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News-Sentinel.com Your Town. Your Voice.
Opening Arguments

A trashy lesson

West Lafayette is considering a "pay as you throw" trash pickup fee. There are good arguments for such a system -- our newspaper even editorialized in favor of it when Fort Wayne was considering the idea in 1992. We said it would make people think of the real costs of trash disposal and quit forcing those of us who put out little trash to subsidize those who generate too much. But this Purdue junior, writing in the Exponent student newspaper, seems a little too enthusiastic about the plan:

We can sit here all day and talk about the perfect world, where someday a mass of people will voluntarily devote their valuable time to issues like world hunger, human rights and environmental degradation. But the naked truth is that citizens generally won't


Thu, 02/18/2010 - 2:23pm

An interesting side note on the Census Bureau--yesterday we received a letter from the Census Bureau telling us that we would soon be receiving a census form. Duh.

Tim Zank
Thu, 02/18/2010 - 5:15pm

Sue, that's funny. No room to make cuts in government spending though....

Bob G.
Thu, 02/18/2010 - 5:54pm

SO much WASTE...so little time, eh?


Thu, 02/18/2010 - 7:21pm


That is almost as bad as the letter that I received from the Selective Service Bureau when I reached my eighteenth birthday . . . informing me that I was required by law to visit my local Selective Service office in the Post Office to sign up for the draft.

Let's see, they knew my name, my address, my gender, and my age. Ain't bureaucracy grand?

Thu, 02/18/2010 - 9:12pm

It may be unnecessarily complicated, and it might encourage people to dump their trash on other people's property, but I at least get the idea.
After all, people who use more water pay higher water bills.
Still, for the reasons noted above, probably not a practical idea.

Fri, 02/19/2010 - 12:25am

There is a simpler approach to bringing down the cost of trash disposal. First we get rid of the middle man, the City of Fort Wayne . . . and deal directly with the haulers just as county residents do. Second we should eliminate the requirement that haulers sort trash and pick up already sorted trash. Third, we should require that all trash be buried together in a landfill. The haulers will quickly figure out how much they have to charge to make money in this arrangement and "fairness" will not be an issue.

Most of the sorted items have no value. Paper is cheaper to make from virgin poplar and pine trees grown specifically for that industry. Glass is silly because the raw material is sand and there is no chance that we will run out of sand. Plastic . . . the word sends every environmentalist into a panic, because it is "not biodegradable", but it is.

Landfills are considered to be a threat to take over a large part of the earth's surface, but they will not. Technology and regulation have made landfills safe and non-polluting. If and when the trash in landfills becomes in short supply, it will be far cheaper to mine for specific trash when the stuff becomes valuable.

BTW, anyone who wants to sort trash and carry it to a disposal station should be allowed to do so. But aluminum cans should be given to Habitat for Humanity.