Bill Wayne's Political Pages - The Gadfly
Gadfly 281
Submitted to the Warrensburg Gazette for March 10, 2005

The Gadfly is a series of letters offering commentary on local issues and published in the Warrensburg Gazette.

The city hired a consultant to tell them how to manage our trash. Anyone who thinks government is the answer to our problems will love this report. The proposed solution would cost more, put private companies out of business, establish a bureaucracy and determine just how much trash and garbage we're allowed to have. Obviously, the perfect government answer.

Pray tell, what is wrong with the current system? We have several private haulers to choose among, from the big company to the local entrepreneurs. If we don't like one, we can change. What they charge is based on the interaction of their costs and competition from other haulers. The city has no particular responsibilities or costs besides the twice-a-year bulk trash pickup.

Instead, the consultant would have the city locked into a monopoly hauler, putting the little folks out of business. The city would have to hire a "garbage coordinator" and a trash enforcement officer; I suppose this official would drive around looking for folks not separating newspapers, metal, plastic, glass and garbage. Someone would have to buy the special containers or "color code bags" people really want to buy their trash bags at city hall? And the cost does anyone really believe government cost estimates are realistic?

Recycling is great in theory, as long as there is a market for the recycled material. We don't see newspaper recycling like we used to because the market dried up; supply exceeded demand. Where there is a market, organizations like the Sheltered Workshop have stepped forward to fill the niche. When markets exist for other items, people will recycle.

Back to that social occasion known as bulk trash pickup did you know that many items get recycled then instead of being hauled to the dump? Trash pickers cruise the streets looking for usable or salable items; a lot of larger metal objects don't get to the dump, they're picked up and sold as scrap. If people are going to have to pay extra to clean out their garage, the problem will be moved to the ditches of our country roads.

Please contact your city council person (or candidate) and ask them why anybody would want to increase city costs, create more hassle for citizens and shut down small businesses. Seems like a lose-lose-lose proposition to me.

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