MY WASTE , MY RESPONSIBILITY
A student group at a California university recently adopted the slogan, “My Waste, My Responsibility.” I have not been able to contact these students about what their slogan means, but I suspect they are promoting waste reduction and the idea that “responsible” people create as little waste as possible.
But what if their slogan is applied to recycling and disposal? Recycling is simple. No doubt they want “responsible” people to recycle as much garbage as possible through drop-off or buyback centers, and curbside recycling.
Disposal is trickier. I don’t think the students want people to “responsibly” dispose of their garbage in a hole or incinerator in their own backyard.
In the past, backyard disposal options were legal in some parts of this country. My grandparents burned garbage in their Denver backyard in the early 1950s. Eventually, local politicians realized that backyard garbage combustion was a major contributor to air pollution and banned it.
As for landfills, most of us don’t have enough space in our backyards for personal landfills. Some Texans, however, have big backyards. Last year, Texas regulators approved semi-arid disposal regulations for these people. I call them YIMBY (Yes, In My Backyard!) regs because they allow Texans to bury their garbage on their property under certain circumstances. The YIMBY regs recognize the geographical and demographic conditions in the Lone Star state and place strict limits on how much and where garbage can be buried. At least in Texas YIMBY-ism is alive and well.
Out-of-state disposal is a logical option for private and public sector haulers in these states, especially for haulers who want to use the most environmentally protective facilities and to offer lower cost service to their customers.
“Responsibility” – I’m all for it, as long as protecting public health and cost efficiency are its primary considerations. But if responsibility means drawing irrelevant lines in the sand, that’s just irresponsible.
“Solutions” – only way to battle this problem is by reducing the amount of waste that we produce. Start by composting your food waste or garden waste instead of dumping it. If composting sounds like too much work, send your organic waste to a recycling facility instead of dumping it in landfills.
“Conclusion” – Waste disposal is a cause for concern. Some of the biggest problems associated with waste disposal is producing too much waste, mixing different types of waste and sending waste to landfills.