Monday, June 11, 2007

Denver mandates urban blight and eyesore vacant lots

Recycling is good, I like recycling. HOWEVER, when you charge people extra to get rid of stuff, it invariably backfires. What happens IN REALITY is that the unwanted stuff get chucked in to the nearest vacant lot, pond, or WalMart parking lot in the dead of the night.

My uncle lives in a town that charges $5 for every tire someone wants to get rid of. As a result, the ditches along the roads are littered with tires and he has to clean a half dozen of them out of his pond every spring.

Albany NY tried a similar scheme with disposal of appliances - they wanted to charge people to get rid of a fridge, stove,etc. What happened IN REALITY was every vacant lot in the city became a dumping ground for dead appliances. Amazingly, Albany eventually realized the folly of this approach and now offers free dead appliance pickup as part of normal garbage collection. The vacant lots and back alleys of Albany are no longer dead appliance graveyards.

"do gooders" ignoring basic human nature seem inclined to repeat this failed policy time and time again. None seem to learn a thing from places that tried it.

In related news - Japan's Mount Fuji has become a massive garbage dumping ground for exactly the reasons I've outlined.

Rocky Mountain News
[...]Recycling plays a crucial role in Denver's plan. It would join other Colorado cities that already have moved to aggressively to foster recycling.

Fort Collins, for one, has set an ambitious goal of diverting 50 percent of its waste from landfills. As part of the effort, the city recently banned throwing away old computers, TVs, cell phones and other electrical items, requiring that they be recycled instead.

Fort Collins also has mandated that people who leave extra bags of trash for pickup be charged by the bag. [...]


That Broad said...

Yes, I don't understand this mentality. If it is made impossible to dispose of anything, what are people to do let the crap pile up in their back yards?

I live in Colorado, and recently discovered that many things cannot be disposed of at the actual dump. We found there is another site which will take things like t.v.'s, microwaves, computers, but the prospect that these things could be refused had me asking, what would we do if we simply had no place to throw things away?

Which brings me to another thing, t.v's, microwaves, and computers are virtually disposable these days. From now on, I will think about how we will get rid of things before we buy something we have to.

The post has a point, taking away the means to dispose of trash will not eliminate the existence of it, and anyone who thinks so should probably not be making public policies.

Brooke said...

Far be it from the gov't to let capitalism take care of the problem... Here, there is a small company with a box truck that will come and remove your old appliance for free, and scrap the thing, keeping the money they get for it as profit.

Brooke said...

The local dump here charges $30+ per load, and YOU have to do all the offloading work!


Purple Avenger said...

what would we do if we simply had no place to throw things away?

I once cut a junk car up into very small pieces with a sawzall and salted them into dumpsters over a period of weeks ;->

Disposing of garbage is going to become a clandestine activity like crack dealing eventually.

Of course in rental properties, the tenents simply fill the basements and attics with their garbage.

Mike said...

I just saw something on Reason's website today about the British police making people pay a fee to get evidence collected from a stolen vehicle when the police recover it. Yes, pay a ~100 pound fee to get the police to do their job.

I look at Britain and their do gooder culture and think that that is going to be an interesting experiment to watch. Their system of government will collapse within 10 years if this stuff keeps up. It's so infected with do gooders who pull stunts like this, that obeying the law will be a tremendously painful process for ordinary citizens.

Again, it'll be fun to watch.

B.B. said...

Here in Springfield, Oregon, the local garbage service has come up with a creative and *gasp* logical way of getting people to recycle. Not only is it free to drop off recyclables, if you bring both recyclables and garbage, you get a voucher from the people at the recycling dropoff that gives you a discount on the garbage fee.

Purple Avenger said...

That's entirely too reasonable Brian. Garbage collection in Springfield can't possibly be a government operation ;->