What’s this picture got to do with maximizing tax dollars?
Maximize taxpayer dollars by designing a recycling program that provides end-users with high quality feedstock. To that end, citizens must feel ownership in their program. If taxpayers are paying for recycling, there must be transparency within the entire system, so citizens know the collected materials actually do get made into something new and returned to the marketplace.
Hands-on involvement and transparency are critical in gaining public trust and participation in your recycling program. Accountability/transparency LAWS are needed in every state. Arkansas took a first step with AR HR 1043 passed in 2013, although it needs to be changed from a resolution to a LAW.
When recyclables are dumped all together in a single compartment truck, spilled liquids, glass shards, etc. travel throughout the compartment contaminating everything.
A paper mill can’t use pulp containing scraps of metal or plastic, glass shards, soiled food, feces, or liquids such as bleach, beer, motor oil. Re-manufacturing equipment can be damaged or destroyed when stray pieces of glass, metal, whatever, jam or cut the machinery. Making messes by using single stream collection increases your community’s carbon footprint. This does not reflect well in terms of a commitment to sustainability or reducing the use of water and energy resources.
Single stream collection was initiated by major garbage hauling companies, not the end-users. The end-users are the companies trying to make new products from recyclables. End-users, the most important players in the recycling game, should have direct communication with citizens/community. Garbage haulers should have contractual instruction regarding the way recyclables will be handled. End-users need contractual assurance they’ll receive only good quality loads.
Citizens can and will do more sorting, in both curbside or drop off programs, IF you communicate with and educate them continuously. Attractive, park-like manned educational drop-off facilities, designed, and at least partially maintained by citizens are a cost effective way to collect clean sorted recyclables. Getting citizens involved with a drop-off program is a great way to build community pride. If you want to see resources conserved, then get citizens back in the ballgame by calling on them to help.
Allowing an entity (garbage haulers) whose profit margin depends on your continual waste generation to be in total control of your Three R (reduce, reuse, lastly recycle) program is a conflict of interest. Obviously an extensive checks and balance system is required. As an elected official, do your part by passing strong accountability/transparency LAWS.