Feedback on news article (disposing of waste by volume)
Posted on behalf of Mr. Tom Burnett, submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org
Dear Environmentalists, reporters and politicians:
Be careful for what you wish, as the "Law of Unintended Conseqences" can hit very fast and very hard.
The proposed plan charges MORE money for turning in MORE trash to the municipality. Therefore, citizens can NOT turn in trash and save lots of money. The trash will be either stored or thrown away in a manner not desired by those in political power.
Imagine, a citizen saying, "Hey, I can dump this waste on someone's property and not have to pay the $177.00+/- disposal costs each year. I can also use my disposal more ... thereby sending much more organic waste to the (already overloaded?) wastewater treatment plant. I could compost in the back yard, possibly causing foul odors and perhaps a breeding ground for who-knows-what."
The REAL solution is to pay the citizens for good behavior. Pay them for segregated materials of value. Pay them for used tires ... and I'd bet my bottom dollar you will not find ANY used tires behind service stations, in streams, etc., as you can today!
Those in power need to think and act like an economist!
By the way, if you charge by volume, most people will purchase a compactor. The weight of each 20-gallon trash can may then be over 100 pounds!
Thanks for listening,
Would Florida recycling plan raise local trash pickup costs?
Draft plan would have you pay for how much you throw out.By Steve Patterson
Story updated at 5:33 AM on Thursday, Jul. 30, 2009
State’s draft plan to raise recycling: www.dep.state.fl.us/waste/recyclinggoal75/
There’s also a public meeting scheduled
1 to 5 p. m., Tuesday, at the Orlando City Council chambers.
For people to buy into recycling, maybe they need meters on their trash cans, a Florida agency says.
Although most Florida homeowners pay a flat price for garbage service, the Department of Environmental Protection is drafting a plan for them to pay for the amount they really throw out. The “pay-as-you-throw” plan is part of a package of ideas the agency has drafted and could send to the Legislature by the end of the year.
Some recycling boosters say that’s fair and effective, a system that inspires reuse and recycling every time you get a bill.
The idea has even led to a spin-off industry, a system for weighing recyclables collected at each home and sending people discount coupons based on each pound of material that doesn’t hit the landfill.
But Jacksonville City Hall argues taxpayers could end up wasting millions on paperwork if they’re billed for every can put at the curb.
“It would cost substantially more to the average resident,” said Kristen Beach, a city spokeswoman.
Trash pickup at an average Jacksonville home costs $166 a year, said Chris Pearson, chief of the city’s Solid Waste Division. That’s unlimited service, paid for with property taxes and a solid waste fee that’s collected yearly.
By comparison, Jacksonville officials say, a pay-as-you-throw system used in Gainesville charges about $7.50 a year less for pickup on a single 20-gallon can. Prices rise with the size of the can used, with jumbo 96-gallon service costing $317 a year.
Jacksonville solid waste managers are still looking for more details on how a volume-based bill would work, Pearson said.
Nothing in the state’s plan suggests raising the cost to residents for recycling. It doesn’t mandate pay-as-you-throw billing either but suggests the state run a program to offset some startup costs. The approach could lower property taxes, but the plan doesn’t address that.
About 7,000 communities nationally use some kind of sliding scale, said Ray Moreau, associate director of the Southern Waste Information eXchange, a clearinghouse group in Tallahassee that tracks recycling trends.
“These systems have been shown to be very effective at increasing residential recycling rates,” sometimes doubling recycling rates, Moreau wrote in an e-mail exchange. “The reason: the almighty dollar. … If a household can save money by just having one smaller can rather than one or two larger ones, they’ll do it.”
Moreau’s organization hasn’t endorsed anything in the draft plan.
Jacksonville estimates it recycles about 30 percent of all its waste. That’s 1 percent more than the state overall, based on figures from 2007.
But Florida’s Legislature wants much better and voted last year to set a statewide goal of 75 percent recycling by 2020. Recycling more would save communities on costs of building and running landfills, lawmakers said. Lawmakers told Environmental Protection managers to bring them a plan by Jan 1 for achieving that.
The agency held public meetings and drafted a plan based on the ideas people gave there, said Linda Frohock, an agency spokeswoman.
More meetings are planned next week and in November, and the final plan sent to lawmakers could look very different, she said.
Other ideas in the draft plan include making the 75 percent recycling rate mandatory for larger cities and counties and requiring recycling at businesses and apartment complexes, which are often exempt now.
If that became law as it’s drafted now, Jacksonville, Clay and St. Johns counties would face the new 2020 mandate, but Baker, Nassau and Putnam would not, nor would the Beaches and Baldwin.
For communities facing that mandate, getting increased recycling at businesses and apartments would be important just to get the overall rate closer to 75 percent, Moreau said.
In Florida, the extreme leading edge of carefully measured recycling is now North Miami, where this year a company called RecycleBank began sending out rewards to people who recycle.
“There are big opportunities within the state,” the company’s Southeastern regional manager, Tim Bowers, said in an interview shortly after the company started its first Florida service.
RecycleBank’s system weighs each recycling container before it’s loaded into a truck and logs the address. Companies, mostly local, sign up to have store coupons sent to people as rewards for recycling. A good recycler could get maybe $240 a year in coupons, Bowers said.
The state’s draft report praises RecycleBank, but doesn’t suggest any steps to require similar measures in other cities.
• PAYT: PAYT in theory encourages source reduction even more than recycling which is a plus. The down side is people will find creative ways to avoid paying for disposal including dumping, after hours stops at commercial dumpsters (I’ve seen this in my parents community in IL which requires a prepaid sticker on each garbage bag), or taking outside city/county limits to friends curb.
• Bottle bills/recyclables refunds: This seems more promising that PAYT because people are less likely to discard something of value. It does not encourage source reduction.
• My own community just reduced the number of waste pickups and low and behold I’ve noticed more recycling bins on the curb.
You made some good points there.