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Re: [GRRN] garbage disposal as service or public good
We regard waste management as an essential service like clean water, roads and schools.  We operate half a dozen drop-off stations where we charge for recyclables, albeit at half the rate of trash.  Our expenses for recycling are essentially the same as those for msw mgt.  We have a mandatory recycling ordinance, so all the curbside commercial haulers provide recycling service.  They all charge for the service, most at the same rate as trash.  The upshot of this description is that our recycling rates, both for participation and capture are equal to districts which provide free recycling service.
I'm not sure of all the implications here, but it seems that people who will recycle see it as a better option and are willing to put in the extra effort to collect msw and recyclables separately. 
Mike Morrow, Manager
Lamoille Waste District
-----Original Message-----
From: keneve <>
To: <>
Date: Wednesday, April 25, 2001 8:24 AM
Subject: [GRRN] garbage disposal as service or public good

While I agree with Christine's remarks about market rates, etc, I think of garbage removal as a public good.  In  New York City, where I live, the garbage has to be picked up or public health would be endangered in a very short period of time. Think 13,000 tons of residential garbage every day.
We certainly have more than our share of free riders.  Commercial entities dump their garbage everywhere rather than pay to have it disposed of.  Because garbage pick-up is thought of as a public good, it makes it much harder to teach residents basic concepts of waste reduction and recycling.   As an environmental educator, I have sometimes secretly yearned for a good garbage strike so residents could see the nature of the problem.
Regarding recycling, because so many of the benefits are avoided costs, I would consider recycling collection a public good as well.  Many people don't value those costs and would rather not be bothered with recycling.  But the City does see the avoided costs, provides the service, and expects residents to comply - like stopping at traffic lights, paying taxes, etc.
Perhaps we are in a transition from public good to service.  I think the environment would be better served if  we could make that transition.
More comments, anyone?
Eve Martinez
I'm always looking to make sure people understand that recycling - just like
garbage disposal is not a public good - but a public service that has associated

As always, I appreciate your comments!



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