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John Nephew

Maplewood City Council Policy & Politics


The Recycling Puzzle

We've heard from a lot of folks who oppose organized collection in Maplewood.

I should say, organized trash collection.  Maplewood long had organized collection of recyclables.  Each household currently pays $6.35 per quarter (it's on your water utility bill) for curbside recycling pickup.  Our current recycling contract expires at the end of 2010, so this would be a perfect time to abandon organized recycling collection and switch to an open recycling pickup system.  Just like trash, we could require by ordinance that every household contract with a recycling hauler, and it would be up to the individuals to hire the hauler of their choice at the best price they can find.  But no one has proposed doing this, as far as I'm aware.

Here are some example statements against organized trash collection, cut and pasted from e-mails I've received:
"This is not only anti-free market it also creates a monopoly."

"If there is only one hauler, and I'm not satisfied wth their service or their charges increase, I am stuck with NO choice."

"Let's let everyone have a choice in this. If the streets are used by a few more trucks, that's okay too - I'll pay more in taxes for the roads rather than give up my choice in trash hauling."

"My costs have dropped due to competition and my vendor(Tennis Sanitation) has done an excellent job."

"First let me tell all of you that I am very able to still decide on whom to hire,and the monthly cost.When hasw government been able to cut the cost of any thing NEVER please do just the simple job the people voted you to do,and let the people hire who they want and the monthly cost of that service."


"It takes away our right to chose and it also is running small bussiness out of bussiness."
Every one of these statements could be made in opposition to organized recycling as well.  It's just a different bin with a different kind of trash in it, right?

Tennis Sanitation spoke at the October 4th hearing in opposition to "government managed" trash hauling, but why didn't they tell us that we should abandon organized recycling collection as we considered their bid for that "government managed" contract at the meeting a week before?

Everyone in Maplewood has direct experience with organized recycling collection.  If organized hauling is terrible, you'd think it would be a slam-dunk to illustrate all the arguments against it with examples from the recycling system that everyone is personally familiar with.

So why isn't that happening?


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