I am hosting an inner debate. My city recently announced a voluntary curbside green waste recycling program. I am excited the city is going this direction, in a move that will surely reduce the amount of waste
in the landfill.
The problem? I'm not sure I want to join.
See, at the same time I want to support environmental measures, I also want to do what's best for my household. That means a different kind of green speaks loudest: money.
The city program will cost $6.50 a month for a 90-gallon green waste container that is collected once a week. Accepted green waste is lawn cuttings, clippings from bushes and shrubs, leaves and produce.
Collected materials will be made into compost. (I've yet to learn if that compost will be made available to residents.)
In my city your first trash container (black 90-gallon bucket) costs $11.50 per month, with any additional containers costing $8 a month.The city is pitching the green waste program as a cost-saving measure for those who replace a second black can with a green waste can. Current cost for two trash containers: $19.50. Cost for one trash container and a green waste container: $18.
Most households on my street have two black cans. Our home does not --even though our family of seven could easily fill two cans if I tookthat route (or cleaned under my teenager's bed)! Instead we've made
efforts to minimize our trash by recycling paper, cardboard andplastic; and by donating our outgrown clothing and other household items we no longer use.
With green waste in particular, we have traded lawn space for other plantings, and mulch the grass clippings right back onto the lawn instead of throwing them away. We make compost. We have lots of trees
whose leaves, come fall, go into our garden plot; we don't bag the leaves for garbage collection.
At the end of summer we do have a lot of green waste in profusion when we cut back perennial flowers and remove large vegetable plants. These items exceed our compost space, so we opt to take them to the green
waste collection point at the landfill. Cost is $5 a truckload. We generally make two or three trips.
All told, the green waste program would cost me $96 a year. Did I mention that green waste isn't collected Dec. 1 through March 31, but that the green waste container may be used for a regular trash can
then (which I don't need)? So make that $96 for eight months of green cleaning.
I'm torn. I applaud the city for starting this program and I want it to succeed, even if it doesn't make sense financially for me. Should I consider the cost to me an investment in the greater good of the
community? If I opt out will I forever feel guilty for every seedy dandelion (my compost no-no!) that I throw in the black bin? How badly do I want that 90-gallon green badge of honor on my driveway?
I'd love to hear your thoughts as well as learn about the green waste programs in your communities.