You can blame it on people from the Valley all you want. But in the end, it is the people of Payson who pay the price for the damage that has been done -- be it by travelers or by locals.
This past week, when the Town of Payson announced that the paper-recycling program wasn't worth the trouble anymore, we felt disappointed for a variety of reasons.
While we believe in recycling, our disappointment was about more than losing the ability to reduce paper and cardboard waste. We were disappointed in the behavior of our fellow human beings. We were shocked at the level of disrespect that people pay to this community.
According to the article "Recycling too costly for town" published in the Friday, Nov. 14 Payson Roundup, everything from human waste to animal parts have been found in the recycling bins.
And most of the time, the objectionable garbage isn't discovered until the refuse is hauled to the Valley, dumped on a sorting floor and picked through by workers.
When that happens, the entire load is worthless. It's dumped out with the regular trash and the town pays for it anyway -- at a cost of $250 a load or about $24,000 a year.
Whoever was so inconsiderate to throw human waste in the recycling bin has cost this community tax dollars and possibly a recycling service that was appreciated deeply by this newspaper staff and many area residents and businesses.
We believe this behavior is just a facet of a larger problem in this area. Talk to the Forest Service about the countless tons of dumping in the forest around Payson. Talk to anyone from the organizations who have adopted a highway mile about the hours they spend picking up beer cans and worse. Or walk along Forest Drive between the Beeline Highway and Easy Street. Trash lines the ditches on both sides of the road.
Or refer back to the Tuesday, Nov. 7 issue of the Roundup. We ran a story on the Senior page titled, "Poison discovered at senior thrift store." The article told of thrift store volunteers discovering containers of DDT left at the door. The insecticide is not only dangerous, but the disposal is expensive.
All of this is a sad commentary on the behavior of a handful of human beings.
It is important to respect where you live. Respect your environment. In Payson, what we have is our location -- the natural beauty of our surroundings. Once that is destroyed, we have nothing left.
With that said, we would like to thank everyone who is recycling, and we would like to ask you to be observant when in the area of recycling bins. Please report any improper activity.
We would also like to encourage anyone who values the recycling program to get involved in the volunteer effort to save it.
A new recycling task force has also been formed to discuss options.
To get involved, contact Leon Keddington at firstname.lastname@example.org.