Monday, April 12, 2010

Nashville Trash

I’m sure we’ll hear lots of whining about this, but I happen to think it’s a great idea, and long overdue. In fact, count me among those who think it doesn't go far enough.

I’ve said this before, but Nashvillians are very spoiled where public works services are concerned. I remember the wailing and gnashing of teeth that ensued several years ago when Public Works decided they could no longer go down your driveway to collect your trash: you’d actually have to take your trash receptacles out to the street yourself. Oh, my. You’d think we’d told people to go work in the salt mines.

The last time this issue came up a bunch of whiners ran Solid Waste Director Chace Anderson out of town for having the temerity to suggest that people can get by with one 96 gallon container a week if they “stomp” their trash down into the bin, or even--gasp!--recycle more.

That elicited responses from spoiled brats like this asshole:
In other words, it is my God-given right as a Metro taxpayer to have two of those carts!!!

Umm, no.

This time around the suggestion to charge a modest monthly fee for an extra bin has elicited these concerns:

"That just doesn't seem reasonable to me because different households are just going to have different needs," said Sharon Shaw-McEwen, a professor of social work at Middle Tennessee State University who lives on the Davidson County side of Brentwood and regularly uses two trash carts.

"There would have to be a way worked out so families aren't penalized just because they have more children."

What? Why the hell not? Hey if you choose to have 10 kids, more power to you. But you’re going to suck up more landfill space than the rest of us and yeah, you should pay for it. Whatever happened to “personal responsibility”? Teach your kids to recycle, teach them how to generate less trash. Teach them some simple stewardship lessons that will benefit them for years to come. And if one can isn’t enough then you’re going to pay an extra $36/year for your large family. News flash: you’re going to pay a helluva lot more than that over the next 20 years. Take your crying elsewhere.

I wonder if any of these folks have ever lived in a rural area. When you have to pay to have your trash picked up by a private service, or haul it to the dump yourself, or even (God this is awful but I know tons of people who do it) burn it yourself, yeah you definitely try to decrease the amount of trash you generate. Trust me, I've lived in rural Kentucky and I have seen what families are able to do and yes, you can get by with one 96-gallon trash receptacle.

Here’s my message to Public Works: how about picking up recycling more than once a month? Mr. Beale and I have two 96-gallon recycling bins and one small one. It’s never enough. And how about picking up yard waste as part of the recycling program? In the summertime, yard waste is what fills up our trash, more than anything. Yeah I know we should compost. We don’t.

Think about it.

Adding: I never understood attempts by some to paint this as an "elitist" issue. It's the exact opposite of elitist. We all generate trash. Every one of us. We all share the same landfill. We all pay the tipping fees. We are all in this together.

You know what's elitist? Wasteful profligacy. Dumping as much trash as you want in someone's back door because hell, it's not your neighborhood, so what do you care? Thinking that you have a "God-given right" to use up more of a limited, expensive landfill than everyone else because by God you are you and you won't be inconvenienced by something like putting your cardboard in a separate container.

That's elitist.