This letter is in response to Philip Schertz's letter, published at on Jan. 24 and in Montclair Local's Jan. 26 print edition, saying that it's time to stop plastics recycling because it isn't effective.

While Mr. Shertz has exposed the parts of the plastics recycling system that are broken, his suggesting that we stop is a dangerous one. Conjuring images of our plastics falling into the ocean or being incinerated is dismaying, for sure, especially when we imagine them being used to make park benches (a growing industry). But the alternative is that the plastics take a ride on our trash trucks where we pay per pound to dump it, or ship it on other boats to spill into the ocean. Currently our plastics are recycled with glass and metal. So even if a small portion of the plastic haul is productive, I believe the overall effort is worth it.

As important, and thinking outside of Montclair, there are places where recycled plastics do fulfill their promise — economically, efficiently. We are training our children to be responsible global citizens, showing respect for the planet wherever they live, and to work toward changing malfunctioning systems they come upon. Performing individual actions, like reducing our waste, traveling responsibly, eating sustainably and recycling remind us that we all have to do our part.

It’s what has brought us to an era of global climate conscientiousness, even if they seem locally misguided. Now is not the time to stop. It is time to do better.

Debbie Villarreal-Hadley


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