More than 80 percent of Philadelphia's households do not recycle, and nearly 80 percent of the city's voters didn't bother to vote last Tuesday.

Mayor Nutter has asked us to recycle so the city can save almost $30 million a year - and that would be if just 30 percent complied. We can save money and improve air quality at the same time: Tons of refuse are incinerated here. The Recycle Bank partnership has helped, but we are still missing an opportunity.

Similarly, Andy Toy, who ran in the Democratic primary for an at-large City Council seat, wanted to cut Council salaries by a third (to make up for its recesses) and to eliminate taxpayer-funded cars and cellphones. No other candidate signed Toy's pledge, yet all five incumbent Democrats won. An economic development expert, Toy knows how to reclaim vacant properties for affordable housing and small businesses. Again, a way to save money, make money, and improve our quality of life. But we let Toy get away.

Apathy links the refusal to recycle and to learn about the candidates and vote. "America's next great city"? Not so fast. We'll need some more great citizens first.

Rosa Michnya