Kern County supervisors made the right call in approving mandatory curbside recycling in county areas of metro Bakersfield on Tuesday night. Under the terms of the decision, 43,000 homes will get blue recycling bins and their refuse bills will increase by about $35 a year. That's less than $3 a month. And it's well worth the price.

In a way, the county had little choice. The state has increased the target for waste diversion from landfills and the bar is set to rise higher in the coming years. The only reasonable way for Kern to get there is to separate recyclable material from the residential waste stream.

But aside from state mandates, it's long past time to take this sensible step. Enough with the libertarian cries of government intruding on personal lives and forcing its citizens to do things. Recycling is about the modern handling of waste. It's utterly illogical and incredibly profligate to continue burying garbage underground when it can be reused in some other way. Reducing what goes into landfills is a necessity in a world of limited resources, especially one that hopes to preserve precious landscapes for future generations.

Most communities embraced recycling years ago. In Kern County, it's better late than never.