Time for Champaign recycling is right now

Even though the Champaign City Council came extremely close to tossing a plan that would beautify the city’s garbage bins into the trash, the goals are admirable.

Council members want to make the area more appealing to prospective businesses and consumers and like any home, the first step is to just keep it clean. Obviously, no one likes to look at an overflowing Dumpster, much less walk near one; but instead of passing an ordinance that requires Dumpsters to be hidden behind some kind of enclosure, they should focus more on minimizing waste to begin with.

We wrote earlier this year about how superior Urbana’s recycling system is to Champaign’s. Specifically, the city goes to great lengths to have bins in a convenient locations as well as local pickup. Now is Champaign’s chance to go green by expanding its recycling capacity.

If done well, the Council can solve both the problem of eyesore bins and reducing the amount of waste that the city produces, all while projecting a positive message to the community that being environmentally friendly is not only the right thing to do but also a great move for businesses.

One major objection to the plan Tuesday concerned imposing unfunded mandates on businesses who may not be able to afford to build enclosures. If officials want to avoid that, it may look into the possibility of more recycling simply because Dumpsters would fill up slower if recyclables had a place of their own.

The complicated questions of basically requiring some citizens to hide their garbage may be necessary since we can’t get rid of it all. But before the city starts ordering some to hide their trash, it should first do all it can to make sure it’s being responsible in waste disposal.

Ordinance or not, we can only cover up the problem for so long.