while contributing my several 13-gallon bags full of carefully sorted paper and plastic materials just became landfill anyway.

Then, on Friday, March 29, I saw the following two news briefs on the same page of the Johnson City Press: “Lawmakers OK banning cities from regulating items” [e.g. single use plastic bags] and “Overcrowding blamed for fight at Cheatham jail.”

I had a thought. Maybe we could turn many large American jails/prisons into recycling centers. I personally advocate for completely banning plastic except for those rare purposes where there is really no substitute, but since currently monied interests would never allow this to happen I think we need another approach. Could the jail/prison idea be it?

Johnson City

Respect the checks and balances

Our founding fathers wrote that our unique democratic republic they were creating would be fragile, and some fathers questioned whether we would be able to keep it because citizens would not want to do the work. Their concerns included the warning that the citizenry must be educated so that they would not be led astray by manipulating politicians. The fathers also warned that power corrupts and our leaders must have the highest moral standards. And so, they set up a system for constant monitoring and investigating.

Our three branches of government are supposed to keep constant check on each other's behavior and power. Our two parties are supposed to keep constant check on each other's behavior and power. Our free press is supposed to report on everybody. Our citizenry is supposed to understand this constant check and balance system and be knowledgeable and wise enough to support the highest level of monitoring.

Demonizing those who are trying to fulfill their various constitutional monitoring responsibilities is not how we keep our democracy strong. So let's celebrate our founding fathers' genius as we watch investigations unfold into Russian meddling in our elections and as we investigate the many ways Americans have been influenced by the meddling Russians so we can address these threats.

It's OK, America. All these investigations are the way it's supposed to be so we can stay strong. Let's learn all we can and get our news coverage from more than one reputable source. Let's be discerning enough to not be swayed by over-simplification of truths by one side. Let's accept the fact that democracy is complicated and an ongoing challenge, and that we have and will develop complex ways to meet those challenges and will continue to do so as long as we are a successful democratic republic.

Johnson City

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