Worcester’s Recycling Dilemma

So the Worcester City Council took up the issue of the City Manager’s new recycling plan at Tuesday night’s meeting.  Much to the chagrin to all this was not the slam dunk that it was once thought to be.

The council postponed the vote until August after Councilor Khrys King threatened to hold the item if was not voted on as proposed coming out of committee, which was not to include the mandate of the clear plastic bag.  He saw it as an increase of fees on the backs of the residents and it would most likely not solve the problem.

One thing I did notice however is how some councilors started to look at it a different way once the public started weighing on the topic.  

“People are telling us that plastic is no good for the environment and that we may be going backwards if we go to the clear plastic bags,” Councilor Gary Rosen said, as reported in Telegram. “We should listen to the people. Plastic bags are bad; it’s hard to argue with that.”

Councilor Mo Bergman also said that the program needed tweaking.  Bergman took to Facebook earlier in the day asking residents their thoughts on it as well.

All due respect to Councilor Rosen, it’s not just that “Plastic bags are bad”, it’s about the optics of the whole thing.

As a resident of Worcester, that recycles religiously with no issues other than my pick up man forgetting me on occasion (we hugged it out and we are cool now).  Why am I being punished for doing things on my own? Why do I need to change my habits? Why do I need to pay more to change those habits?

I’m not blind to the fact that there is littering going on in the city and quite possibly the open lid containers are to blame, I’m not arguing that.  I think the bins have always been to small and you cannot fit everything into them. Causing people to jam in as much stuff as they can and not securely latching them down.  That’s a problem, it’s not THE problem.

Many residents have taken it upon themselves to buy their own recycling containers and according to my buddy from the recycling company all the drivers want is the bar on it so they can lift it with the truck attachment.  

I went out and bought one for my house and I have not asked for a refund or rebate from the city.  I live on a Private Street and I already get hosed on services but I am not going to try to stick it to the man by asking for a refund.  Not the hill I want to die on.

The proposed plan lacks one key component that I think would garner public support, and that is choice.

Why must we HAVE to buy clear plastic bags if the bins are working for us?  

Why MUST we only get three clear bags with each purchase of yellow trash bags?  If we run out of clear bags and still have trash bags left, guess who is not recycling that week?  This guy.

I have no issue with the clear plastic bag, I really don’t.  I have an issue with the word “mandate”. This is another example of punishing the masses because of the few.

Just my 3 cents.

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