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Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Doing something right

There's some stuff not to like about where Portland's household garbage program is going. But the idea of letting people throw all the recyclables into one or two bins is a great one. Otherwise, you're looking at this sort of thing, which is a real turn-off.

Comments (17)

And then you have people never recycling. Like Arizona. Or California. Or the South. Or Latin America. And I don't think Portland would be well-served to follow any of those examples.

Bronch, I know Portland is the be-all end-all when it comes to green matters, but Arizona, California and "the South" consist of thousands of communities, many of which do indeed recycle.

Here's the list of the top 10 cities for recycling:

1. Los Angeles, CA
2. San Jose, CA
4. San Diego, CA

8. Phoenix, AZ

Portland doesn't even make the Top 10.


That's a ridiculous and meaningless number. I bet that came from a survey about cans and bottles.

The fact that Portlanders are able to recycle so many diverse products and packages so easily is far more effective in the overall goal of recycling (reducing waste) than some LAers throwing a can in the bin at work.

I said nothing about Portland being Green Mecca. I simply note, from anecdotal evidence, that people here recycle a heck of a lot more than people in the places on your list. From observation, there are also far more places of business and public areas with recycling facilities. Don't tell me infrastructure doesn't count for something.

No, Bronch. It's simply not true. You're welcome to read the survey for yourself.

"A Municipal Recycling Survey in the March 2, 2009 edition of Waste & Recycling News targeted the most populous cities in the United States to gather information about their recycling programs. Cities were ranked based on the recycling of various materials, including but not limited to: Paper, Metal, Plastic, Glass, Bulk and Organic. According to this survey, the City of Los Angeles had the highest recycling rate out of 10 largest U.S. cities."

Please, let's not copy Europe this time!

They said it now takes 3 trucks to run a route, rather than the 1 it took previously. That's a lot of manpower and fuel costs, not to mention air pollution and wear and tear on the roads. Plus the cost to educate people on how to break down cardboard boxes and how to insert a liner into the food-waste bin.

Ironically, looking at the photos, even with all those bags, bins, and "wheelies", the non-recylable trash bin shown is the same size I use with my family of 9.

Its hard to know what to say when you read something this stupid. The only thing exceeding this level of nonsense may be the above cat fight which apparently has broken out between the defenders of Portland's green title and the evil Californicators. Get a life Kids! Without a real market for recycled paper, plastic, glass, etc. it all goes to the landfill anyway.

First, having been to Phoenix several times, and seeing what my parents could recycle, I have a hard time believing they are ahead of Portland - but I'll read the whole article to see how this was calculated (statistics, damn statistics.)

In regards to the sorting - with this article one sees one extreme in the recycling process - either the resident sorts everything to the nth degree, or, everything gets dumped in a large cart, where someone else sorts everything. The sorting requires a fairly large facility, and there is a lot of equipment that can do much of the sorting - though there is still a lot of labor involved pulling things off a conveyor belt. That's what we have in Portland.

And, as Dean notes, without a market for recyclables, this becomes a moot point. The recession caused prices to plummet for materials, and reduced the demand to near zero for some items.

BTW, I'm a Master Recycler, so have some skin in the game.

Of course here in Reno we simply toss almost all of it away - and amazingly it only costs us about 40% of what we used to pay in "green" Portland. As in MORE GREEN IN OUR POCKETS instead of in some putz's budget at Metro or City Hall. We also have a FREE DUMP DAY every quarter; where large items such as old furniture, tree stumps, etc. can be disposed of at no cost.

Bronch, I'm a part time resident of Tucson. We do recycle and have separate containers for different products, plus they (Waste Management) separates some items after home pick up. Maybe the recycling isn't in the methods you personally may advocate, but citizens are just as careful about the environment there as here. Please get your "facts" straight. Plus Tucson has more/better bike paths than Portland per population. I bike both and feel much safer in Tucson.

I bike both and feel much safer in Tucson.

Just make sure you keep your papers on you when you're down there.

There is no shortage of landfill space. The whole recycle thing is pure liberal guilt combined with a progressive power/money grab and it bs.

At current rates of garbage production, it would take all the U.S. garbage 1000 years to fill a hole 35 miles on a side and 100 yards deep. Ever fly over eastern Oregon? or Nevada? 35 miles is nothing.

Dave A:

Some regular readers might pick up that your in Reno and love it. That's great. I don't begrudge someone who likes where they live.

Still, in my mind its Reno.

I also note that they have a pretty high unemployment rate. Shouldn't the low water/sewer/garbage fees (and presumably other low city fees) put more money back into small business coffers to employ more folks?


Landfills are great - dump everything in a hole, and let the next generation figure out what to do with the toxic materials there.

And, perhaps Tucson has recycling - but my sister attended NAU last year for grad school, and Flagstaff has no recycling - at least not via home pick-up.

Jonathan: I think the lower rates for utilities and waste services simply allow businesses to have a lower cost of doing business. And it puts more money in the pockets of business owners. But that doesn't necessarily mean they will hire more people.
All I know is that I'm starting a business here later this year and the leasing rates are way lower than in Portland.

umpire, since one hole could last for 1000 years that is a lot of generations away. Any why exactly would anyone, even 1000 yrs from now want to "figure out what to do with it"? What's to figure out...do nothing with it. Forget it is there!

Kevin wrote:

Portland doesn't even make the Top 10.

Reading comprehension FAIL.

That list is the recycling rates of the TEN LARGEST CITIES, not the ten cities with the largest recycling rate.

Portland did not make the list, because it is not one of the ten largest cities in the U.S.

City of Portland says our recycling rate is 52%, which is well above San Antonio at 4%, as well as above Phoenix, or any other city in that list that is in The South. And no telling if that 52% is measured the same way as the "top ten" list.

Allan L., If you read the Arizona bill carefully and entirely, I most likely won't need to worry about carrying my "papers". I try to obey the law, biking or driving; and enforcing agencies have to have reasonable cause and etc. before they may even consider asking for my papers. And if they did, I have them. I'm a citizen of the US, and that is all that is required. It's simple. You need to experience the problems along border states. I use to go down to Nogalas often-now I don't even think about it. Same with El Paso.

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