According to a Dec. 3 article, Sen. Susan Collins is co-sponsoring a bill to “bolster local recycling rates across the country.” It would include activities “ranging from public service announcements to labeling signs for recycling bins,” and help “preserve our nation’s stunning beauty.”

The senator’s sentiment is touching, but raising the recycling rate a few percentage points through better labeling and public service announcements is a grossly inadequate response to our waste management problems and signals, once again, the she doesn’t comprehend the magnitude of the environmental crisis confronting the planet.

At the present time even environmentalists are being undercut by a system that can not provide markets for recycled materials now that China and other countries are refusing to be a dumping ground for our waste products. Yes, we need better recycling, but on a scale that dwarfs our feeble efforts thus far, and the remedy that the senator is proposing.

It has been estimated that the production, consumption, and disposal of goods and food accounts for 42 percent of the greenhouse gas emissions in the United States. Though It is difficult to tease out the disposal component of this total, clearly we need a massive overhaul of the way products are sold, packaged, transported, and recycled if we are to substantially reduce plastics in the environment, and the overall impact of waste disposal on global warming.

Unfortunately, the senator’s proposal is more suited to 1980 than 2020.

Joe Hardy