Tuesday, December 04, 2007

Does curbside recycling make sense?

The Woods Cross City Council will vote on implementing curbside recycling tonight. I have this nagging thought that I believe decisions to implement curbside recycling are more emotion based than science based. I decided to do a search on the Internet about the science of recycling and found a great blog post about it. You can find that blog post at http://sxxz.blogspot.com/2005/04/does-recycling-make-sense.html. One of the most fascinating quotes from that blog post is, "Face it, most government decisions are based on gut feel, ideology or political expediency, not on dispassionate technical or economic analysis." I found this to be overwhelmingly the case when I was on the council. How different would your decisions be if you based them on "dispassionate technical or economic analysis?" Our council must do a feasibility study before implementing UTOPIA, but, not before implementing recycling. Why the double standard?


Davis Didjeridu said...

Why it does make sense.

Kent said...

Thad, just a couple of quick points regarding the recycling/UTOPIA debates. As for UTOPIA, to imply that the City is dragging its feet by demanding that a feasability study be done is a little skewed. UTOPIA requires that cities contemplating joining the UTOPIA network conduct the study prior to their (UTOPIA's) consideration. Neither the City Council, nor the Mayor (me) nor the City Manager asked for the feasability study, it is a step REQUIRED by UTOPIA. Furthermore, the City is currently, and has been for several weeks now, awaiting a proposal from UTOPIA before we proceed. They have a new approach that they would like to take and we are waiting for them to make it public, until then we have to wait. Now, for recycling and fees. Just a quick question, how much were we paying for garbage fees in the City in 2003? You would agree that fees pay for services and even with adding a new service (whether you want it or use it or agree or disagree in priciple, it still is a new service) our rates at $12.50 are lower than in 2003. Just for grins, what were we paying in 2003? I think it makes sense to see us follow the model of South Jordan (I may have my municipality mistaken, if so then I will correct it in a future response) and tie all of our City utilities to a Consumer Price Index adjusting for inflation. Fees remain fixed for years when in reality the costs associated with them increase (usually) annually. That makes for some interesting problems (look out water rates).

Thad said...

I didn't say that the city was dragging their feet in wanting to do a feasibility study for UTOPIA. I just mentioned that it "must." As I have mentioned in previous posts, this is required by the state legislature. What would happen if the state legislature required cities to do a feasibility study and have a city-wide vote before implementing recycling? I think we can safely assume that there would be many people that would be up in arms about that.
As for what our garbage rates were in 2003? I'm not sure exactly, but, I know in my time on the council I voted at least twice to lower them. Also, in 2003 we didn't have a telecommunications tax or a storm water fee. (I know that the current mayor opposes both the telecommmunications tax and the storm drain fee.) Yes, we must provide essential services through things such as a water fee and garbage fee. Is recycling certain things better than throwing them away? Sure it is. Is forcing our senior residents on a fixed income to cough up $2.50 more per month a good idea? Each person must decide that for themselves.