5 Comments

  1. Daft Durden
    October 17, 2018 @ 2:38 am

    The 4.4 lbs/day/person figure is disturbing.

    This topic is an interesting thought. It makes sense that an unlimited service would produce excess waste if there was a low fixed cost. The alternatives to the fixed cost are interesting to ponder as well.

    I have also seen when individual would take a trailer full of garbage to the dump, they are usually charged by the pound, or load, or other methods. I have seen first hand how this effected the decision of what was taken to the landfill. It also determined what got incinerated on site.

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    • Logitarian
      October 17, 2018 @ 2:48 am

      Also, in a market sans government monopoly, the facility to which the individual takes the garbage would have a high incentive to recycle what could be recycled (for example steel can be salvaged and resold), which would be manifested in positive price pressure on the customer to properly separate garbage and limit types which would be particularly hazardous or for any other reason more costly to dispose of). End result: more frugal consumption, less waste, more recycled materials.

      Reply

  2. NumberOneSportsFan
    October 19, 2018 @ 10:49 am

    One fear is that if consumers were charged on a per pound or by piece basis they may be reluctant to pay for collection and instead decide to dump their trash in abandoned or unmonitored areas. When I was younger, vacant land was basically dumping grounds four many members of neighborhood. When regular waste collection started and especially pick up for larger household items, dumping appeared to have decreased dramatically especially in rural areas. This isn’t necessarily an argument for it to be publicly contracted and implemented but I believe a model could be developed to deter people from just dumping their trash anywhere as well as making it an opt in service.

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    • Logitarian
      October 19, 2018 @ 11:04 am

      That is an excellent concern.

      One model to look to for a solution is the concept of private property. Currently, we have a situation like the Tragedy of the Commons, in which areas “owned by no one” are not cared for well. Contrast the amount of litter per acre in a public park to the amount of litter per acre of private land, and the private land will generally be far cleaner. According to Florida law, an individual can dump 25 cubic of garbage on public land and not face any penalty.

      An individual disposing of waste on someone else’s property is in direct violation of property rights, and should be held accountable to the property owner in the same way that any other private property violation or destruction would warrant.

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  3. Autonomaton
    December 31, 2018 @ 9:49 am

    Some places have monetized waste disposal. A few states have “pay as you throw” systems where you must take your garbage to the dump and pay for each bag you leave. Taipei City began a system where garbage had to be put in pre-paid bags and carried out to garbage trucks as they passed (bags cannot be left out per their “no trash touches the ground” policy), and everything is separated by type (recyclables, non-recyclables, raw food for compost, cooked food for livestock feed). Now they are testing out automated stations where garbage is placed in compressors and users are charged by the weight of their refuse. People are paid a small amount for recycling. There are few public trashcans so people are responsible for carrying around their refuse until they get home.
    What stops people from illegal dumping? Taipei charges fines up to $200 for illegal disposal of garbage and when someone is caught, video footage of the crime is posted publicly. Maybe it would take this system of carrots and sticks a few years to instill good waste-management habits, then less oversight would be needed in the future. But once video monitoring is in place, and the government is making money from fines, how likely are they to back off? What are we willing to cede in order to have cleaner streets and a healthier environment?

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