“Burying or burning trash are not the only two pathways out of our waste problem.”

Eureka Policy and Advocacy Manager, Priscilla Villa-Watt, responds to a recent Star Tribune article on waste…

“In response to “Landfills full; alternatives few” (front page, Jan. 26): Burying or burning trash are not the only two pathways out of our waste problem. While an immediate solution is clearly needed to manage the garbage we’re producing now, we must also turn our attention to the real problem. Instead of digging ourselves into a deeper hole that commits us to burying or burning valuable resources, it is time for leadership to seize the moment and take us down a new path toward zero waste.

A high percentage of what we incinerate or put in landfills is recyclable or compostable. If captured, those materials would support our local economy, create sustainable jobs and curb climate change. We need policies like U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar’s Zero Waste Act that would provide grants for investments in composting, electronic waste reuse and recycling, reuse systems and recycling market development. We also need policies that ensure corporate producers are paying their fair share. Let’s be real: While we all enjoy that bag of chips, we want the product, not the bag, and it’s time corporations take responsibility instead of forcing us to pick up the bill for the waste they make.

Investments in landfills or incinerators are a dead end. In a time where jobs, the economy and our climate are suffering and exacerbating the racial inequities created by our existing take-make-waste system, let’s take a moment to step back and reimagine what a just and healthy future could look like, and put our energy and money into creating it!”

Priscilla Villa-Watt, St. Paul, Eureka Recycling Policy & Advocacy Manager

Read the letter to the editor on The Star Tribune’s website here