I just finished an educational and satisfying tour at the Blaine County Recycling Center with a group of middle school students from Syringa Mountain School and a member of the Environmental Resource Center. As the friendly and knowledgeable staff gave a detailed tour of the facility, the students were able to ask relevant questions that highlighted the benefits and complications of recycling in our valley. The amount of energy that goes into re-creating materials from recyclables is tremendous.

In response to last week’s Los Angeles Times guest opinion (“People, states need to lead on recycling,” Dec. 11) and insight from the professionals in our valley, yes, there are issues with recycling methods, including financial support, politics, contamination, etc. However, before the local or state government has to ban plastic bags, you can easily purchase (for $1) a reusable bag. The staff at the Recycling Center said the key to eliminating recycling issues comes before an item is even recycled. Every single one of us has the ability to make that choice. Make a conscious decision and don’t even use a plastic bag. The first step is doing what you can to reuse before you have to recycle.

Pat Owen, Hailey

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