The Problem with the County’s Proposed Waste Disposal Fee: No Incentive to Divert Materials from the Landfill
If you are like me I look at just about everything I consider throwing away with the thought “wait …could this be reused for something, or could someone else use this, or can it be recycled in some way?” I think this is a common rural mindset. I hold on to things that I think can be used in the future; the list is pretty long: bags, rope, wire, anything I can imagine using at least part of for some known or unknown project or needed repair. I compost all my kitchen scraps for my garden and fruit trees. I contribute and shop at the community free box which offers a place to put items that someone could perhaps use, and take for free those items that I can use. And I also have been participating in Boulder Recycles, a community effort (recently approved as a nonprofit corporation by the State of Utah) to provide a way to recycle materials that are used to make new materials such as cardboard, plastics, glass, tin cans and aluminum cans. I have been involved with Boulder Recycles for 5 years now and it has been challenging and rewarding. I have been amazed at my community’s willingness to help make it happen by volunteering, donating to the cost of hauling, and to all the efforts to make, revamp and rethink and work on infrastructure. But bottom line is we are a small community and our hauls have been clear across the county and beyond. So are we making a difference? I think we are. And the number one reason is we are making a difference in what goes into the county landfill.
Now the county is proposing a fee on garbage. This does not mean that we have not been paying for our county expenses for solid waste disposal. It has been part of our property taxes. This new fee will be collected as I understand it on residences ($60 per year) and a 001% percentage of each business property assessment. It will help contribute to the increased cost of maintaining our landfill. The problem I see is there is no incentive to limit the amount that you dump into the dumpsters we will still be using. By the time this letter is published, the Commission will have held its three public meetings, but will hold their public hearing in Panguitch on Monday, March 14, before voting on the proposal. Look for notices! My big questions about this plan are: What is the incentive to do anything but add to the landfill expense? If you are paying a fee for garbage why would you think about what you are dumping in the dumpster? If those traveling through have no place to drop recycled materials (a common habit worldwide) they have no choice but to add more to our landfill. How long will the proposed fees be enough, to cover the future costs of the landfill? What is the county’s plan for the future?
I think the county’s waste management plan should include reuse, compost and recycling. How will this happen? I think it will have to start at a grassroots level. If you are interested in joining this effort please contact me, Tina Karlsson. I am happy to help share and distribute ideas and support for community efforts to divert reusable materials away from our landfill. email@example.com
Tina Karlsson, Boulder
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