I often look askance at green enthusiasts who claim that environmental restrictions help the economy and reduce expenses. I don't mind spending a little more time and money so that we burn less fossil fuels or keep our air, water, and general surroundings clean. But when costs rise by more than 50% and
I have to spend three hours a week (from last year's one) recycling the household garbage I have to wonder whether I'm better off than before. And if everyone is burdened similarly, it's very doubtful whether societal welfare is improved. (I'm assuming that the health and safety of the community are not in danger.)
There's evidence that environmental initiatives turn out to cost not just a little but a lot more
,than the advocates forecast. Jobs lost in traditional energy sectors far outnumber so-called "green jobs" gained
as traditional sectors are taxed and regulated out of existence. This happens so often that I think that the flim-flam artists have found a new home in the green movement. They supposedly have good intentions, so their original
sales jobs are less scrutinized. They are never responsible for the cost over-runs: why they don't meet the numbers is the fault of consumers who are not sorting rubbish in the right cartons or not turning the furnace down at night or not driving the kids around in underpowered tin cans.
The switch to our new garbage-and-recycling company held a lot of promise
. Now that the numbers are in, I'm not so cheerful. Last year Allied Waste billed $19.31 per month. In November Recology gave us a 64-gallon can, which is larger than Allied Waste's 45-gallon container. Recology's January charge was $27.46, a 42% increase, perhaps explainable by the bigger container and weekly (from biweekly) recycling.
|Allied Waste invoice|
|First Recology bill|
Recology has just billed us another $8.10 per month, retroactive to February. Our cost has ended up being nearly double that of a few months ago.
|Recology back billing|
What's more irritating is the time devoted to recycling kitchen scraps, which used to be dumped in the garbage. Now we must put old food, including bones, meat, and food-soiled paper products, with the yard trimmings. But we are forbidden to wrap them in plastic, nor is it acceptable to have them ripening outdoors in the green cart. I initially stored the scraps in paper bags in the refrigerator, but the messiness prompted me to buy moisture-resistant BioBags
that are, of course, friendly to Mother Earth but not my pocketbook.
I wonder if there's a "pig man"
on the Peninsula?