Tuesday, July 29, 2008

DPW Disappointment

Strike number two for the DPW: Today I went to our Public Works Department to get some additional recycling bins. Our family recycles so much that one blue bin and one green bin just doesn’t cut it. Well, it’s going to have to for time being. Why? According to the DPW staff I spoke to today, they will not have additional recycling bins available for at least another month.

This is unfortunate and frankly unacceptable. Tiverton is a town of over 15,000 people – over 6,000 households* – with a landfill that’s nearing capacity let us not forget. How can citizens attempt to do their part for the town and the state if the town itself cannot provide those simple green and blue bins.

Now I did not ask why this was the case (Budget perhaps? Or maybe the RIRRC is back-ordered?) or for how long the “month” line has been going on – I believe I interrupted their lunch break as it was about 12:15 and the four individuals were watching TV in a break room – but what is going on here? Does anyone have any insight into this?

The silver lining? At least we’re not as bad as Houston, TX. Not only do they have the lowest recycling rate of the 30 largest cities in the U.S., there is a 10-year wait for bins. (Thanks, EJO, for the heads-up on that story.)

[*Source: 2000 census. http://www.tiverton.ri.gov/town/town.html]


tillerman said...

I understand your disappointment but perhaps there's a hidden message here? After all, the real goal of sustainability will be achieved not just by recycling more but also by consuming less.

If I'm filling up my single blue and green bins in a week I take it as a signal to wonder why? Why is my household disposing of so much plastic, glass, paper and cardboard each week? Are there alternatives? Can we switch to products that have less unnecessary packaging? Can we re-use more rather than recycle? Can we make rather than buy?

Nate said...

We use a spare trash can for our overflow recycles (every other week in Westport


tillerman, great point. I whole-heartedly agree -- and try to the best of our ability -- to live a lifestyle that consumes less to begin with. It's really hard!

I should have clarified why we're filling up the bins each week. The big reason is that we're taking some of the bottles (plastic and glass) that my wife's employer doesn't recycle (which is a whole other issue in itself). In good conscious, she just can't see that stuff go into the garbage.

Take a read at an earlier post about a month back on the need for better small business recycling options for some other thoughts on that.

In the meantime, avoiding packaging is admittedly difficult -- even for those of us who try to consume less. You could try to 'pre-cycle', buying products whose packaging is made of recycled, post-consumer content. Or, as you mentioned, buying re-used items. Clothing and some consumer goods are easier to accomplish this with. Food products on the other hand are much more difficult -- unless you make an attempt to avoid any kind of processed food (which is always packaged) and go for more locally produced vegetables, meats, etc.

I've talked about setting up a FreeCycle depot somewhere in town -- a place where folks could give and take used goods at will. Many communities have thriving FreeCycle programs.

Can you share any particular tips? I've been thinking about setting up a Google Groups site to start discussion threads on a variety of topics. This could be a good one to help kick off with.

Thanks for checking in!



Whoops, bad grammar there. (It's early.) Should have been 'good conscience' not 'good conscious'...

Steven Rys said...

I understand your disappointment in not being able to receive a recycling bin,but I assure you that it strictly falls on the folks at RIRRC.
All communities in the state have been unable to order new bins for some time.Apparently there is a major change in directors that has caused the problem.The town has been notified that the cost would increase three fold.Stay tuned