Sidney Kramer, the dynamic county executive of Montgomery County, is to be commended for his actions in urging the separation of some forms of material from the general trash of our "throwaway society." However, the collecting of material and the notion of recycling are not quite the same. Material has to be gathered and then it has to be reused. If there are no markets for former trash, they have to be created.

Montgomery County should require that all paper used by the county -- including the school system -- be made of recycled paper. This would create a demand for the newspaper collected. It might cost a bit more at first, but it would make paper recycling in this area a reality, not just an exercise in sorting.

One of the minor tragedies of today is the use of plastic, rather than paper, for grocery bags, as that has reduced the incentive for recycling paper. Let's all support recycling by demanding that our groceries be packed in paper, not plastic. Such a gesture has global impact, for there are no American service personnel at risk escorting tankers in the Persian Gulf loaded with wood pulp. Business has to do its part in using recycled material.

Incidentally, it was business that invented the word "recyclable"; it does not mean "recycled."

ELLIS L. YOCHELSON Bowie