By Nancy Biller

I hope that, within one year of the establishment of a new administration, the entire city of Philadelphia can have weekly incentive-based curbside single-stream recycling. This relatively small issue has great importance because it is relevant to quality of life, fiscal responsibility and the environmental changes that worry so many of us.

Many Philadelphians are frustrated with the confusion and inaccessibility that mark the city's nonuniform recycling program. Some of us have been toting recyclables around Philadelphia for 10 to 20 years, while residents in neighboring towns and states have been able to perform this basic trash-handling task effortlessly.

Controller Jonathan A. Saidel issued a report in 2005 indicating that a comprehensive recycling program would save the city at least $17 million a year. If Philadelphia's new mayor ordered the implementation of such a program within three to six months of appointment, this would indicate to the citizenry that we had an administration fiscally responsible enough to go after savings when it saw them.

Much of the world is finally recognizing that we have serious environmental problems threatening life as we have known it. Transforming Philadelphia into a leader in environmentally sound practices (recycling being only the first step) would be a great accomplishment for our new mayor, one that would surely be praised by many within the city and beyond.

Wouldn't it be great if Philadelphia could become known as one of the greenest, instead of one of the fattest and dirtiest of cities, while saving money? Couldn't such a reputation even serve to attract more residents and businesses, with accompanying benefits to our economy, as in more jobs, less poverty, less crime?

Perhaps this small recycling issue isn't so small after all.

Nancy Biller (nancybiller@comcast.net) of Bella Vista is the organizer of RecycleNOW Philadelphia's Center/South Chapter.