I was disappointed to read several weeks ago about Hilton Head Island Town Council's mandated recycling program. It smacked of centrally planned, command systems of the past that promised efficiency and cost savings, but ignored the innovation and adaptation precepts of private enterprise. The sole-source provider, just one step away from a "force account" public provider, loses significant incentives to improve with a monopolistic position. The town over time will find itself providing more guidance and more detailed contract involvement. And future competitors will be at a disadvantage to the entrenched provider. Government often thinks it knows better, but winds up doing things less efficiently and less effectively than the private sector (e.g. airport planning) because of political imperatives. If it doesn't take direct legislative control, it hampers with studies, committees, earmarks or restrictions to satisfy certain constituencies. Several years ago we had a fairly responsive, decentralized neighborhood-friendly waste disposal system with recycling, but then the town mandated one large centralized, less convenient (less effective) depot near the airport. It would have been more practical to build a responsive recycling system now on a "decentralized" model. The Island Packet recently chose to strongly endorse this system in the highly charged political atmosphere leading up to the Nov. 2 election. Let the mayoral candidates lead the discussion on recycling options. With its new endorsement policy, the newspaper will be restricted to certain candidates or suffer contradiction. The new council should revisit recycling and coordinate with the county when it convenes. Jim Holtaway Hilton Head Island
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