Self-haul comes with a cost of its own | Letters
June 23, 2011 · 6:26 PM
Concerning last week’s letter about the inequality in self-haul tipping fees, (Journal, June 15, "Self-haul gets short end of tipping fees") a reduced tipping fee does not subsidize the private garbage hauler.
Just the opposite is true.
The solid waste shortfall can’t be solved on the back of private enterprise.
High taxes and overhead already make it very difficult for any private company to stay in business.
Heaping more costs on the contract hauler could completely eliminate any private sector contribution to the solution because it will drive customers and tax revenue away.
Government has proven time and time again that they can’t manage waste better for less.
It is a challenge to find higher tipping fees anywhere on the planet precisely because we have chosen to preserve self-haul at any cost.
It is cost prohibitive for local government to set up and staff duplicate transfer stations on each major island, comply with safety, health and environmental regulations, and have it all run by a department that is not concerned about efficiency.
Throw in the chaos of mixing pedestrians and trucks, lose debris flying out on the roads, traffic lines packed with people bringing one bag of recycling, heavy equipment pushing piles of garbage around; top it off with some guy in a fluorescent vest directing traffic from an easy chair, and the situation gets absurd.
The ritual of self-hauling small cans of garbage in separate vehicle trips wastes time, fossil fuel, is unsafe, and inefficient.
One garbage truck can pick up and haul the trash from 300 households in a single trip.
This is not only convenient for the customer but is also a green choice that saves fuel and natural resources.
It also eliminates the need for new and improved transfer stations.
If more people chose to do this the cost to the county and taxpayers would decrease and the planet would be better off.
People living near the sites would also have fewer impacts from traffic and noise.
Most municipalities have figured this out. Why haven’t we?
San Juan Island