Walla Walla, as a community, should do a better job of recycling.
Yet, to this point city government hasn't made recycling particularly easy or customer friendly, even with curbside pickup.
The container residents are supposed to put their recyclables in is relatively small, a 16-gallon bin, and it has no cover. A strong (even moderate) wind sends yesterday's U-B to the top of your neighbor's 22-foot birch tree. Some weeks, folks have more to recycle than fits in the bin. Rain or snow can leave the containers messy.
And beyond the obvious, the city has had issues with contracting out the service and costs.
That's in the past.
Starting Feb. 1, Basin Disposal Inc. will begin collecting recyclables under a contract with the city.
City residents will receive 96-gallon containers with wheels that will replace the much smaller bins that have been in use for a dozen years. The new containers are not only much larger but far more weather-resistant.
The city's curbside recycling service will cost residents $3.64 a month, regardless of whether they choose to recycle. State law mandates the city put a comprehensive recycling program in place.
Since residents are paying for this service, it only makes sense that they use it.
"This change to automated service has been a long-awaited improvement to our collection system," said Tom Purcell, the city's Public Works Operations Superintendent, in a news release. "We look forward to offering a more convenient and comprehensive approach to waste management for our residential customers."
So, too, do we.
After all, recycling is something that is a benefit to all of Walla Walla. It saves space in the city landfill and it is good for our environment.
The city made the right move in opting to go in a new direction and improving the curbside recycling program.