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Since You Asked: Medford's new terminal will handle recycling

My family travels frequently around the West Coast and I have noticed that most airports have at least some form of recycling. I contacted the Medford airport a few years ago requesting recycling services be made available there, but they said they couldn't offer recycling due to security concerns. This doesn't make sense as so many others seem to have no issues with security and recycling.

Do you have any idea what is the real reason that the Medford airport doesn't offer something as simple as newspaper recycling? Any idea what citizens might do to promote action on this? Jackson County promotes recycling, so it makes sense that one of the county's departments — the airport — would support recycling.

— Susan R., Ashland

Well, Susan, airport officials are sticking with the story that security issues complicate local recycling efforts. However, a new terminal that should open in two years will be able to accommodate recycling.

Jeanie Stark, the airport's operations coordinator, said recycling has been a challenge at the Medford airport since the 2001 attacks.

"It has really bothered us that we couldn't do it," she said.

Stark said recycling containers must be designed so people can't hide something dangerous in them and placed where the blast of a potential bomb would be lessened. The new terminal will be designed to meet current security standards and will be able to house public recycling receptacles like the ones you see elsewhere.

For now, commingled recycling containers are available for airport tenants in secure areas closed to the public, Stark said. Janitors collect all the newspapers left on seats and on top of trash bins and put them in recycling bins, she said.

In this way, papers are getting recycled and might even get reused, if another traveler opts to read the abandoned newsprint before the cleaning crew collects it.

Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by e-mail to youasked@mailtribune.com. The volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.