Letters to the Editor

Unfair plan

February 2, 2012


To the editor:

The Jan. 31 editorial on trash collection is correct. The mayor’s proposal is outdated, ineffectual, unfair and punitive. If Lawrence is serious about increasing recycling and decreasing nonrecyclable waste generation, it cannot impose a one-size-fits-all solution.

Users should pay based on their actual (nonrecyclable) trash production, just as is now done for electricity, gas, water and sewer use. We have the technology to charge users for the actual amount of waste they generate. Do we have the political will to promote and reward responsible behavior?

Week in and week out, we usually set out a single 13-gallon trash bag. Often, there is plenty of room to spare. This week’s trash weighed in at 5.5 pounds! Why should I subsidize the heavy generators of waste who do not take seriously their civic responsibilities?

The mayor’s proposal actually REWARDS nonrecyclable trash generation. He allows generators to avoid thinking about — or paying for — their actions.

I’m sure that one of the mayor’s other intentions, beyond increasing automation and reducing workers’ compensation claims, is to avoid an increase in illegal dumping. However, the proper approach must define and support responsible behavior. For those not inclined to act responsibly, subject them to heavy financial and other penalties. Illegal dumping is a law enforcement issue that should be dealt with directly in the public square. It must not be ignored and swept under the rug. The mayor’s plan is not where we should be headed on solid-waste management.


Richard Heckler 6 years, 4 months ago

Pay As You Throw -YES!

Do you know how much you spend per month on electricity? How about your gas utility? The person who pays the bills in your household probably has a pretty good idea. But do you know how much you spend on garbage?

Each time your city or town sends a truck down your street to pick up your waste, it costs money. It costs money even if you drop your trash off at a local dump. Ultimately, you pay for this service, usually through your local taxes. And it's not likely that you have much control over the amount you pay, regardless of how much garbage you create.

There is a different system, however, under which residents are asked to pay for waste collection directly-based on the amount of garbage they actually generate. They're called "pay-as-you-throw" (PAYT) programs, and nearly 6,000 communities across the country have begun using them.

Richard Heckler 6 years, 4 months ago

What is pay-as-you-throw?

PAYT is a different way of paying for waste collection and disposal services. In some communities, it works on a per-container basis: households are charged for each bag or can of waste they generate. A few communities bill residents based on the weight of their trash. Either way, the system motivates people to recycle more and to think about ways to generate less waste in the first place.

For community residents, however, the most important advantage may be the fairness and greater control over costs that it offers.

Do you have neighbors that never seem to recycle and always leave out six or seven bags of trash? While you may not have thought about it, right now you're helping them pay for that waste.

Under PAYT, everyone pays only for what they generate-so you won't have to subsidize your neighbor's wastefulness any more. It's only fair. With PAYT, when you recycle and prevent waste, you're rewarded with a lower trash bill. Save As You Reduce and Recycle

Because of these potential cost savings, both you and your neighbors will naturally want to reduce the amount of waste that you generate.

And when you reduce waste, that can mean lower costs for your community, since it costs less to collect and dispose of everyone's trash. This might even free up funding for other municipal services you depend upon-like schools and fire and police protection.

In addition, the incentive to put less waste at the curb can make a big environmental difference. When people generate less waste and recycle more, fewer natural resources are used and there is less pollution from manufacturing.

Valuable landfill space is conserved as well, reducing the need to site new facilities.

Illegal dumping is a frequently raised issue. While people often assume that illegal dumping will increase once residents are asked to pay for each container of waste they generate, most PAYT communities have found this not to be the case. This is especially true when communities offer their residents recycling, composting for yard trimmings, and other programs that allow individuals to reduce waste legally.

What can I do? EPA has developed a wide range of products that can help, located under PAYT Resources.


Ragingbear 6 years, 4 months ago

A garbage generator? Are you aware that the patent for that is held by a certain H. Doofenshmirtz of the Tri-State area?

Blessed4x 6 years, 4 months ago

Why is the city of Lawrence involved in trash collection anyway? It seems it could be handled much better by a private company or better yet, a number of private companies competing against one another to keep costs down. In this way if there was enough demand for recycling, the trash companies could decide on their own if they wished to offer this service and the people that did not want to pay for this service, could simply hire a different company or elect a different service. This seems to be much ado about nothing. Judging by the number of "important" people standing around in reflective vests in all these pictures in the paper I imagine that the amount of money that has been spent so far "looking into" this possibility would probably stagger you. But then, that's what happens when government gets involved where it shouldn't.

Ragingbear 6 years, 4 months ago

I live outside of the city limits. Trash collection is expensive as all get-out here. There is a monopoly, so they can charge whatever they want.

Blessed4x 6 years, 4 months ago

Then more trash companies in the area would greatly benefit you. More competition equals more choices and lower prices.

jafs 6 years, 4 months ago

Because the cities have city trash collection, I would think.

If that were changed, then there might be companies competing for the business, since there'd be a lot more business to be had.

But, what's likely to happen is that a large company like Deffenbaugh would come in offering ridiculously low rates, get the business, and then offer poor services, and raise their prices.

That's what seems to have happened elsewhere.

malehrman 6 years, 4 months ago

Wouldn't it be great if every neighbor on your street used a different trash service that rolled huge trash trucks down your street on different days, every week and month all year?

Matthew Herbert 6 years, 4 months ago

If PAYT is instituted, expect commercial dumpsters to fill quickly. I'll just load up my trash in my truck and pay visit to some First Management complex (:

parrothead8 6 years, 4 months ago

Thanks for being such an ethical member of the community.

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