Sunday, December 09, 2007

Eureka Reporter Starts Weekly Straw Poll

I almost forgot to mention the Eureka Reporter's latest innovation: a weekly poll. Well, not really an innovation as others- the Times- Standard for one- have run polls of one sort or another before. Still, for those of us that like to cast their vote and comment on issues of the day, this might be fun, at least until the spammers get the best of the E/R staff and they give it up.

This week they're asking if you support mandatory garbage and recycling collection in Eureka. The perfect avenue for you Vote Local Control! folks from outside of Eureka to take part in the people of Eureka's affairs once again.

I'll be sending in my NO vote, although at this point I'm not sure what comment I'll include. I might say something along the line that, while we may not be meeting the state's criteria for diversion from landfill rates, I don't know that places where garbage and recycling collection is required are meeting the states criteria, either.

I can't say that for sure, but it seems to me I was reading about waste diversion in a local paper some time back. If memory serves me correct, I was surprised Humboldt communities didn't reach the 50% goal, but other places were behind us, San Francisco being one (I THINK). Don't quote me on that. That's just what I have vague recollection of.

I'm not sure, maybe Eric knows, but I think garbage and recycling in San Francisco is required city service and you get three receptacles: One green, for green waste. One blue, for other recyclables like plastic and paper, and one black, for garbage. If they're not doing any better than us with mandatory garbage and recycling collection, why should we follow their example?
As an aside, I know somebody must have done a study on just what it is that makes up the majority of what goes to landfills- or at least the items that usually take up the most space in the landfill. I would suspect it would be building materials like shingles, sheetrock and such.

My second guess would be appliances and/or furniture.

Does anybody know of any such studies having been done? If so, please point me in the right direction.
Update: I did find this web site that shows some diversion rates from 2005, but I don't have time to read through and figure if I'm reading the right stats. They show Arcata at 63% diversion, Blue Lake at 84%, Eureka at 22% and Fortuna at 3%.

Does Blue Lake do mandatory garbage and recycling? If so, it would be a point in proponents' favor. I don't know that they do, though.

And I must have been wrong about San Francisco as the web site shows them at 66% diversion which clearly beats Eureka but not Blue Lake.

So what's Blue Lake's secret to success in this? Why is Fortuna doing so poorly? I'd say it's just a community mindset, differences in the way the cities are recording and formulating their rates, or a combination of both.


At 3:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Garbage pick up in Blue Lake is not mandatory.

In Blue Lake you can purchase blue garbage bags directly from city hall at $5 a pop.

These are the only bags the garbage men will collect when doing their rounds.

Paying for each bag individually makes you real picky about what you put in it.

At 12:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What does this mean for those of us
that like to save $ and take our own stuff to the dump?

Just wondering.

At 1:47 PM, Blogger Fred said...

I believe you can still take whatever you want to the dump, but you'll be paying for garbage and recycling service whether you use it, or not.

I used to take my garbage to the dump until the wifey talked me into getting garbage service. I don't know that I really saved all that much money since we've been having garbage picked up. For something like $15.00 a month we get a twenty gallon container's picked up each week. That's much more garbage than I generate in a week by myself, although the wife tends to sometimes fill the container up when she's around the house a lot.

I think garbage service is one of the great bargains around nowadays, but I oppose it being mandatory. If it becomes mandatory, then they'll have no reason for pick up service to remain the bargain it is now.

At 3:27 PM, Anonymous Andrew Bird said...

If a landlord who owns multiple rental units opts out of paying for city garbage service, which a lot of them do, choosing to haul a dumpster to the landfill instead, it makes it difficult for tenants to recycle. Because of this, I believe a lot of recyclables end up in the landfill that could be diverted if more landlords used the city garbage service.

Somebody correct me if I am wrong. But I believe that in some cities, municipal garbage is first hauled to transfer stations, where it is dumped onto a conveyor belt, then sorters pick through it to extract the recyclables.

At 6:52 PM, Blogger Rose said...

Huh, Andrew, I don't get why that would make it difficult for tenants to recycle. Wouldn't they just do it the same way we all do? May make it less attractive since it is easier if someone else if hauling it off for you - but....

Re: the Reporter poll, don't they know how to use pollhost? Online readers at least could use that - I guess the extra instructions to go to the email address and email a response is for the hard copy - just seems too arduous to work.

At 7:03 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Andrew wrote, "Because of this, I believe a lot of recyclables end up in the landfill that could be diverted if more landlords used the city garbage service.".

Not so sure about that, besides: As I mentioned before, I think the things that take the most weight and space up, as far as landfill space, are building materials, old furniture and such.

Simply getting a little more plastic, or a few more aluminum or tin cans recycled would do little to increase the waste stream diversion.

Go take a look at City Garbage, in Eureka, and see what's being dumped.

I suspect, even if all the cardboard, tin and aluminum cans and plastics were removed from the garbage pile, there's still be most of the stuff left behind.

I don't think mandatory garbage, or recycling service, will do much to alleviate that situation in and of itself.

At 7:07 PM, Blogger Fred said...

Oh, keep in mind that Blue Lake doesn't have mandatory pick- up, yet they seem to have the highest diversion rate.

I'm skeptical of how these diversion rates are formulated but, still, Blue Lake seems to be doing something right.

Maybe they're dumping the big stuff in the neighboring woods?

At 9:20 PM, Blogger Carson Park Ranger said...

We had a neighbor who preferred to "save money" and take his trash to the dump. The problem was that he didn't. It would pile up in the back of his truck, and the crows and seagulls would fight over it and spread it all around.


At 6:38 AM, Blogger Fred said...

That was the kind of thing that prompted me to finally get pick- up service, although we never had animals fighting over our trash.

Sometimes I'd just hold off because I didn't want to hassle loading everything into the truck and hauling it to City Garbage, although City Garbage is only five minutes from my house.

I held off one time until we had probably a dozen bags full of garbage in my garage, along with unbagged garbage. Not only was it a mess and taking up a lot of space, I couldn't help but wonder what the garbage inside the bag looked like after the months it had been sitting there since there was food and such inside. Yuck.

When the wife suggested getting pick- up service I jumped at it and haven't looked back.

At 8:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dont know what kind of trash you-or neighbor- must have had!
I take the same two cans I would use for pick-up-

Costs me $8.00

Pick up was costing me $35.00

Seems like 'seagulls' getting in your trash is pretty flimsy excuse- I mean- what?- did the guy just shovel it in the back and leave it a few days?

At 9:22 AM, Blogger Fred said...

You must generate a lot of trash.

In Eureka proper now, City Garbage gives you a trash "receptacle", the size depending on your needs. I took the small one. I believe it's like 20 gallons. I think a regular size trash can is 33 gallons.

The 20 gallon is all I need and more, usually, for a week's worth of trash.

As an aside, way earlier on, back when I was taking my own trash in. I was getting rid of a lot of it for free.

We generated maybe a 13 gallon kitchen type trash can's worth of trash a week- at least the kind of trash that would eventually be smelly and you'd want to get rid of.

When I'd go to City Garbage to dump green waste, I'd take the kitchen garbage bag with me.

After I'd get rid of the green stuff I'd ask the scale guy how much it would cost to dump the kitchen garbage bag. It would often only be half full. He'd usually just tell me to go ahead and dump it and not charge anything.

Now, you pay minimum charge to go in there even if you just want to dump an ashtray.


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