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Garbage in... (211.0) - Mark's Journal
Garbage in... (211.0)
"Since when did they start charging for the bus? Didn't we used to ride that shit to school every morning for free?"

-- Jay

It feels silly to me to pay for trash collection, after years of living in a village where that was just part of what your taxes paid for, then living on a college campus where the trash magically vanished, then living in a fraternity house and then apartments with dumpsters that someone else paid for. But, in this area, there's no municipal trash collection. You pay a monthly fee so a commercial hauler will come pick up your garbage, and you pay for "trash tags" that cover the municipality's costs for the dump.

For a long time after I bought my house, I just kept putting my trash out, with the trash tags that the former owner had left, and then with new ones I bought at the store. The trash company kept picking it up. After a few years, they stopped, and when I called to ask how come they missed me, they explained that I wasn't paying their monthly fee. I said, "So even though I paid for the trash tags, I have to pay again?" Yup. She was very nice, and told me they weren't going to retroactively charge me for the whole time I'd been using their service without paying their fee.

But, I really just don't generate that much garbage, especially since more and more is recyclable, and as the monthly price crept up (it's now $16 and change per month), it really felt like I wasn't getting my money's worth, when most weeks there's nothing for them to pick up. As I explained to them, I felt silly paying them to not pick up garbage. I always wait until the trash can fills up in the garage before putting it out, since I've got to pay for those trash tags for each can-full, too, so putting out a little garbage every Monday makes no sense.

Turns out they have a once-per-month pickup option, which is $10 and change instead, and I've just opted for that. I don't know how strict they are about once a month, but I guess I'll find out.
9 comments or Leave a comment
kitchenqueen From: kitchenqueen Date: August 30th, 2013 12:38 pm (UTC) (Link)
We have to pay our own trash pickup bill. It's $70/quarter, and that doesn't even include yard waste. You have to contract that separately, or go down to Ace Hardware and pick up the yard waste stickers.

With the amount of property taxes I pay, my trash pickup ought to be included.
mhaithaca From: mhaithaca Date: August 30th, 2013 03:21 pm (UTC) (Link)

I guess that's comparable to the costs here of $16 and change plus $3-4 per trash tag, if not cheaper. If I were a family of four, I'm sure I'd generate a couple of garbage cans worth per week.

While I understand your feeling (and zikzak5's frequent refrain) that basic residential needs should be covered by property taxes, I also know how much pressure there is on municipalities to do more and more with less and less money. I'd love for the Town of Ithaca or Tompkins County to pay for trash hauling, but I'd just be paying for it another way. Letting people who need a service pay for it, and people who don't need a service skip it, is pretty reasonable.
vvalkyri From: vvalkyri Date: August 30th, 2013 01:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
Wow. Once a month? I suppose if you compost the nasty stuff... But yeah, that just kinda boggles me. I live in a city.
mhaithaca From: mhaithaca Date: August 30th, 2013 01:48 pm (UTC) (Link)

If I couldn't keep the garbage in a closed container in the garage, that would never work! I could always put out a small bag or two every week. But since I'm paying not just a monthly fee but a per-pickup cost via the trash tags, it's important to me to keep the number of pickups to a minimum.

I could further reduce the load by composting, but at this point that doesn't bring me much benefit unless I want to produce my own fertilizer.
acappellasinger From: acappellasinger Date: August 30th, 2013 05:13 pm (UTC) (Link)
When I bought my house, they offered the once-a-month option to me but it was a specific week of the month (I forget which one, but it may have been the third). I couldn't commit to being able to put trash out that particular week (my collection day is Friday) and couldn't see myself waiting two months between pickups, so I opted for the weekly plan. I typically only put out a single bag on the same schedule as the bi-weekly recycling pick-ups, and sometimes less frequently.

If they've moved off the "specific week" plan to "any one week of the month," I might have to consider switching plans. Being able to pick my week would certainly make it more reasonable for me.
mhaithaca From: mhaithaca Date: August 30th, 2013 05:32 pm (UTC) (Link)

If it's a specific week, he didn't say, and he did say he was putting in a work order for a pickup next week, which is Tuesday instead of Monday because of Labor Day.

Since they're in my neighborhood anyway, I honestly doubt the guys on the truck care.
acappellasinger From: acappellasinger Date: August 30th, 2013 05:40 pm (UTC) (Link)
That sounds like something I should investigate then. Thanks for the tip!
willdevine From: willdevine Date: August 31st, 2013 12:43 pm (UTC) (Link)
If price is really an issue, you could always haul away your own trash: http://recycletompkins.org/Services/Permits--Fees

Basically, you spend $10 for the right to haul your trash to the dump for three years. Then you get punchcards where each bag costs $2.40 to dispose of (cheaper than the $3.50 per trash tag you pay now), or you can fill up your car with trash for $8 per carload. You're just adding the cost of transporting the trash yourself and, of course, convenience.
mhaithaca From: mhaithaca Date: August 31st, 2013 12:49 pm (UTC) (Link)

If I had a pickup truck, I'd feel better about tossing bags of garbage in my car. :-) That's also what keeps me from sneaking my garbage into a dumpster on campus or the like.

But $2.40 per bag isn't a savings if right now I'm paying for one trash tag for a whole can containing multiple bags. It would probably end up evening out with the monthly fee, I suppose.
9 comments or Leave a comment