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It's very common in the bay area to put biodegradable compost (paper towels, food waste, pumpkins, etc.) into the third green bin, along with the yard waste. The other two bins are for recycling and other garbage. It's not very difficult to segregate compostables, and I'm confident the rest of the US will catch up soon.



The UK came up with an even more ridiculous system. Many regions were nicely moving to a system with separated organic waste - kitchen scraps, garden waste and so on, which were composted. Tory party austerity meant many regions have subsequently scrapped, or charge homeowners for the organic waste collection.

Overall result is many homeowners now have a plastic wheelie bin they never use any more, and organic waste goes in the landfill bin. Putting us in a worse place than before we started.

Tory party is busy promoting how environmental they are in their electioneering ...


And a lot of the UK landfill is shipped to Norway (OSLO/Klemetsrud) because we don’t have enough waste to burn. The heat is used to generate electricity and heat most buildings in Oslo, both industry and homes.

(This was new to me until I talked with one of the managers at the plant one year ago)


Yes, same in Portland, OR. In our case we're incentivized by having compost and recycling pick ups weekly, but garbage only every other week. So people who choose not to sort suffer...

We have something similar here -- everyone gets a giant recycling and compost bin, but you pay for the trash bin, and bigger costs more. The problem is that it just leads people to put non recyclable things in the recycling bin. You wind up with a bunch contaminated mixed waste that just gets sent to the landfill anyhow because China won't take this low quality mixed stream anymore.

When you read the rules for what you're allowed to put in that recycling bin, its a tiny fraction of your actual waste. That, combined with the fact that not everyone putting waste from your house into those bins is going to read the rules, is why it all gets contaminated. I keep feeling, more and more, that the whole notion that we can actually reduce "trash" by adding more and more narrowly-defined recycling/composting categories is nothing but a load of BS.

This is what my neighbors in the Bay Area do. They just don’t care. A better solution would be to reduce waste by banning single use plastic, taxing non-organic packaging (more-so than now), and taxing consumer goods on some combination of weight, volume, non-organic content, and toxic content. None of this is particularly popular, especially in certain communities.

Getting rid of single-use plastic would help. However, the "War on Plastic Straws" pisses me off to no end. (Especially since its often done along-side a plethora of needlessly single-use plastic to the point that its just a PR gesture.)

Getting rid of non-organic packaging would help even more. Dealing with packaging materials is one of my biggest frustrations when trying to get rid of boxes. However, this is very much a "long tail" sort of problem.


That's a genius approach, and one that I think would be pretty reasonable to most folks. Fairly often I don't put out the gray trash bin because it's not even half full, and I'm pretty sure I'm not alone.

Oh, and I was there when they made that switch, and you wouldn't believe the complaints people had. Endless litanies about how awful it was that trash was only going out once every two weeks. In time, of course, everyone adapted. But it was pretty amazing at the time, for such a relatively painless change in behavior. You'd think they were being asked to cut off a limb and put it out every week.

It also serves as an incentive, if you have a small yard or even some potted plants, that the city will deliver compost every month for resident to collect.



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