September 22, 2009

Taking Care of Trash

Justin Katz

On my way home from the school committee meeting, I caught part of Matt Allen's conversation about towns (including Tiverton) requiring residents to put out their recycle bins in order to have their trash picked up. I share Matt's impulse to decry the nanny-state aesthetic, but having sat through a number of town-hall discussions on the topic, I have to disagree about the impulse's validity.

I can't speak to other towns' issues, at this high detail, but in a few years, Tiverton will be facing a multi-million dollar budget wall when its landfill is full. Proper budgeting would have left the town better prepared, but we are where we are, and residents' choice not to recycle brings the doomsday that much closer. If we're going to have the town offer house-to-house trash pickup, we have to accept that certain terms will apply.

Personally, I'd do away with the "free" pickup. The town should provide a place to drop off garbage, perhaps at a compactor, like Portsmouth has, and residents can pay for pickup services. Perhaps private service providers could offer a more expensive plan for those who opt not to recycle, thus not sticking neighbors with the bill.

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Sorry, Justin, like free health care, free trash pick up is a civil right.

Anyways, it's government provided so it's free. I don't pay. What's the big deal?

Posted by: Monique at September 22, 2009 10:31 PM

"The town should provide a place to drop off garbage"

Absolutely. Especially if that were to mean a cut in your property taxes and then you pay by weight or something when you drop off. And they pay you for recycling, or at least a trash credit. Look at the towns that are better at recycling. It's usually the better educated, more financially well-off towns. The ones that don't meet their quotas are the more urban, less economically sound cities. So if I'm going to do all this work with my recycling, and then the landfill fills up because of the buffoons in Woonsocket, Providence and Pawtucket, why should I have to pay more? That's ridiculous.

Posted by: Patrick at September 22, 2009 10:34 PM

The Pay as you throw program works, for two reasons: 1.most people will recycle more because they know they have to pay for the amount of trash they put out. and 2. it brings in money to pay for the disposal company. it also makes it fair to the people who don't put out a lot; they won't pay a lot, the bigger families who have more trash will pay their fair share

Posted by: dave at September 23, 2009 10:24 AM

Can someone tell me if this is just a problem in my town? If I have more recyclables than the bins will fit and I place the cut up and bound cardboard next to the bin, the recycle truck will not take it. They leave it for the trash truck. They will only take what is physically INSIDE the bin.

At Christmas and other gift giving days, we end up with a lot of recyclable cardboard. I do as they say, I break it down, cut it into pieces and then bind it up into neat little packages. But they don't all fit in the bin. So now I actually sometimes take weeks to get rid of all my recyclable cardboard, as I only put it in the bins. But if the guys on the truck would simply take the other pile that is obviously recyclable, this wouldn't happen, and less would end up in the trash.

Does this happen in other towns?

Posted by: Patrick at September 23, 2009 10:47 AM

Patrick, I've seen the same in Cranston. It's the most idiotic thing I've ever seen. If you have more than will fit in the bins, you do your best to flatten, compress and contain the paper for the recycling truck... and they just throw it in with the garbage because it isn't in a bin.

Somebody ought to follow these guys around with a video camera.

Posted by: George at September 23, 2009 11:44 AM

My opinion on this issue wasn't anti-recycling but more of an advocacy of a change in governmental paradigm. I wish that we would start to use a more incentive based strategy to get taxpayers to do something as opposed to a punitive one. There has to be a way to get people to recycle in these town without bustin their chops. I haven't thought of one yet....but there has to be a way.

Posted by: Matt Allen at September 23, 2009 2:41 PM
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