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Archive for Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Trash fairness

A new trash-cart requirement isn’t going to be popular with many local residents, but offering a cost incentive to generate less trash at least would be more fair.

June 20, 2012

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Lawrence city commissioners are right to push staff members to come up with a system that rewards local residents who generate little trash.

Like it or not, it appears Lawrence residents soon will be required to place their trash in city-issued carts that can be handled by automated trucks. The system supposedly will cut down on worker injuries and make the city’s trash system more efficient. The plan presented to commissioners last week called for a 65-gallon trash cart to be the standard receptacle issued by the city at no charge. Residents who think they need more trash capacity can rent 90-gallon carts for $1 per month. Carts that hold 35 gallons also would be available, but residents with those carts would pay the same trash fee as those with 65-gallon carts.

After hearing from several residents at last week’s meeting, city commissioners agreed that the system wasn’t fair to people who generate a small amount of trash. If part of the city’s goal is to try to conserve landfill space, it should be encouraging residents to recycle and limit their trash. It appears that the city is at least a couple of years away from instituting its own curbside recycling system, but that doesn’t mean the city shouldn’t be promoting recycling through existing services and drop-off sites.

City staff members expressed concern that giving a cost break for a 35-gallon container could cause more people to opt for the smaller container but then make a habit of putting out additional bags of trash, which would undercut the automated truck system. The city plans to pick up additional bags, at least for now, but have route drivers keep a log of people who habitually put out bags.

Allowing people to put out bags without paying an additional fee is going to be a problem. Unless the city makes people pay for a special trash pickup or buy stickers for additional bags of trash, people are going to take advantage of the system regardless of the size of the trash cart.

The city probably is trying to mitigate negative reaction to the new cart requirement, but not enforcing the new rules isn’t the answer. The better answer is to simply be fair: Charge people who can put all their trash in a 35-gallon cart less than those who need a 65-gallon or 90-gallon cart. If people occasionally have to put out additional bags, make them pay a little extra for that service. If they do it often, they will find it cost-effective to step up to a larger cart and pay a small monthly fee.

No matter what the city does, there is going to be some negative response from people who like their current trash service and don’t want to use or store a large city trash cart. The least the city can do is reward people who make less use of the city landfill.

Comments

none2 1 year, 10 months ago

Part of the problem as I see too is that it doesn't deal with those that need next to nothing except maybe once every 6 weeks or so. My trash per week fit in a few plastic grocery sacks that at best might fill up a kitchen trash can -- if that much. I assume that is like maybe a 5 gallon bucket worth of trash. That is what happens when you recycle a lot. Then I would reuse the plastic bag that cat litter came in with cat wastes because it was sturdy. That reused cat litter bag would fill up maybe once every 6 weeks. So I would go from practically nothing to a bag once every 6 weeks with some weight. I don't think any of these programs consider those that have next to nothing except every six weeks to two months.

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George Lippencott 1 year, 10 months ago

Meant the depreciation charge for the smaller can is probably only a few cents less than for the 65 Gal can.

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George Lippencott 1 year, 10 months ago

This is a tempest in a teapot. The current rental charge is $1.50 for the 65 gallon can. That is $18 dollars a year – the cost of part of one night at a local beer joint. I would bet the depreciation cost to the city for the smaller can is a few cents so let us charge depreciation. Arbitrary numbers to buy agreement in a town that screams for recycling seems unnecessary. We are advocating millions for new goodies. Let us stop arguing about pennies and get on with this.

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Les Blevins 1 year, 10 months ago

The writer comments at the end; "The least the city can do is reward people who make less use of the city landfill" so my comment is; the very most the city can do is make less use of the city landfill and the way to do that is to convert the liability (the city's waste stream) into a variety of valuable products like renewable energy for the city's use and thus not depend so highly on using taxpayer money to purchase expensive products such as fuels and energy. I'm also in hopes that the editor will one day soon let the people in on the proposal I've put before the City on the subject of how to go about that.

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NutsForKU 1 year, 10 months ago

The true environmentalist would understand it makes sense to reward the people who produce the least amount of trash. If that isn't the goal then something is fishy about this trash crises as it is being sold by the city commission.

Curb side recycling is already available, I use it now, supporting a local person, putting money into the local economy. Why does our city outsource so many things out of the community? Are they for or against the people of Lawrence?

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somedude20 1 year, 10 months ago

People who live in apartments are going to get trucked, hard on this deal

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months ago

These businesses provide the Lawrence community with a valuable curbside recycling service.

Community Living Opportunities (785) 840-9278

D.R.A.W. Services (recycling services for multi-unit apartment complexes and waste reduction/recycling consulting for commercial businesses) (785) 554-9983

Home Recycling Service (785) 979-6633

Jeff's Curbside Recycling (785) 841-1284 (785) 865-6089 cell

Sunflower Curbside Recycling (785) 550-8610

Tree Hugger Recycling (glass curbside recycling only for households and commercial businesses) (785) 550-6267

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Richard Heckler 1 year, 10 months ago

The Waste Reduction and Recycling Division placed four glass recycling drop-off collection bins in the parking lots of: • Dillons, 4701 West 6th Street • Hy-Vee, 3504 Clinton Parkway • Hy-Vee, 4000 West 6th Street • On The Rocks, 1818 Massachusetts Street

Residents and businesses may place glass food and beverage containers of any color in the bright purple glass recycling drop-off bins. All brown, green, blue, and clear glass bottles and jars can be mixed together in the same collection bin. Labels on the glass containers do not have to be removed. Items not accepted for recycling in these collection bins include plate glass (windows), mirrors, Pyrex, CorningWare, ceramics, and dishes.

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