Monday, April 19, 2010


BIN THERE, DUNCE THAT: The news that the mayor’s proposed budget contains a provision to start charging for curbside trash collection in 2012 is certain to cause the knee-jerked feet of the “I don’t want to pay for the services I demand” crowd to start up their usual dance of the demented dimwits.

But for anyone who’s paid attention to the last few years of council wrangling over the final R.W. Beck report’s solid waste plan it’s yet another “can’t anyone here play this game” moment from Bernard the Big Babooze’s “ready, fire, aim” compatriots.

Although much to it’s discredit it ain’t no “Zero Waste” study, the final Beck report did manage to include at least one Zero Waste concept on recycling- one that was changed after almost two years of recent community and council criticism that spurred the consultants to go back and recommend a curbside recycling and central sorting process for waste stream reduction.

After endless hours the final report called for the county to first build what’s called a MERF – a materials recycling facility- and then implement a curbside recycling program with separate bins for all recyclables.

Then and only then- once citizens are given the opportunity to easily reduce their and the county’s waste stream- was a plan to implement a fee system for curbside trash pickup to be started.

But one of the council’s recommendations was that the fees should be collected only on a second bin each week in order to incentivize recycling.

The savings in this system are well established. Not only is the trash stream greatly diminished due to the decreased need for landfilling- including all the ancillary operations such as transportation- but the process yields a commodity in the recycled materials.

It’s call a "integrated” process for a reason- each element is based on the other with each one dependant on doing it in the right order- first the facility, then the recyclables collection, then the fees.

But the ever-incompetent Department of Public Works dunderheads first went out and bought a half a million dollars worth of recycling bins and set up a “pilot project” in Lihu`e with no place to bring the collected recyclables. Then instead of using the process to give people a cash reason to recycle they are not only going to charge everyone for the first bin but are going to further remove it from the users’ consciousness by adding it onto the real property tax of the property owners.

While a MERF and island wide curbside recycling is on the horizon they surely won’t be ready by the time the fees kick in.

But why should this time be any different than the others in a series of ignored and un-acted-upon Beck reports we’ve paid for over and over for the past decade or so?

No comments: