Friday, October 17, 2008

In Howard County, we know you love to recycle and we encourage that devoted relationship by stealing money from you to purchase recycling containers and then airing tacky commercials about it.


macsmom said...

It would be helpful to me if you could suggest how much money was spent and what you think would be a more appropriate use for these funds. This would give me a better idea of what you stand for. I can already tell what you stand against.

Freemarket said...

The recycling bins cost $3 million. The second part of your question is a great one, and what I stand for is the freedom of people to spend their money on whatever they want. I don’t think that it is appropriate at any level for the Howard County Government to use our tax dollars to buy us crap that we could purchase for ourselves at Home Depot or Lowes. They should have left that money in the hands of those taxpayers that it was stolen from.

JessieX said...

Plus, the recycling bins felt -- at least to me -- like a carpet bomb of ugly (and large) blue plastic dropped on our community. I live in an older community where homes were built with the option of 1) garage, 2) carport or 3) rec room. Guess what? Ain't every house be gotting one of them fancy garages.

The current bins have altered the once bland-colored-but-pretty 1970s community I live in. Now, there's big blue plastic things up and down the street (and not just on recycling day); it's an eyesore, to me.

Also, it's overkill. Upon what logic was it assumed that everyone needed or wanted one of these bins? Our blue tub has been working just fine for us. Really.

So, down to the basement said blue bin went. Barely maneuverable down the steps. Clunky. Huge. Taking up space in our basement. Whatever.

Rumor has it we can call the county and have them take it back. But who at the county didn't have their thinking caps on? I think the bins would have been *much better* received had they been offered as an option. Then, people could have developed a curiosity about it.

"What are these new bins you have?" says Neighbor #1.

"Oh, aren't they just magnificent!" says Neighbor #2. "The county offers them for free. Here, the phone number to get one is right on the bin."

"Wow," says Neighbor #1. "What a great idea. I'm so glad to hear our county is pro-active about recycling. Personally, I don't need something that big, but Neighbor #3 does. I think I'll let her know about this. I'm sure she'll be tickled pink."

But, no.

It didn't go over like that.

Now, it's incumbent upon us to make the call, arrange for the bin pick up (removal). And the cost for the county to track, manage and execute this process. Oy.

I know the intention was a good one. But the thinking behind it wasn't complete. Unfortunately, with any kind of "buy in" for a cause / issue / movement / whatever, when people feel at choice and connected to something by their free will, their participation (and advocacy to others) can be huge. Stellar. But when people are put upon (as many feel with the blue bins) the opposite experience is true. And that's a bummer for the county, the vision of increasing recycling and the opportunity for citizens to be more engaged in a wonderful opportunity to recycle more.

Maybe the county folk can start to fix the PR-flub by participating in the blogs and talking with citizens in this forum. Of course it won't work to come in heavy-handed and defensive. Maybe owning the mistake will soften people's defenses. Then maybe the ground will be laid for offering some examples of how successful the bins have been as well. Maybe they'll get some good info and perspective on how best to proceed in going forth in the coming months and years.

I don't know. And it's not my problem to fix.

Actually, I'm on my way out to STEAL in daylight. I like to harvest the tiny little locust tree leaves that have fallen. I use them as mulch in my garden. And they're great to gather up (in front of my neighbors' home) now before the bigger leaves have fallen.

Gotta get movin'! There's work to be done and free resources, God's gifts and lots of (natural) recycling to be done today.

Love to you all!

~ JessieX

Freemarket said...

Great comment, Jessie.

macsmom said...

Actually, I was thrilled to get mine, except that I thought it would be big enough. I tried it for two weeks as per their request, and it really wasn't big enough for the amount that we recycle. So, I called the nice folks, set up a switcheroo, and they came and brought me a big ginormous one and I am thrilled. I do think encouraging and facilitating recycling is for the greater good. It is true that they don't come in decorator colors, but neither do fire hydrants, street signs, and other such community items strewn through the neighborhood...

JessieX said...

We got the ginormous one by default. I tried using it today to harvest fallen leaves, but it was -- unfortunately -- unwieldy. I did see a blue-bin-packed truck going by. Talk on the street was that they were going around picking up the ginormous containers from people who didn't want them.

Freemarket said...

I have not received one yet, but I am slated to get a large one. I am going to try to sell it to someone in another county. I am hoping to get at least $50 for it.

Also, depending on what type of plastic it is made out of, it would make one hell of a wine fermenter!

Allura said...

I know the county wanted us townhouse folks to embrace our bins, but I already *purchased* one a while back and it was too small.

I used this opportunity to have them retrieve the one they gave me an replace it with a rolling cart (sorry taxpayers, but I love to recycle -- I am, after all, a California girl at heart and it's in my blood). They only do replacements on weekends (and they may not have time to get to me this weekend), so the bin is sitting near my front door until they have time. So much for curb appeal. But really, no big deal...

What really disappoints me in this whole ordeal is that they just assumed townhouse residents would want the bins and those with garages would want the rolling carts. It's a waste that they now have to go pick up the carts and bins that people do not want, and replace the containers for the few number of us who would like the other option than they were given.

And what do I do with the bin I had purchased many moons ago? They won't come pick it up, but I have to either recycle it, or if it's in good enough condition (really, who's making that judgment?), I can return it to the dump or to the facility on Col Gateway Drive. Fun times.

In addition, I have to admit that I'm a little paranoid about the bar codes on each bin. Are they going to track what we recycle and how much? (All of those wine bottles are going to give them some interesting data on our household..) Or are they just tracking what bin belongs to what house? Does anyone know?

JessieX said...

Our ginormous bin is scheduled for a return back to the big blue bin storehouse. I'm sure it will make someone else happy. But this little Goldilocks (well, I pay for my golden locks at my age), found it too big for her tastes.