Thursday, November 13, 2008

3 Trash Trucks every Friday

I know many of you loved my last post about global warming, so I thought I would write a semi-similar one about Waste Management (Also because I am watching season 3 of the Sopranos)

Everyone in my neighborhood pays WM about 52 dollars every two months for 3 cans (yard clippings, regular trash, and recycle)  And as such we have 3 different trucks coming to our neighborhood spewing diesel fumes into the air.  The question is why?  And I think part of the answer is so that we can feel good about ourselves.  I have submitted to recycling my diet dr pepper cans because it pleases Tasha.  But what is the cost of that recycling?  We burn X amount more in fossil fuels because of the extra trucks, and the recycling plants.  Also we use X amount more water if we wish to rinse out our Pasta Sauce jars to recycle them.  But it makes us feel good.  

Similar deal with electric cars, we feel good about the fact we aren't burning gasoline, but when we plug the car into the wall, the energy comes from fossil fuel spewing plants.  Maybe we should build more nuclear and T Boone Pickens wind farms.  

Goodness knows I don't have all the answers folks, ya know I am just one more blogger in his pajamas in his parent's basement.  


Baptist_Mike_in_Utah said...

I will jump on this after church tonight. And share my wisdom from my years as a Waste Management employee.

Grandma Dee said...

You are right. It does make me feel better. I definitely get a high from putting my veggie peelings and such into the green recycler. Since we are not eating processed foods, there is a real reduction in the general waste can. I would certainly like to reduce the carbon footprint of our waste donation. Now, if I could just get into reading the LA Times online. Still like the experience of sitting in the backyard, reading the paper in the morning and having my coffee or tea.

Your blog makes me think,

Baptist_Mike_in_Utah said...

Garrett, you are 100% correct on this one. There is no environmental benefit to the system you have there for trash/recycle/greenwaste disposal. It is all to make us feel better. Between the extra fuel, exhaust, road damage, oil leaks, and general wear and tear more damage is done environmentally that the benefits.
Well intentioned people in Sacramento made it mandatory for 50% of all waste in California to be recycled without figuring out how to accomplish it in an environmentally positive way. So they fine the cities and counties that do not maintain 50%. They put the pressure on the trash hauler who has to buy more trucks and hire more drivers and pay for more fuel which puts econimic pressure on them. It does not make environmental or economic sense to do this. They make no money on yard waste, and barely any in recycling because they have a hard time finding anyone to buy the glass/aluminum/plastic/foam etc. It is usually four different companies which is four differect transfer trucks. Meaning more waste in the air. The garbage companies hate it. Chico has a few split hopper trucks that seperate the two types being hauled to cut down on trucks, but customers dont like it because they do not feel like it is getting seperated.Norcal waste in S.F. has a truck that is split in 3 sections that can handle all three loads in three compartments. It is very cool and would be ideal but the price is enormous and the controls for working it are complex causing safety issues in highly populated areas.

The best system is for one truck to pick it all up. Take it to a local transfer station. Dump it there where low wage workers actually sort through and seperate it on a conveyer belt. It is cost effective, more environmentally conscious, and productive. I have seen this in Oroville and Grass Valley has an awesome transfer station. But it does not leave the warm fuzzy feeling in the mind of the consumer.
So hopefully my almost 8 years of being a garbage man knowledge helps.
Oh yeah, I forgot a major player. The labor unions loved the multi truck system too.

Grandma Dee said...

Thanks, Mike. Very informative.