Is half of your garbage food scraps?
We've been writing for some time now about the City of Portland's long-term plan to cut regular garbage pickup from once a week to once every two weeks. Part of the package is that the city will allow residents to throw all their food scraps into their yard debris bin along with their yard debris, and have that slop picked up once a week along with the rest of their recycling. But the stuff for the landfill will get picked up only every other week.
Well, apparently, the long term is now, as the Sam Rand Twins are going to start ramming the new program home this week. It's sure to create a lot of heat, but with two lame ducks on the City Council, more impervious than ever to public opposition, the new plan will surely pass. And it's all wrapped up in "green" talk, so the city's legion of creative class baristas will automatically snap to attention and salute.
It will be an interesting call for Nurse Amanda, who's in a tough re-election race. Will she let outraged opponents of the plan speak, or will she dismissively tell them how they should live?
Curiously, just 10 days ago the city was inviting people to hearings in late September on new garbage rules. Now, all of a sudden, the City Council's going to approve the revised program in August. There's the public process that we love so well.
On the merits, the problem for some of us is that we already compost a great deal of our food waste -- not all of it, but a lot of it -- and our garbage can, which is quite full every week, mostly contains items that are neither recyclable nor compost-able. For us, it means that we'll have to get a bigger garbage can and pay our hauler a higher rate. For less frequent garbage service. More money, less service -- forget the Twitter addresses, that should be the city's official motto.
Even those who don't presently compost a thing will probably be faced with the same circumstances as ours. Unless half of your garbage or more is food scraps, or you've already got a bigger can than you need, you're going to need a bigger can come this fall. And if you already fill up your yard debris bin every two weeks, there won't be room for your food scraps and you'll need a new garbage can that's twice as big as your current one.
What's the benefit? They say there'll be fewer garbage trucks on the streets, but with the yard debris trucks doubling their number of runs, that assertion doesn't make sense. There'll be less stuff going into the landfills, and we guess that's a good thing. Plus, some outfit's doubtlessly going to turn the slop into fertilizer and energy. Will profits made in the process be channeled back to cut garbage rates? Ha! Ha! There's your Monday morning funny.
And just think, just two more months before we get to deal with the new city leaf tax again.