Repurcussions are still being felt from the decision by the Kanawha County Solid Waste Authority to stop processing materials at its Slack Street recycling center.
Since that development last spring, the city of Charleston has been paying $500 a week to haul materials it picks up curbside to a recycling center in Beckley.
To reduce this cost, Councilman Cubert Smith - a longtime supporter of recycling - suggested dropping four of the seven materials the city collects. State law requires cities with populations of 10,000 and above to operate recycling programs for at least three materials.
There are reasons not to rush ahead, though.
Mayor Danny Jones pointed out such a disruption would discourage people from recycling at all.
And a longer-term solution could be within reach. The county Solid Waste Authority is negotiating a partnership with West Virginia Recycling Services, a private firm, that could result in Slack Street processing materials for the city once more.
Smith deserves credit for his suggestion. Reviewing the costs and benefits of recycling each of those seven items could be a worthwhile exercise.
But city officials also should consider whether saving part of the $26,000 a year now being spent to haul the materials elsewhere is equal to the cost.
Would the savings be worth risking the 20 years invested in encouraging the recycling habit in city residents?