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Archive for Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Solid Waste Task Force hears suggestions to encourage residents to recycle

June 8, 2011

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The drumbeat for a larger — perhaps mandatory — curbside recycling program in Lawrence grew a bit louder Wednesday.

At a meeting hosted by the city’s Solid Waste Task Force, several members of the public asked the city-appointed group to consider ways to get residents to recycle in much greater quantities.

Even one of the owners of the six privately-owned curbside recycling companies in the city said he thought the city ultimately should provide curbside recycling services.

“If you have never seen someone shoot themselves in the foot, this is your opportunity,” Chris Scafe, owner of Sunflower Curbside Recycling told the group.

Scafe said the current system of where multiple private haulers provide service is inefficient because it is difficult for any one hauler to get enough density to cost-effectively pick up the recycled goods. He estimated that many of his customers were spaced about a half-mile apart.

“The inefficiency of the way we are doing it right now is costing us money,” Scafe said.

The Wednesday evening “public input session” attracted about 30 people but fewer than 10 speakers. A majority of them spoke about recycling issues.

Mayor Aron Cromwell said the task force will spend a lot of time on studying possible curbside recycling options, including the idea that all city residents must be required to pay for curbside recycling and would be provided with a special bin to collect material for recycling.

“One of the themes that keeps coming up is communities that are most successful with recycling have everybody do it,” Cromwell said. “Everybody would have two containers and you would have the choice of throwing that milk jug in the trash bin or the recycle bin. Most people will throw it in the recycle bin, especially if they know that they’re going to pay a higher fee if their trash bin is full.”

The issue of privatizing the city’s trash service also got some discussion. Jim Mullins, a field representative with Americans for Prosperity, urged the task force to give an honest appraisal of privatization.

“We need to build a business case to determine what is the best option for the citizens of Lawrence,” Mullins said.

The task force hopes to make its recommendations to the City Commission this fall. Commissioners will make any final decisions on whether to change the city’s trash service, which has been facing higher operating costs in recent years.

Comments

monkeyhawk 2 years, 10 months ago

BTW - I actually do recycle. It makes feel good and also makes feel like a sucker.

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monkeyhawk 2 years, 10 months ago

"Recycling? What A Waste.

.... However, recycling is a waste of time, money, and ever-scarce resources. What John Tierney wrote in the New York Times nearly 10 years ago is still true: "Recycling may be the most wasteful activity in modern America."

The Green's love for trees did not reduce the amount of wood used in construction; the reduction was simply a reaction to the increasing cost for wood products. Using less wood makes financial sense, and any entrepreneur worth his profit will change his recipe to conserve wood through better design or by substituting less dear materials for wood products.

So, what is wrong with recycling? The answer is simple; it does not pay. In addition, since it does not pay, it is an inefficient use of the time, money, and scarce resources. As Mises would have argued: let prices be your guide. Prices are essential to evaluate actions ex post. If the accounting of a near past event reveals a financial loss, the activity was a waste of both the entrepreneur's and society's scarce resources.

In other areas, such as my township, the garbage company profits at the mercy of the political class. The trustees in my township specified that in order to win the waste removal contract, the winning company had to provide recycling bins. Further, they have to send special trucks around to empty those neatly packed bins and deliver the bins' contents to companies that have no pressing need for these unraw materials. The recycling bins are ostensibly free, but in reality, their cost is bundled into my monthly waste removal bill.

Since there is no market for recyclable materials, at least no market price sufficient to return my investment in soap and water, not to mention time and labor, I conclude that there is no pressing need for recycling.

Human action guides resources toward the activities that meet the most pressing needs. This movement of resources means that those activities that do not meet pressing needs are relatively expensive. Why? Those activities have to bid for factors of production along with the profitable activities — activities that are meeting the most pressing needs. The profitable activities will drive the cost of those scarce factors upward leading to financial ruin for those activities that do not satisfy the most pressing needs. Forced recycling is such a failed activity."

Entire article here: http://www.planetthoughts.org/?pg=pt/Whole&qid=3267

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George Lippencott 2 years, 10 months ago

merrill

If cost is the issue then whether you put it in the green container or the one with the yellow top it still counts as weight and it still has to be disposed of in some manner. If we only charge for material not in the yellow topped can then we would incentivize recycling but would increase overall costs.

The county we left had a large county run recycling facility. The million people who lived there were not enough to make it operate efficiently - we ended up taking trash from other communities – like New York

The big eastern cities are the ones generating more trash than they can accommodate. Rural Virginia was taking the trash until the commonwealth got involved and demanded more for the service. Now we are competitive here.

It will be almost forever before we run out of land in Kansas to use to dispose of trash.

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Richard Heckler 2 years, 10 months ago

The trash service in Lawrence is excellent.

Let's not spoil that! Keep Lawrence jobs on the payroll and tax dollars in the community.

I am all for PAYT (pay as you throw) and private curbside recycling.

Pay As YOU Throw

  • Introduction

  • What is pay-as-you-throw?

  • Are there disadvantages to pay-as-you-throw?

http://www.epa.gov/osw/conserve/tools/payt/tools/public.htm

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tbaker 2 years, 10 months ago

The government subsidy comes from my tax dollar which means the raw material already has my money in the cost structure when the manufacturer buys it. If you stop subsidies and let the market set the price for raw materials, they get cheaper (why they are subsidized in the first place) and the end product no longer has my tax dollar in it.

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tbaker 2 years, 10 months ago

If recycling really did make good economic sense, we wouldn't have to force people to do it. Sense the materials being recycled aren't of sufficient value, it makes more sense to simply throw them away. A lot of people are repulsed by this reality because they have bought into the holy trinity argument from the environmental crowd that we are running out of valuable resources, it's bad to be a throw-away society, and landfills are harmful. Trouble is, the prices for raw materials compared to post-consumer (recycled) materials continue to fall or be more competitive, and recycling is not near as safe for the environment as people like to believe. When you take government subsidies out of the raw materials cost equation (agriculture, timber, mining, etc) recycling becomes an even more inefficient use of resources, aka tax money.

I'm not anti-recycling; I'm pro common sense.

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George Lippencott 2 years, 10 months ago

Wopw

  1. We can recycle without making it mandatory
  2. If we make it mandatory how do we enforce it. It is easy for private residences but almost impossible for large rental units.
  3. We can privitize some, none, all - our call
  4. We will pay one way or another.

Why all the aboslutes??? Nobdody, even LO, is talking about no taxes. Some people(me included, are talking about a lack of self discipline in raising taxes every year.

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Les Blevins 2 years, 10 months ago

The best solution for the City of Lawrence would be to turn this all around and view trash as a resource and that can be done with a city scale waste-to-energy (WTE) facility located near the city to save the city residents on trash hauling and tipping fees. Such a facility could be developed here as we have the expertise and only need the will to find and develop a viable solution.

Les Blevins AAECorp.com

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Adrienne Sanders 2 years, 10 months ago

I wonder if they could do metal (steel & aluminum) and glass recycling only. Cans and glass are the two things that it really pays to recycle- they don't get "downcycled" into a lesser product (as does paper), or take more resources to recycle than are used in making new (like some plastics). The material really does get reused. If people feel like recycling other stuff they could do it themselves, but the city doing metal and glass would still cut down on what goes in the trash.

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jafs 2 years, 10 months ago

I skimmed that long piece.

Imagine my surprise when a "free market" proponent opposes mandatory city recycling.

I agree that use of city vehicles (which get terribly poor gas mileage) cuts into the environmental benefits of recycling, which is why I'm not in favor of that.

Much of the rest wasn't terribly convincing, and relied on analysis of the "market" to justify the claims made.

Done correctly, recycling (along with reducing and reusing items) is beneficial to the environment in a variety of ways, including reducing the need for landfills, reducing our use of energy and resources, etc.

Let's just charge folks more when they put out more trash, and let that "free market" force work.

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JackMcKee 2 years, 10 months ago

Some of you need to read this. You've been brainwashed.

Eight Great Myths of Recycling

http://www.perc.org/pdf/ps28.pdf

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jafs 2 years, 10 months ago

My problem with the "anti-recyclers", who seem to generally be "anti-environmentalist" as well, is that their decisions affect the rest of us.

If they could just go somewhere and live the way they want, while only destroying their immediate environment, I'd say go for it, if that's what they want to do.

I'm not necessarily pro-city recycling programs, for a variety of reasons, but I'd like to see some tiered charges for trash collection, so that those who put out more trash pay more for the privilege of doing so.

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Bob_Keeshan 2 years, 10 months ago

I remember when Lawrence started making me take my trash to the curb instead of piling it in my front yard. Then they started making me mow my yard, too.

This town was so much better before the liberal socialist nazis took over. I miss being able to have a squat over a hole in my yard. The grass was tall enough, nobody was ever the wiser.

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orhs1963 2 years, 10 months ago

Public or Private sector waste management - which is more efficient? Don't get caught in this trap because: 1) Overhead (personnel payroll & equipment maintenance) should not be more than 1% difference between public and private sector operations. 2) Landfill cost (purchase of land and environmental containment) should be the same cost. 3) The BIG DIFFERENCE - with public operations changes to operations that drive cost can be implemented immediately but with private operations changes to operations there is almost always cost increases because changes to the waste contract will result in increased cost and be passed along to the residents.

So how does one go about increasing recycling while reducing Overhead to the lowest possible cost? Very simple: 1) Institute a waste management operations where residents can pick their level of waste service. For example, if a resident (not a commercial business) does not desire to recycle then they pay a flat rate per 45 gal container for a weekly pickup. Set the price at $50 per month. For residents that want to recycle these residents are provided the following containers: one 120 gallon yard waste container for grass clippings and leaves, one 45 gallon container for recycle material, and one 30 gallon container for landfill waste matter. The yard waste and recycle material will be picked up every second and forth week and the landfill waste matter will be picked up every first and third week. The monthly cost would be $7.50.

Everyone will scream that this will require a new outlay of equipment and cost money NOW. But if the city is serious about waste management then no one should look at the near term cost but the long term benefit-cost ratio.

Lastly, private operations are no more effective than public operations because both private and public employ humans it is the Leadership that determines efficiency and lowest operating cost.

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Bob_Keeshan 2 years, 10 months ago

The real tragedy is the way the city forces us all to use the sewer system.

Once this recycling nonsense is beat back, the city needs to get rid of the onerous sewer requirement.

What business is it of the liberal socialist nazis what I do with my poo?

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heyheymama 2 years, 10 months ago

i'm inclined to agree with you jack, if only for the photo of my fav jeff bridges,,,its very unorganized and being treated as a "fringy" idea. there are other places that have a handle on this without having to disrupt our lives and have obviously developed business plans,etc. why don't "they" just make everything recyclable and we won't have to seperate trash.

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Godot 2 years, 10 months ago

"Task force hears suggestions to ENCOURAGE people to recycle."

Correct headline, "Task forces openly considering forcing people to pay to use curbside recycling service or pay fine."

Future headline will be, "City hires recycling administrator, will raise water/sewer rates by just pennies to cover $150,000 in salary and benefits."

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JackMcKee 2 years, 10 months ago

So are we going to hire trash cops to search through everyone's garbage to make sure they aren't throwing away recyclables? Are you going to put me in trash jail if I don't have a set amount of aluminum cans every week? Will the trash inspector be by to check my garbage cans for any misplaced pieces of cardboard? I mean I've heard some stupid socialistic ideas before, but some of you are off your left rocking chairs if you think this is anything remotely close to a reasonable idea.

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del888 2 years, 10 months ago

Here's how other communities have such a high recycle rate: they make you pay a fine if you throw recycleables into the 'trash' container. That is, if you throw a plastic bottle into the trash can you pay a fine. I'm not saying that's the way to do it. I'm just saying that the way to 'force' people to do it.

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JackMcKee 2 years, 10 months ago

“If you have never seen someone shoot themselves in the foot, this is your opportunity,” Chris Scafe, owner of Sunflower Curbside Recycling told the group.

Oh yea, Chris. I'm sure you are just sitting on a gold mine there. What a true humanitarian. He's willing to give up his money losing business so the city can force everyone to follow his political and environmental beliefs. How the heck can 6 different companies make enough money to pay for fuel to pick up recycling in this town? It does not make any financial sense. My guess is these people either live in abject poverty or they are trust fund babies. Either way, they aren't people whose advice I would ever seek.

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DRsmith 2 years, 10 months ago

Force people to pay extra for recycling and it will end up in the ditches instead. Great idea.

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JackMcKee 2 years, 10 months ago

Imagine that, a bunch of liberal ideologues that are so business stupid that they run money losing operations think that the rest of us should be forced to live just like they do. If you choose to recycle that's great, but in no way should we be forced to do so. In fact, studies have clearly shown that it is a waste of resources to recycle most items and it may, in fact, be worse for the environment to recycle many things. We have trash collection that takes care of the health risks of our garbage. If you want to get a warm fuzzy because you keep your cans separate from your cardboard go ahead and pay for your good feelings on your own. I will choose to not take advice from a bunch of poor businessmen with a massive liberal chip on their shoulders.

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beerbaron03 2 years, 10 months ago

they're going to make us recycle? what's next?...letting women drive?

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BigPrune 2 years, 10 months ago

Were any of you people born and raised in Lawrence? I bet none of you were. You're all outsiders. Lawrence is a control freakdom thanks to all the outsiders.

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NewbieGardener 2 years, 10 months ago

Agreed. If you think Lawrence is a socialist haven, here's the door---->|

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Kontum1972 2 years, 10 months ago

prune if u hate it so much why don't u move?

is there a reason u stay here..if your so unhappy with Lawrence.....try tonganoxie

define socialism....?

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BigPrune 2 years, 10 months ago

I don't recycle and don't think I should be forced to recycle in this socialist haven. Since this is Lawrence, the control freakdom of Kansas, I see that coming.

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jafs 2 years, 10 months ago

My concern is that the city trucks that would be used for the recycling pick-up are incredibly inefficient - they get about 3mpg. So all of the gas used offsets the environmental benefits of recycling to some degree.

Why not just implement a tiered charge system for trash - the more you have, the more you pay. That would encourage recycling - and there are plenty of places people can take it themselves, or they can use one of the private companies.

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tomatogrower 2 years, 10 months ago

They left out Chris Scafe's comment about keeping the recycling money in Lawrence. You may love Deffenbaugh's service, but if they would get the contract for the city, their rates would go up drastically. Also, your 4.95 goes to a Dutch company. Your money does not stay in the community or get spent here. I'm not even sure if they have hired local help, or send in their KC crews, so you are not even providing local jobs. So you may be happy in the short run, but it hurts in the long run. Of course, that's where most people are now. In the here and now, not thinking about the big picture.

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TheStonesSuck 2 years, 10 months ago

I've got some solid waste for ya, right heeyah.

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ksjayhawk74 2 years, 10 months ago

I like to recycle my cans by keeping them in a separate bag and hanging the bag near the trash cans/dumpster. This is for the people that go looking through thrash for cans, they are very happy to take cans for free.

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El_Mysterioso 2 years, 10 months ago

So the guy from Sunflower Recycling wants to be put out of business? If I were one of his customers, I would help him along by subscribing to one of the other providers. Obviously, service to his customers is not a priority.

As for Jim Mullins (Koch brothers), the bottom line is all that matters, re: profits for privatization. Never mind dependability and quality of service, nor customer satisfation. And what about all the other services the current monthly fee finances (hazardous waste, composting, bulky items, tires and so on). Americans for Prosperity (Mullins and the Kochs) are not concerned with quality of service but rather with maximizing profits for the monied interests.

Let's keep jobs local.

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conservative 2 years, 10 months ago

Unless the city can do it for 4.95 a month they need to stay the heck out of it or not make it mandatory to use their service. Deffenbaugh charges that per month and about a third of the people on my street use their service.

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