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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on May 15, 2012 9:46 AM. The previous post in this blog was Oregon: We make it easy to rip off the public. The next post in this blog is Who wrecked Tri-Met?. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Portland food slop program reaches fiasco stage

We wrote yesterday afternoon about a report that Portland is going to have to send its food slop for composting all the way to Kent, Washington, near Seattle, because the local facilities in our region don't have permits to process yard debris that has that much food in it.

A reader points out that the stuff is already going even further away. According to this report by the Portland region's "unique" Metro government, some of it is being shipped by diesel truck to a site between Moses Lake and Yakima (four and a half hours from Portland in good traffic), and more of it is going to Stanwood, which is between Seattle and Bellingham (four hours, and the traffic's usually not too good).

Compared with trucking it to a landfill in Arlington (two and a half hours away) to decay in the ground, schlepping it nearly twice the distance so that private companies can make a buck off it somehow helps the earth. Somehow.

Do you get the feeling there's a mobster aspect to all this?

Meanwhile, on the home front, KGW reported last night that record numbers of dirty diapers are turning up in the contents of Portlanders' blue recycling bins as they get sorted at processing centers. Apparently folks simply aren't going to live with soiled diapers in their driveways for two weeks at a time. And so they've figured out how to continue to have them picked up weekly -- just toss them in with the recyclables.

Honestly, having done the disposable diaper thing for several years in the not-too-distant past, we can't say that we blame the scofflaws. It's not that they're in it to cheat somebody out of money. You simply can't get regular garbage picked up from a house every week in Portland, at any price. And having that crap, literally, hanging around for two weeks at a time is unhealthy and intolerable.

So now the city or Metro government is going to start tracking down the offending garbage customers and fining them. Of course, the customers will deny that the diapers were theirs -- we'd throw ours in our least favorite neighbor's blue bin, which always has plenty of room -- and so the city will have to clog up the courts with garbage cases.

Or maybe we should set up a whole new garbage court. It could have ancillary jurisdiction over Rose Festival duct tape cases as well. Fred Armisen can be the judge.

When we try to explain this kind of stuff to friends and family out of town, we're more than a little embarrassed. It's like we all gave up a normal life to live in a bizarre cult, but instead of the Rajneesh or Jim Jones, we have Earl Blumenauer and Rex Burkholder.

Portland City Hall loves getting in residents' faces. The bureaucrats love adopting the adversarial posture toward their constituents. With a curbside program, that's a real recipe for disaster, as anyone who thinks about it critically will realize. It's like the tax system: A certain minimum level of consumer goodwill is essential. How many people can they fine? What if everybody just starts throwing everything into the blue bins?

Comments (32)

"So now the city or Metro government is going to start tracking down the offending garbage customers and fining them."

Reminds me of Alice's Restaurant: "Yes, sir, Officer Obie, I cannot tell a lie, I put that envelope under that garbage." Or, in this case, diaper!

Sam has found his post-mayor job as Garbage Judge ...

The city was pretty clever to roll out (lolz) this program in the middle of late fall/winter, when the cold weather kept the fragrance of trash cans to a minimum. With the warm weather, though, yeesh! Brutal situation. As I said yesterday, I'm the owner of a large, and, er, productive dog, and I have to hold my breath walking past the trash when approaching the two week mark. I've got two kids under 5, and thank the stars that they are both done with diapers. If they weren't, I'd be making midnight trips to the nearby school and taking advantage of their larger dumpsters. This program is a joke.

The only question remaining is:

Who's brother-in-law is selling the haulers contractual biodiesel at $7.35/gallon?

Nice photo GW. Garbage judge or wolf in sheep's clothing?

Total incompetence combined with total arrogance and contempt for anyone who questions The Plan. Quite a toxic mixture.

Why not ask the mayoral candidates how they will solve this one? Its not going away any time soon apparently.

Q:"What if everybody just starts throwing everything into the blue bins?"
A: Let's start with the morons who came up with this ridiculous idea.

Just think of the stench (sorry no offense to Stenchy) when summer arrives.
Actually I am surprised that the powers that be haven't outlawed disposable diapers and made all the parents go back to washing diapers. Now that would really create a stench!

Take a look at this KGW video report where the Waste-Management employee describes what workers have to do when the diapers gum up the works.

His facial expression tells a lot.

http://www.kgw.com/video?id=151476925&sec=547977

Jack,
I was as incensed as anybody about the once weekly compost / bi-weekly garbage fiat. Even in the growing season most of us don't produce a bin of yard debris per week and if you produce a bin of food waste per week you are doing it very very wrong.
The "diapers in recycling" got me thinking. Our two person household produces a little more garbage than the can can accommodate with bi-weekly service. I end up storing some non-noxious garbage until I need to go to the dump. Since my bill has not gone down with the decrease in service this irks me to no end.

I thus present a modest proposal: Put your garbage in your garbage can. If your regular garbage production causes it to fill, start putting the excess in either the recycling or yard debris cans. If the City can interfere with my contract with my garbage hauler and cut my service, then the City can deal with the extra costs that imposes on the garbage hauler for mis-directed garbage.

Sound reasonable?

1. Some of my co-workers told me, earnestly, that I'm supposed to take my kids' soiled diapers and scrape them into the toilet before putting them in the trash. Either that or use cloth diapers. And they were serious.

2. My wife, god bless her, decided to clean up some stuff in the yard this week - including an old kiddie pool and a sheet of plastic. Unfortunately, she did it two days after trash pick-up and now our bin is full with almost a week to go. Where can I put the diapers now, but in the blue bin or in a neighbor's bin? Stupid new trash rules. *grumble grumble*

Would a "garbage revolt" qualify as "civil disobedience"?

And what would the heavy hand of CoP do about it? Call in Homeland Security?

Next, they'll be hiring "young pioneers" who religiously believe in The Leap Forward to go around in red, er, green neckerchiefs to scold and turn in violators.

If anyone fears reprisal, they only need to walk as far as the nearest apartment complex or non-complying condo development and deposit their diapers there. There are still plenty of renters in these places that are not compelled to obey the will of the Portland Garbage Gods. Or use the trash receptacle outside any grocery or convenience store.

Didn't Waste Management Inc come out of Chicago originally ?
That might be a clue to the origin of the mob tactics...

"Didn't Waste Management Inc come out of Chicago originally ?"

A great business to be in if you have some extra bodies to dispose of...

When Waste Management got the Portland contract, they were under indictment in seven states.

I vociferously opposed this latest change to bi-weekly only garbage pickup, and I was in one of the 'test' areas. I listed the types of problems they were going to face and they told me I was mistaken.

I'm surprised that they are only talking about the baby diapers...my cans regularly end up with dog feces on top, nicely bagged in plastic, and I don't own a dog. From my experience, there is a huge segment of the dog-owner population which is hideously irresponsible about their pet waste and will do anything to not have it in their trash, yard debris, or recycling bins.

I used to be a trash hauler and every drawback which has been pointed out to the dim-witted policy makers is coming to putriscible fruition with a vengeance.

Summer is HERE! You can SMELL it on the breeze!

Waste Management most definitely has mob ties in their past. I don't know about these days - seems a pretty good racket as it is.

If you really feel like protesting, store up the diapers in black garbage bag, let it sit in the sun for a couple of days, and drop it in front of city hall.

The KGW story's on the NWCN site.

I'm really thinking that it is time for parents of Portland to unite and dump all their dirty diapers on Scam Adams porch at his house in Kenton. He is such a ridiculous fool.

"Portland City Hall loves getting in resident's faces".
Maybe the last word should read "feces".

I don't see how excrement, human or animal, belongs in the garbage in any case. We have a sewage system for that.

The entire premise of the program was flawed in the first place. The assumption was that half of your landfill garbage would be food scraps. I don't think hardly anyone filled the garbage can half full with food scraps. More like ten to twenty percent. Most of my landfill trash is non-recyclable packaging.

They could have done some good if they had expanded the solid waste recycling program instead of this crazy food scrap system.

As it is, I have heard several people say they were simply throwing their excess garbage in their blue bin.

You have obviously never had a child if you think every type of "solid" waste can be removed from a disposable diaper and placed in a sewage system. Am I supposed to dispose of the waste of my 3 cats and 3 dogs in the toilet as well? You're gonna need a bigger Big Pipe.

Just kidding. I have a septic tank and a half acre with mini composters for my pets' waste. And weekly garbage hauling without a slop bucket. :) But seriously, it's hard to see how you can totally avoid feces in the solid waste stream.

I don't see how excrement, human or animal, belongs in the garbage in any case. We have a sewage system for that.

Let's go one better: disconnect all toilets from the sewer system - then overflows won't matter! We can put all our excrement into the bin with our slop bucket contents, compost it, and ship it to China as "night soil".

And to protect our Bull Run water system, we can set the Wayback machine to 1973, when a proposal emerged to diaper all the deer up there. Good times!

"diaper all the deer" LOL! And let's diaper the city possums, coyotes, and raccoons too!
OMG! Sam and co, might actually try to legislate that too!

It isn't just baby diapers, it is adult diapers as well. Ewww

"Everything is for the best in the best of all possible worlds."

This program was "green" run amok.

There is no need for "slop" recycling.

It was a boondogle from the start which had little to do with reducing landfill needs and everything to do with "feelings."

As the big purple rat would say to a room full of rodents, "slop is good!"

Put the "slop" in the garbage and pick it up once a week, like what worked since garbage trucks started picking up garbage eons ago.

They may have to truck your slops further away, but the taxpayers conveniently removed themselves far away from Portland. See, the system works.

Of my many concerns about Portland, the trash changes were the last straw. We are loving it in the weekly-pickup, slops-free, friendly-customer-service hinterlands.

If (like me) you don't want to catch nasty, preventable diseases by just walking down your own street this summer, then I hope you'll join us!

Obviously the people who proposed this program don't have teen-aged boys. Food waste? I can hardly keep enough food in house!

At our house, payday is every other Thursday, and garbage goes out on the alternating Thursdays. It's pretty sad that we're almost as excited about Garbage Thursdays as we are about Pay Day Thursdays.

"It's like we all gave up a normal life to live in a bizarre cult, but instead of the Rajneesh or Jim Jones, we have Earl Blumenauer and Rex Burkholder."

ROFL Jack - absolutely priceless. What a perfect encapsulation of living in PDX. Well, in western Oregon, come to that.


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