Thursday, May 05, 2005

Talking Trash

Every once in a blue moon I come up with a great idea. Here’s one I’ve given quite a bit of thought to and am convinced it will work.

The “federalization” of trash pick up.

Follow me on this. See when I lived in Los Angeles County we paid for a private company to do our trash pick up. It was great. You could put a refrigerator out on the curb and they would haul it away just like your kitchen trash. Recycle was put out on the same day as regular trash and it too would just magically disappear.

Then I moved out here to Maryland to this fancy-schmancy planned community and experienced the agony of a complex set of rules regulating the trash. Mondays are my pick up day. I am allowed two containers of regular household trash. They will not take my trash if I have thrown in things like a car battery or an empty paint can and they certainly won’t let me put an old couch out on the curb. There’s a whole other day for recycle and yard waste and the rules on that are also quite strict.

The recycle has to be separated between metal, paper, glass and plastic. Containers with yard waste cannot weigh more than fifty pounds and they cannot contain lots of dirt. Branches and sticks must be no more than four feet long and must be bundled and tied. Again, no toxins are allowed such as empty Ortho weed killer containers.

I think this unfair discrepancy between how things were done in Los Angeles County and how things are done out here has got to end! Therefore the time has come to federalize all trash pick up in order to alleviate the burden on residents for this complicated mish-mash of local regulation that treats trash differently depending on which coast you’re living on.

My preference would be for the national regulations to be the same as the L.A. County ones, a lot looser with no real limitations. Local communities would not be allowed to pre-empt the federal system regardless of their supposed “reasons” for attempting to do so. The federal government would collect the trash money every year along with the income tax and then distribute the money back down through the states and from the states back down to the local government. Or better yet not distribute the money back down the pipeline at all, just create a whole new Department of Trash that hires the thousands of trash guys needed, sort of like the Transportation Safety Administration screeners at the airport.

And if there ends up being some problems, we could create a national hotline for people to call to report them and somehow or another get resolution.

I am much encouraged that this could work especially after reading about the Baby Bells promoting the idea of a national franchise in hearings on the Hill the other day. A national franchise for the Bell boys in which they agree to pay the federal government the franchise fee and provide the locals with access channels is an idea whose time has come. I mean aren’t you a wee bit curious about what that would look like and how swell that would work? And I am chomping at the bit to get that Needs Assessment contract, with that kind of thing I could just go ahead and retire.

It’s like the trash thing, why should the requirements for L.A. County be any different than the requirements for Howard County Maryland? Of course LA didn’t have to be concerned about the environmental needs of the Chesapeake Bay from land-fill and storm drain run off but Howard County makes way too many demands on the residents.

I can relate to the Bells on this. It’s way too cumbersome to have to take local concerns into account when all you want to do is just be able to put out your trash.

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