Letters to the Editor

Recycling edict

November 18, 2011


To the editor:

First, let me say I like and appreciate Lawrence’s trash services. It is so much more personable than those run by private trash services in other cities. I like the friendly trash collectors. I like Monday yard waste collections. I love the compost/mulch sales. It truly has been a wonderful benefit of living in Lawrence. If we need to automate the system using special trash bins to make it safer for the handlers, so be it, even though I barely have enough to half-fill a small trash can once a month.

What I don’t like is the talk of a mandatory curbside recycling service. Why? We have services that work very well for those of us who recycle and consider it to be an important way to save landfill space and conserve valuable raw materials. We have the Walmart recycling center run by Community Living Opportunities, a nonprofit organization that hires disabled individuals. What happens to them if we have to pay for mandatory curbside recycling? If it’s not used, it will go away and so will the jobs. I thought job creation was important in Lawrence.

For convenience, the city has also provided bins in prime locations that recycle cardboard, newspapers and chipboard/junk mail. Soon there will be bins that take glass. Are we recyclers to be punished for those who don’t — and probably won’t — take the time to separate their recycling from other trash? The old adage “you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink” comes to mind.


Richard Heckler 4 years ago

Excellent commentary...

The only change I would encourage is go to Pay As You Throw.

We too are recyclers who love our independent service and our friendly trash service people who waves to our 2 year grandson and puts a large smile on his face.

Lawrence trash service is about the best it gets. Pay As You Throw would have the service paying for itself..... not a bad deal.

Richard Heckler 4 years ago

Pay As You Throw pays back if managed correctly. http://www.epa.gov/osw/conserve/tools/payt/

  1. Environmental Sustainability - Communities with programs in place have reported significant increases in recycling and reductions in waste, due primarily to the waste reduction incentive created by PAYT. Less waste and more recycling mean that fewer natural resources need to be extracted.

In addition, greenhouse gas emissions associated with the manufacture, distribution, use, and subsequent disposal of products are reduced as a result of the increased recycling and waste reduction PAYT encourages.

In this way, PAYT helps slow the buildup of greenhouse gases in the Earth's atmosphere which leads to global climate change. For more information on the link between solid waste and global climate change, go to EPA's Climate Change Web site.

  1. Economic Sustainability - PAYT is an effective tool for communities struggling to cope with soaring municipal solid waste management expenses. Well-designed programs generate the revenues communities need to cover their solid waste costs, including the costs of such complementary programs as recycling and composting. Residents benefit, too, because they have the opportunity to take control of their trash bills.

  2. Equity - One of the most important advantages of a variable-rate program may be its inherent fairness. When the cost of managing trash is hidden in taxes or charged at a flat rate, residents who recycle and prevent waste subsidize their neighbors' wastefulness. Under PAYT, residents pay only for what they throw away.

Flap Doodle 4 years ago

How many threads are you going to spam with that same text, merrill?

gl0ck0wn3r 4 years ago

Fascinating that a "progressive" advocates Tax as You Throw. It impacts families and those with children far more than those without. I suppose it only makes sense that the faux-progressives have implemented regressive consumption taxes in Lawrence and now want to tax that consumption on the backside through TAYT.

parrothead8 4 years ago

It only impacts people who throw away a lot of trash. A large majority of the materials most Americans throw in the trash can be recycled, and much of our food waste can be composted. Throwing more materials into landfills impacts all of us, so anyone who adds to the problem should bear a greater burden. We're all free to make lifestyle choices that result in less waste.

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