Friday, January 18, 2013

A Plea for Less

It may sound odd, but the time has come for this community to ask for less of a service.  Specifically, we need less garbage collection.  We need action on reducing the amount of garbage that we throw out each week – because our learned wastefulness will soon hit us hard in the pocketbook.
Councillor Rod Nicholl raised the issue of waste reduction during a meeting of Council last Nov 20.  (November 20, 2012 listen beginning at the 2:00 minute mark)  Nichol pointed out that with the reformatting of how garbage is handled in NL, Clarenville taxpayers who have gotten used to twice weekly and unlimited volume of garbage collection, will soon have to pay for collection by the tonne – this will mean big bills if our wasteful habits continue.  (Government is closing dumps and all garbage will be moved to one of three dumps across the island – Clarenville’s will be headed for St. John's/Robin Hood Bay).  Nicholl argued that the Town should develop and communicate a strategy now to make people aware of the new system, and to support recycling, composting and waste reduction efforts.  “There is no reason we can’t take action to look at on how we can deal with our own garbage”   he noted. 

He’s right.  We need to take action now because it is not a matter of “if” it happens,; rather it is a matter of  ‘when” it will happen..and “when” is coming soon. 

In response to Nicholl’s point, Mayor Best preferred to direct his concern to the capacity of the dump rather than the capacity of tax payers to pay for the new waste management system. He seems to have missed the point.   I’m also not convinced that the fellow Councillors were swayed enough for action either – the budget did not reference any operational plan for waste management. 
There needs to be done and and there needs to be done soon
I would argue that we move to a once a week garbage collection beginning this year.  No doubt, this move would be tough on people like me who produce enough garbage to fill a bucket every three days.  It would however force people like me to work harder at reducing waste, do more recycling and consider composting.  
I would also argue that the Town start an educational campaign and pair that with the distribution of “free” large volume Green compost bins to each household.  (This is modelled on Halifax’s Green Cart system).  Compostable organics make up about 1/3 of the things we currently throw away and if we took them out of the waste stream it would substantially reduce volume, weight and ultimately cost. 
These bin contents would be collected every week or two (as your garbage is collected) and brought to a new composting area (ideally adjacent to the existing dump).  The compost could then be sold/given back to the community to support greening our town.  
YES this would be an irritant to people like me who won’t be able to throw out as much as they do now and it will be expensive to get started.   But it would cut our long run costs (taxes) and it would reduce our propensity freely generate and throw out as much garbage as we like.     

1 comment:

  1. I've never heard of a single town that requires ' less of it self and less garbage sanitation policy, that must be one clean town by now then! Or its not done correctly.

    -Land Source Container Service, Inc.
    Garbage Carting NYC