Earth Day: A time for us to reflect | Other Voices

Jeff Borgida - Courtesy Photo
Jeff Borgida
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

The very first Earth Day was April 22, 1970. Established as a day of awareness, people back then undoubtedly saw a different set of hopes and conditions than we do today. Simply put, the earth was indeed different. It was on the leading edge of a turn in human behavior, a turn for the better.

In 1970, Bellevue was a city of only 60,000 residents. Cherry Crest Elementary and Borghild Ringdall Middle School had just opened and a study by engineers, botanists, biologists and the state Fisheries Department showed that Mercer Slough was suffering from siltation and off-season flooding.

Back then, words like “environment” and “sustainable” were not yet the triggers for planet stewardship that they are today. Even the notion of “being green” has evolved rapidly from birth to a place where it is about to be reborn as something new and rejuvenating — something once again groundbreaking that reinforces our resolve, our commitment to the planet.

Earth Day today is both a reflection of where we’ve been and where we are headed. Bellevue will soon begin a new and comprehensive waste and recycling contract with Republic Services. Multifamily residents will soon have ready access to food scrap composting. Commercial customers will have unlimited recycling included in their garbage rate. Reducing waste and recycling more are foundational elements in what we hope becomes renewed attention and care for the environment. Today, we can look in the mirror at a reflection that is 44 years older and wiser, knowing that this direction is the right course.

Over the years, Republic Services’ mission has been steadfast, our sights always set on what lies beyond the horizon in terms of new technology and innovation that we will apply to help preserve our natural resources and better the communities we serve. The byproduct of our efforts has been a major source of renewable, clean energy, local jobs and strengthened partnerships that have helped lead to industry firsts in waste reduction and recycling.

Our goal is to one day look back at where we have been and to see the strides we have made without any footprints on the environment.

The health of our planet ultimately rests in our hands. Together, with the residents of Bellevue, and the staff and infrastructure that make Republic the community and environmental partner it is today, Earth Day 2014 holds tremendous promise for a better planet for generations to come.

This Earth Day, please renew your pledge to the environment and your commitment to reduce, reuse and recycle. Help us make every day Earth Day.

Jeff Borgida is general manager of Republic Services in Bellevue.


New recycling options coming
New recycling options begin June 29 for Bellevue-area residents. Program brochures outlining the changes will be sent next month. Republic Services will be at KidsQuest Children’s Museum from 10 a.m. to noon June 7 and at the Strawberry Festival to provide complete information on all the new programs and services Republic Services will be offering.

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