Friday, April 13, 2012

Really Bad at Math

The people running Seattle have the weirdest fantasies.

Like the one where they go from picking up trash weekly to once every 2 weeks:
Switching to every-other-week garbage collection would save the city about $6 million a year, officials say, while reducing neighborhood truck traffic and potentially keeping an additional 1,400 tons of waste a year out of the landfill.

Apparently one plus one somehow equals something less thas two in their universe.

I mean really. Less trash in the landfill? Because you don't pick it up as often?

If so, it will only be because frustrated homeowners - who feel cheated out of their tax money because you no longer provide the very basic service of weekly trash collection - will start dumping it in the lobby of City Hall.


  1. Wouldn't that mean that the trucks will fill up twice as fast when they finally do go out? How many people are going to get screwed because the trucks couldn't make it to them?

  2. there would be some cost savings in driving fewer miles to collect the same amount of trash. Each week, 1/2 the city would get serves, so those miles crossing between the halves would not get driven. Assuming the same number of loads/trips to the dump.

    There may also be the possibility that due to recycling, there is less total bulk in teh trash than there used to be so the trucks are not filling up as fast. Fewer trips may be possible.
    My neighborhood collects trach twice a week. But we only fill our can 1/2 by the time trash day comes. We could easily get by on fewer collections.

  3. Prof - Not arguing about the cost savings. I just have a huge problem with the assertion that people will produce less trash if you pick it up less frequently.

    I create trash as a consequence of my daily activities. Frequency of pickup doesn't affect that. Pick it up once a year, and I'll still create just as much garbage.

  4. Granted. That is what makes trash collection so easy to model. The demand data is well established. I suspect that this argument (we have also heard this applied to saving money at the US Postal Service) is based on finding a more efficient way to accomplish the pickup of a set amount of trash, generated over time, with a small wedge planned for growth in the community. Some communities don't have collection at all. They require residents to drive to the collection points at their own expense. (typically rural areas where burning trash in your front yard is permitted).

  5. yup. We collect our own trash & carry it to the dumpsters on our way shopping. There are fewer than there used to be because contiguous counties started charging for trash collection (pricey, too) and so the poor drove into our county and dumped here.

    The county moved the open dumpster system (only a few hundreds yards away from our driveway) to several centralized, fenced-in locations with an attendant on duty.

    Actually like that better since the places stay neater & Good Will has some containers spotted conveniently in some of them.

    Little to recycle, except for the compost heap. No newspapers, mags, soda cans, beer, etc. We're boring & saves $ we don't have, though: the lack of amenities means our real estate tax for 27 acres is about 550.00/per annum.

    "Recycling" is mostly a scam...if you have to pay ppl to take it away, it's not worth anything to begin with.