Friday, March 28, 2008

Recycle, Reschmycle: Garbage is Garbage, Right?

On several occasions in the past year I have witnessed, or I should say I thought I witnessed Charleston City sanitation workers dumping recycle bins into the same garbage truck where they where throwing other trash bags. I really just thought I was misunderstanding what I was seeing because surely to goodness the City wouldn't ask us to separate out or recyclables and then just indiscriminately toss them in the landfill would they? Would they?

Today's Gazette has the following "Reader's Voice" blurb:

"I just observed the city of Charleston trash collectors empty all of the recycling bins on my block of Virginia Street into the regular garbage truck with all other garbage. I had a feeling this was happening but to actually see it makes me sad. I will continue to wash all plastic and cans and stack all paper neatly into my bin and hope that our mayor will take care of this problem."

Now I would normally be the first one to laugh off a "Reader's Voice" or a Daily Mail "Vent Line" complaint, but when it corroborates what I have seen happen I might give it a little credence.

The City's Refuse Collection website says "Recycling occurs on each regular trash day." Hmmm.

I think it would be interesting for anyone who reads this to pay attention and report back as a comment if you see this happening in your neighborhood. With all of the work that community groups and government agencies do to promote recycling it would be a shame if the war was being lost on the front lines in the name of expedience, but it would not surprise me if it is happening.


Wv Sky said...

This is nothing new. It was announced about a year ago that recycling wasn't paying for itself and not enough people were participating anyway. There was some outcry (for 5 minutes) and since they already had the trucks, decided to continue to use them, MOSTLY to make people who didn't catch the news feel better. If there are any recent recycling programs, I'm not aware of them. Besides, even if there are... should the recycling truck break down, a standard garbage truck would be pressed into service. That means no possible way to easily recycle everything all tossed together, and so it get's dumped.

Charles said...

According to current City Code, recycling is not voluntary for either residents or municipal workers:

Sec. 98-121. Separation of recyclable materials from municipal waste.
(a) Residences. Persons shall separate all aluminum cans; bi-metal, steel and tin-plated steel food and beverage cans; newspaper; and plastics identified by the society of plastics industry (SPI) code numbers 1, 2, 3 and 5, boxboard, office mix paper, magazines, and junk mail, from municipal waste generated at residences and shall store the materials until they are collected for recycling.

Pissed Off Hillbilly said...

What they mean is that the stuff you wasted your time separating is recycled back into the garbage where it belongs.

It's all a scam anyway.

If there was a market for this crap, you'd see the bums picking it up to sell.

Rebecca Burch said...

Funny you should mention this... some coworkers and I were talking about it the other day. The school actually has a buildingwide recycling program. It would be sad if we trained all these kids to recycle, then had them find out that it all gets dumped in with the rest of the trash.

Anonymous said...

"If there was a market for this crap, you'd see the bums picking it up to sell."

Maybe that's why my glass bin in Seattle disappeared 4 times this year.