Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Refuse Collection Frequency

How often should refuse (trash) be collected? Good question. I suppose it depends what the refuse consists of. The only way to find out is to examine it, something few people would want to do*. But one thing is clear, if the climate continues to change in an upward direction, bins are going to get hotter, not just because they are excellent absorbers of heat from the sun, but because their contents are increasingly prone to fermentation, decay and rot.

Today's society is geared to throwing things away - scraps of meals, babies' diapirs, packaging - all of which has to be put somewhere. The expense of doing this has driven many local governments in the UK to reduce the frequency of refuse collection to once every two weeks. And now we read a a study which shows that people recycle more when the period between collections is extended. This study misses the point completely. Without writing a thesis on the subject, here are the high points:

1. Two weeks is a long time in a hot summer - bins get very hot and high. This is a health issue, not one for the climate change experts. Rats should not be encouraged. In hot climates the collections can be daily and this is for good reason.

2. If governments are sincere about this problem, then they should be finding ways to reduce the amount of packaging.

3. Everyone should be encouraged to install either a composter, or a waste disposal unit if composting is out of the question.

*There have been studies into what people put into trash cans - the US Drug Enforcement Agency does it all the time, as do identity thieves. But the best example I know of was the study undertaken for the "Don't Mess with Texas" litter campaign. The researchers examined highway trash and were able to recommend where the State should place advertisements to persuade people not to mess with Texas - a favorite was the country radio station with Willie Nelson hired as the spokesman. No more beer cans out the window! Well, a few less, anyways.


Blogger copyworld said...

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11:50 AM  
Blogger Focalplane said...

Hi Copyworld! Thanks for your comment and your support for some reason and rationale in the great climate change debate!

1:22 PM  

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