Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Mandatory Garbage On The Way For Eureka

I'm not even going to put a question mark at the end of the title as I often do since some of the powers- that- be in Eureka seem bound and determined to institute mandatory garbage pick up services in Eureka.

I've commented numerous times on this issue, the last time not being all that long ago, so I won't spend a whole lot of time on this this morning. Suffice it to say, I'm a little put out at the way some are saying mandatory garbage pickup and recycling has proven itself as far as waste diverted from landfills.

Maybe it has in some places, but they cite two communities with mandatory garbage collection as examples of success and ignore places like Blue Lake that, at last count I could find, have even higher diversion rates than San Francisco and Marin County. Blue Lake doesn't mandate garbage pick- up or recycling.

It's something else, guys, not that fact that pick up service is mandatory. I can't help but wonder if we're looking so hard we can't pick out the forest from the trees?

I find it troublesome how this big push for mandatory garbage collection and recycling seems to have taken on a life of its own. Mandatory garbage and recycling seems inevitable for Eureka, regardless of reasons for or against it. That should trouble everyone.

8 Comments:

At 9:47 AM, Blogger Carol said...

You can move to our neighborhood, Fred. Nothing seems to be mandatory in unicorporatated Humboldt County.

We haul our garbage and recycling ourselves to the appropriate facilities. Unfortunately, some people still like to dump their garbage over the banks of our county roads -- it is disgusting and a constant challenge keeping illegal dumping cleaned-up.

 
At 11:07 AM, Blogger Fred said...

Carol wrote,"Unfortunately, some people still like to dump their garbage over the banks of our county roads -- it is disgusting and a constant challenge keeping illegal dumping cleaned-up.".

Indeed, and I don't think that this mandatory service will put all that much of a dent in that. Certainly proponents of this make one good point in that, if someone has to pay for garbage service, they'll more likely use the garbage can. I just think some people are going to dump illegally because that's the kind of people they are.

Interesting, too, that if they actually cut down on some of the illegal dumping, that would mean even more trash going to our landfills, which isn't me trying to say we shouldn't cut down on illegal dumping.

But seems to me it does bring up one thing: this mandatory pick up might actually bring more trash into the landfills which would mean it won't be accomplishing what proponents say it will.

The answer lies more within what is done with the trash once it makes it to the transfer station. It shouldn't matter from that aspect whether pick up is mandatory, or not.

All the trash needs to be screened to get as much stuff out of the landfill stream so it seems to me the answer lies at the various transfer stations as opposed to point of origin.

 
At 8:25 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eliminating all paper issues of the Times-Standard and the Eureka Reporter (as subscribers switch to the e-editions) should solve the problem of over-stuffed land-fills.

 
At 1:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Eliminating the print edition will not resolve the issue.

The issue is diversion of waste already created, not waste prevention.

 
At 11:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymus 1:13 PM wrote:
"Eliminating the print edition will not resolve the issue.
The issue is diversion of waste already created, not waste prevention."

Please provide evidence of your assertion.

 
At 12:09 PM, Blogger Fred said...

I'll step in here, although I'm not sure this is 1:13's line of reasoning:

Newspapers are already able to be recycled. I suspect most are, although I'm sure some make it into the trash. Seems to me they need to screen the trash after it gets to the transfer station.

What needs to be looked at is the stuff that isn't already being diverted. I suspect recyclables make up only a small percentage of what goes to landfills now. It's probably things like furniture and building materials that make up the bulk of what's going to the landfill.

I don't see how mandatory collection is going to help with that and, as I've suggested earlier, mandatory collection might ironically increase the number of non- recyclables headed to the landfill.

Not saying that's good or bad in and of itself, just that proponents of mandatory collection claim it will help reduce illegal dumping. If that turns out to be true, it seems obvious that will increase the volume going to landfills.

 
At 5:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

11:08, evidence is not required. The issue is one of definitions.

Diversion means taking waste that has already been created and shifting it to a place other than a municipal landfill. If you recycle newspapers, then you are diverting waste from a landfill.

If the Eureka Reporter discontinued printing its newspaper in favor of an all-electronic edition that is *by definition* waste prevention, not waste diversion.

The state standard is for waste diversion. The law does not tackle the "what if?" question of waste prevention.

Think of it this way... To the State of California, there is no difference between the Eureka Reporter producing only an electronic edition and the Eureka Reporter going out-of-business. You can't divert newsprint when ER is out-of-business, and you can't divert newsprint when only an electronic edition is produced.

Waste diversion involves measurable waste that already exists. You can, for example, measure how many tons of newsprint get recycled at your city's recycling center and count that toward your diversion goal. You cannot count mythical electronic newspapers and claim you have prevented creating waste in the first place by not producing a printed newspaper.

 
At 6:08 PM, Blogger Fred said...

"If the Eureka Reporter discontinued printing its newspaper in favor of an all-electronic edition that is *by definition* waste prevention, not waste diversion.".

Not sure where you're going with this, but it sounds to me like you want the Eureka Reporter to shut down?

 

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