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 The mayor’s proposal is outdated, ineffectual, unfair and punitive.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.