on Feb 14th, 2006
I don’t mind reasonable taxes, and I don’t mind taxes that influence responsible behavior. Taxes on cigarettes are good, a gas tax is good, and a waste tax is good. In Christchurch, the recycling is free and comprehensive as it should be, but an added incentive is the mandatory use of special Christchurch City Council garbage bags for general waste. The bags are available everywhere but are clearly marked as official and do cost much more than you’d normally pay for a few mils of plastic. I received an allotment from the landlord (by law), but beyond those I have to pay. These are not big bags and quickly fill up, but it hasn’t been a problem with the liberal recycling program. Whereas I used to fill a large Rubbermaid container weekly in Peoria, I now generate about 1/4 of that amount in trash, and the rest is recycled. The reason isn’t necessarily because of the cost of garbage bags, but nonetheless I think the structure of this program is set up just right. Contrast it with Peoria where I can generate as much trash as I want but have to pay a special fee if I want to participate in recycling! I did pay that fee, but I was in the minority. On trash day in Peoria you’d see the occasional green bin out by the curb, whereas here every house has plenty out for recycling. I think it’s just plain better.