Sunday, July 10, 2016
Clean Streets, California Style
During a recent trip to California, it was a relief to be able to walk along clean streets. One day a week, three different-colored rollcarts appear in front of each house. The smallest one holds trash, another holds recyclables, and another holds yardwaste and food scraps. By the end of the day, they're all emptied and retrieved by the residents, leaving the streets clean for the rest of the week.
In New Jersey, things are done a little differently. This pile of yardwaste in my neighborhood was on the street for three months. Each time the crews came by to scoop it up, there was a car parked there.
It was eventually hauled away, but by then it had already turned into compost.
Though the fall loose leaf pickup is viewed by many to be necessary, rollcarts could handle the quantities of yardwaste and leaves generated the rest of the year, greatly reducing the ten month long mess in the streets.
As pointed out in previous posts, the preferred behavior, backyard composting, is invisible, while dumping leaves in the street is highly visible, and therefore copied by neighbors. As any parent knows, no amount of education can counteract the power of example. A rollcart for yardwaste provides a much-needed visible, imitatable alternative to loose dumping.
In the meantime, we'll always have California (and North Carolina, and Michigan, and ...)
Posted by Steve Hiltner