Is trash worth it?
An open letter to Halifax city council, regarding an ecology audit of HRM’s garbage disposal system: My understanding is that HRM spends $340 million per year on garbage collection and disposal—the single largest item in the city budget. When you add in the time and money spent by citizens following the (dauntingly complex) rules at their end, you have a cost that must approach half a billion dollars annually. Is it worth it? What else could we do with that money? My opinion—and that’s what it is, an opinion— is that it is not worth it, even from the standpoint of purely ecological values. Human beings are facing an existential crisis that comes from global warming: There is no higher ecological priority than dealing aggressively with this problem. Keeping carbon emissions down, removing carbon from the atmosphere and storm-proofing our public infrastructure are all priorities that I rank well above the current objectives of HRM garbage disposal policy. Here I suggest revisions. The goal should be to dispose of garbage in a convenient and effective way for all citizens, to encourage voluntary recycling, while cutting costs to, say, half the cost of the current program. The savings would then be devoted to higher-priority ecological objectives. Is this possible? I don’t know: That’s why we need an ecology audit of HRM Garbage disposal policy.
Tom Vinci, Halifax