Friday, August 07, 2009

Worried About Once-Weekly Pickup? What a Load of Garbage...

I was greeted at lunch today with a puzzling story in the paper: People in Dallas are concerned that, because of budget cuts, the city of Dallas is looking to cut twice-weekly garbage pickuo down to once a week.

Not being a resident of Dallas proper, I guess I never paid much attention to this before, but why in the world was garbage being picked up twice in the first place? Every place that I've lived, from the time I first remember such things (kindergarten? First grade? Those were two different places, by the way), has "only" had garbage pickup once a week. What makes Dallas so different?

Only two possible reasons come to mind: 1) People are throwing too much stuff away, or 2) They need to be recycling more. (Or maybe this is just two ways of stating the same thing...)

Granted, I live in a much smaller-than-average household, but still, informal surveying of my own neighborhood seems to indicate that, as a whole, nobody's trash bin is full to overflowing every week; the biggest week for trash is (obviously) right after Christmas, but even then, some people space out their throwaways so that the theoretical bad guys might not get the idea that they've gotten too much new stuff. And again, going back to childhood, I don't recall any other area where once-weekly pickup wasn't sufficient. What exactly are folks throwing away out there?

Not only will this move save gas and roads, but it will allow the city to cut its budget without laying anyone off. And it will also reverse what to me are some really badly-run programs in the first place. Like this:
"Under the old [twice-weekly system], your garbage was picked up twice a week, and your recycling was picked up twice a month, but not on the same day your garbage was," [Councilman Ron Natinsky] said.

It was confusing to some residents, and recycling rates suffered as a result.
You think? The easiest way to get people to not recycle is to make it a lot of extra work for people. Here's one more bad idea that's going away:
Where once residents had to separate the paper from the plastic from the cans, they now can put it all into one big blue 90-gallon bin that is collected on the same day as the garbage and sorted at the city's recycling center.
Funny, I've been doing that ever since I've lived in a house. It's good to see Dallas finally entering the 20th century on this one.

Am I being overly harsh here? What reason could there possibly be for needing trash picked up more than once a week? Enlighten me (or agree with me) in the comments.

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