News From Terre Haute, Indiana

Opinion

July 9, 2014

EDITORIAL: A green idea worth pursuing

A recycling program would serve fair well

TERRE HAUTE — It sounds like a blue-ribbon idea.

And it sure seems like one the Fair Board should explore as soon as the dust from this year’s run of the Vigo County Fair ends.

The idea? That the fair board plan and establish a comprehensive plan to recycle the tons of clean waste from the fair that now go into the garbage — and, thus, a landfill.

Jane Santucci, a local environmental activist who occasionally shares her thoughts in the Tribune-Star as a freelance writer, has started an online petition to get the fair board’s attention. The reasons for the petition and the Wabash Valley Fair Association president’s reaction to it were reported prominently in our paper on Tuesday.

Really, though, it shouldn’t take a petition to convince the fair board to put the idea high on its agenda for consideration and debate — so it can begin with next summer’s fair if it is approved.

Such a recycling idea would seem to be perfectly consistent with the conservation and reuse of land and resources that are vital parts of the agrarian heritage that is so proudly represented at the fair.

Making the idea even more compelling is that there is local expertise on recycling just a few miles north of the fairgrounds at Indiana State University. Increasingly over recent years, ISU has looked into the community for ways it can share its expertise and influence to benefit the community. The ISU Recycle Center on North Ninth Street at least could offer advice on how to conduct a daily mass separation, collection and packaging of recyclables at the fair that could be saved from a landfill and sold for at least a bit of change. The fair board might even contract ISU’s recyclers, whose load is lighter during the summer, to provide the manpower during the fair to handle the labor of a recycling effort — or at least teach volunteers how to manage recycling so they could take over the tasks in the second year of a recycling program.

Or could 4-H’ers be enlisted to plan a recycling program and provide the labor to make it work? That opportunity might provide added incentive for young people to join 4-H and benefit from its many positive attributes. With the right kind of adult oversight, such a 4-H effort could even become a business that makes a profit and pays its young workers at least a token wage.

Green is the color of wonderful Indiana crops such as corn, cabbage, onions and broccoli that are on display at the fair. And green is the 4-H color.

Maybe it’s time to add the green of the recycling symbol to the landscape at the Vigo County Fair.

 

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