Thursday, September 1, 2011

The Dump

One of the features of living in a county a hundred miles long and a mile wide is that every government service has to be offered in triplicate, at least. Schools, policing, vehicle registration and not least, dumps are scattered up and down the Keys.

The one closest to my home is on Cudjoe Key and it is typical of them all I have no doubt. These are trash hauling trailers at the entrance.

I use bins at home for single stream recycling so what they do when you go to the office I wouldn't know. It's an intriguing question though.

This is where I bring my motorcycle oil after I've change it. It couldn't be simpler: just put the burnt oil container on the gravel filled box and leave it for staff to deal with. Brilliant!

I was hauling the rubbish from my porch remodel in my little utility trailer.

Stop on the scales.

Then find a spot to back up and unload your rubbish.

The dump is actually very organized as there are places set aside for specific items, for instance appliances and metals go round the building in the rear. There is always an employee on hand to ask.

I emptied the netting and rotten trim and worn out patio furniture and waved it all goodbye in the mirrors. It seemed a pungent place to say farewell.

Trash is hauled to the Pompano landfill one hundred and fifty miles away in the huge more-or-less covered trailers, up Highway One so these places are technically known as transfer stations.

The city's old waste to energy plant was decommissioned in favor of trash hauling and as only six percent of the waste stream is recycled the county's 75,000 permanent residents pay a pretty sum to deal with waste.

My load cost me $9.60 which seemed entirely reasonable at six cents a pound. It was worth it not to dump it in the mangroves as some of my neighbors do. One man's trash is another bird's treasure:

Four miles home and the job was done.

Irony of ironies.

Who dreams up the placement of these signs?

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad


KWBound said...

CS, Your "The Dump" post was very interesting to me, as I am the landfill supervisor in our county in Maryland. I was aware of the transfer stations the Florida Keys uses, operated and managed by Waste Management, as I have noticed those transfer stations with interest many times on my drive down from the mainland to various Keys, usually Key West, but never took the opportunity to stop in to check them out.

I'll be sure to share your expose with our local recycling manager. He'll be very interested in the fact that only 6% of the solid waste in Monroe County is recycled. The single-stream recycling rate for our county in Maryland is 65 to 70%, not to brag or anything. But I am just amazed that a tourist mecca such as the Florida Keys that touts their fragile eco-system and the saving of it, does not put more tax dollars to work to encourage residents and tourists to get on the recycling band wagon. In that fragile environment, I would think recycling should even be mandatory. As a matter of fact, you are such a proponent and good steward of recycling, I think you, CS, would be the perfect citizen to start a recycling movement in the Keys!

At any rate, I just wanted to thank you for your blog post on trash disposal in the Keys. Very enlightening!

Mike said...

KWBound's comments notwithstanding, what struck me most about your post is that you inadvertantly seem to have stumbled onto something that corporate America does better than the government.

Conchscooter said...

The local green movers don't believe in the act up school of making waves so everyone politely ignores the fact that recycling is an afterthought and using solar energy is sooo 21st century and we aren't there yet. A scientific study recently proved after twenty years of denial that human shit in the water is killing the reef. And now the is no money to sewer our homes after two decades of county denial.
Dear Mike, credit where it's due. Waste management operates a county contract that is overseen and regulated by government bureaucrats and does a great job for us. Its how government and private business should work to benefit the people they serve. If waste management were to hire illegals and dump trash in the mangroves to save money I'm hoping the county would regulate their asses to hell just as the Feds should with their corporate donors.

Chuck and the Pheebs said...

The issue with recycling in the Keys is twofold - one, business don't want to, as it purportedly adds cost. Second, when the people from Maryland come down on vacation, they toss out all their good home behavior, as the rules don't apply down here. On occasion when I do say something to an unusually errant tourist, I either get ignored, laughed at, or told "it's okay - I'm on vacation."

There are people in the Keys who do recycle above 60-70%; quite a few actually - but a boatload of wobbly tourists from Owings Mills downing 18-20 Bud Lights a day, dropping them wherever they please tends to overwhelm the statistics. In a town with over a million visitors per year and only 25, 000 full-time residents, our recycling rate is a closer reflection of crass mainland behavior than anything else.

Len said...

When we visit Key West we are as diligent about recycling as we are when we are at home. I suppose it's because we aren't part of the "downing 18-20 Bud Lights" group.

We own a restaurant here and it costs us about $15 dollars a month to have an additional container for recycling so the excuse that it adds costs is BS. Even if a Key West business had to pay more for the service because of the distance to haul the items it still would be negligable in the overall budget.

They could offset the cost of the recycling by paying for a smaller garbage bin since you are charged for trash by the size of your bin and there would be far less trash if they recycled.


Conchscooter said...

I wonder why the people who have made fortunes off key west can't give back to help preserve the environment that gave them so much.
Blaming tourists for key West's problems is like blaming guests for not washing the dishes.

KWBound said...

Wow. I didn't realize that Marylanders are the only offenders of the environment when they visit Key West. I'm sorry you don't particularly like visitors from Maryland, Chuck and Pheebs. I'll call them all and tell them we're not welcome in Key West anymore. Especially if they have a propensity for Bud Light.

Anonymous said...

KW doesn't recycle because of its irresponsible tourist's? That's a thought that could only enter my mind after downing 18-20 Bud Lights a day.

I'm guessing other tourist towns manage to recycle.