August 30, 2021
Now that the “Defund the Police” advocates have had their say…
(With evident effect in Minneapolis, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Baltimore, the District of Columbia, New York City, Los Angeles, and elsewhere…)
… It’s time to broaden our horizons and start thinking about reforming additional municipal agencies.
Getting Our Hands Unspeakably Dirty
The Department of Sanitation is obviously discriminatory. There’s much more trash on the streets in poor neighborhoods than there is in neighborhoods where the affluent live.
There is also clear discrimination in who the Department of Sanitation hires… Garbage pickup day is a trigger warning for me. It is hurtful to see very few people like myself – in their 70s and wearing coats and ties – emptying garbage cans into sanitation trucks. True, I can’t lift a garbage can. But many other municipal agencies hire people who can’t do their jobs. Why should the Department of Sanitation be different?
Next, the Department of Sanitation causes pollution of the atmosphere – you can smell it!
It harms the Earth’s ecology by dumping dirty garbage into the ground. “Landfills” are nothing but land filled with dirty waste… And studies show that the Earth is losing dirt at a rapid rate due to rising sea levels from climate change… causing dirty oceans.
Giant corporations produce most of America’s consumer waste. Trash should be deposited in investment banks such as Goldman Sachs, not landfills.
Claims that the Department of Sanitation “recycles” garbage have no validity because so-called “recycling” means that garbage is simply being returned to us in the form of recycled plastic, cardboard, and other materials that have to be thrown away again… causing more garbage than ever.
One Man’s Garbage is Well, Ours
There’s a lot of private, personal information in our trash – credit-card receipts, bank statements, medical records, etc. How do we know this information is secure? Can private, personal information be entrusted to a large government institution such as the Department of Sanitation? A citizen review board should be provided for each garbage can.
Why aren’t garbage trucks, with their large expanse of rooftops, solar-powered? (Or, considering the speed at which they rumble by my house if I don’t have my garbage at the curb by 9:00 a.m., perhaps wind power could be utilized.)
Multiple individual garbage trucks cause traffic congestion, loud noise, and increased carbon emissions. Mass transit – like trolleys, light rail, subways, and municipal buses – would be a more efficient means of moving garbage.
Funding for the Department of Sanitation could be reallocated to community programs such as “sanitation counseling” where teams of trained trash experts promote and support households with the goal of reducing waste output through “smart garbage.”
One positive idea, especially for people living in apartment buildings, is to use a spare closet or kitchen cabinet to create an indoor compost heap.
To reduce the volume of household-disposed trash, plastic containers can be melted in the oven using baking pans or muffin tins to minimize the plastic’s bulk. Paper and cardboard can be soaked in water, then rolled into small wads, and left to dry in the dish drainer.
Another useful suggestion, for those who do not have a garbage disposal unit, is to chew leftovers twice before scraping plates into the sink.
Other funding could be used to support a civic-sponsored boycott of all packaged foods.
Consumers would be urged – with posters, billboards, radio and TV ads, and Internet notifications – to shop only at stores that sell groceries without cardboard boxes, plastic wrappings, cans, bottles, or cartons. Shoppers can carry home their purchases of loose breakfast cereal, individual bread slices, orange juice, milk, and ground meat in municipally issued reusable tote bags with moisture-resistant interior partitions.
Defunding the Department of Sanitation will improve trash equity, increase garbage diversity, and make the Earth more rubbish-friendly. Our slogan is “Waste Away!“
Love us? Hate us? Let us know how we’re doing at [email protected].