Tuesday, April 16, 2019

My most expensive trash bill ever

So, apparently, I'm paying $55 per trash can for my garbage pick up these days.

I'm mighty happy about this.  [This is not a humble brag; it's an out-and-out brag, really].

We're paying $220/year, or $55 per quarter, for waste management services; this is a fee imposed by my city.  This amount has risen slowly, slowly over the past few years.   But my household output of trash has dropped somewhat more dramatically (aided in no small part by having fewer people full-time in the household).  And in the way that math works, when you divide a constant(ish) numerator by a smaller denominator, you get a larger quotient.

This morning, we put out our second garbage can of the year. This means that so far this year, we're averaging $55 per trash pick-up, our highest (per can) fee ever.  Score!


One response to this situation might be to suggest that households pay based on their usage, instead of paying a flat fee.  My own opinion is that that would be taxing/penalizing the wrong end of the process.

For example, our city used to have a variety of trash haulers, who charged very different fees.  We also had a bunch of trash spills, with every hauler pointing fingers at everyone else in blame. Since we've gone to the flat rate and one (city) hauler, we have much less waste blowing around in our streets and yards.

The problem of excessive waste is really a by-product of excessive consumption of non-durable goods.  I wish that there were a policy that, for example, our pharmacy were responsible for disposing of (or sanitizing and reusing) pill bottles; that plastic packaging were taxed in accordance with the associated clean-up costs, and that more generally, the clean-up and waste management aspects of every item were folded directly into the purchasing set-up.   I know that's a pipe dream, but focusing on disposal issues at the point of purchase is likely to be much more effective than having people pay for trash at the "end" of use.


  1. Congrats! I heard about a young woman doing something about waste and was so impressed with her! Here's here Ted talk - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lR0Hv5CFY9Q
    and a news report about her company - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lQKKFalZPOM

    1. Wow, this is intriguing. I hadn't heard of converting plastics back into oil (and undoubtably, a bunch of other stuff). Thanks for sharing this!