Elk Grove garbage discount impedes recycling; the little bin pays for the big one.

By Michael Monasky | 

The city of Elk Grove proposed an annual rate increase of just over 1.5 percent for waste pick up. The announcement was justified with an argument that residents should be cutting down on food waste since the state will officially require food be separate from other waste products by next year.

Current collection methods include 32, 64, and 96-gallon containers. The city’s proposed rate increases are applied almost equally for all three sizes. The final cost: a single small waste container will cost 79 cents per gallon; a medium container, 45 cents; and a large bin will only cost 38 cents per gallon.

That means frugal, conservative consumers will pay 108 per cent higher rates than a consumer using a large container. Those who recycle and use a small bin will still be paying 76 per cent more than those using a medium sized container. Since the garbage vendor, Allied-Republic, is primarily a trucking company, it stands to reason that their costs are directly related to the volume of garbage they have to transport. Further, it appears that those who use small bins subsidize the trash transport costs of those who use medium and large ones.

There doesn’t appear to be much incentive to decrease food waste or other sources of trash for that matter. In fact consumers are encouraged by this disparate rate schedule to throw away more trash than ever. Why would anyone consider canceling their large 96 gallon container for a small 32 gallon bin, a mere one-third the size, that costs more than twice per gallon measure?

One answer is that these trucking schemes like Allied-Republic along with public landfills like Kiefer really don’t know just what to do with all our crap. It was just last year that the state outlawed burning green waste which Elk Grove had sold to two facilities, one in Ione, and the other across the street from Thunder Valley Casino. Meanwhile, plastics shipments have been rejected by Asia unwilling to be dumpster to the developed world. The madness of distance online shopping has normalized delivery of single-serve potato chips in cubic foot boxes.

Take a look inside any garbage can: the US-EPA reported trash composition in 2018 to include lots of packaging and discarded food. 

As the US first world empire of bailed-out Wall Street has sucked the air out of the room, Main Street has hit rock bottom...it’s as if the rag-pickers of the Great Depression are standing by to recycle, ready to join gig-workers in a society of the new precariat. Perhaps to compose disposable cardboard public art projects? 

Meanwhile, the little bin pays for the big one.

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