Opinion Piece by Samuel Strait – January 31, 2017 – In yet another effort by DNSWMA’s Director, Tedd Ward to prop up the failing efforts to recycle in Del Norte County, the Triplicate, January 24, 2017 has published yet another plea by Mr. Ward titled “Recology, Solid Waste trying to keep garbage out of recycling”. Yes like that is ever going to happen. The often repeated verbiage by Mr. Ward goes on to repeat the telling of the closure of Julindra, for much the same reason, contamination of collected recyclables making the processing and transportation of those materials no longer cost effective. Rather than begin the process of addressing what was clearly a problem some time ago, under the direction of Mr. Ward and a tag along Waste Commission, Mr. Ward and his staff doubled down on recycling by importing yet more recycling programs which will similarly not benefit those that depend on curb side collection.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to understand that people who have done things a certain way with a rather unpleasant task over a period of time and are not very happy about it, will not change their habits over night if ever. While the contamination problem may be alleviated somewhat, it still is being reported as the number one problem when dealing with collection. You may be astonished when you read the part where Humbolt Waste Management has simply returned recyclables collected in Del Norte County to the landfill and charged the DNSWMA the appropriate costs. Well, be surprised no more as this is a relatively common practice with recycling where contamination or simply lack of a buyer causes this to happen fairly regularly. Unfortunately for us in a politically powerless County where State regulation condones this kind of waste all in the name of that powerful god, the environment. For our recyclables here in this County it doesn’t seem to make much of a difference to either DNSWMA or the State, that the “environment” has become a casualty of bad State regulation and a dysfunctional Solid Waste staff and Commission.
What is truly preposterous in the text of the plea, is his effort at social engineering by “educating” us on the “correct” way to recycle and how there is a growing list of items that no longer continue to be “Okay” to recycle. He completes his “education” of all the “deplorables” in the County by telling us how to eat in a restaurant, how to shop, and finally good eating habits and practices at home which include items we should pick to eat.
Since the DNSWMA is clearly not the answer to our problems and will clearly make waste collection at the curb a far more expensive proposition what is the point in continuing the charade. Well past time for the Solid Waste Authority to go. Many smaller county’s, yet larger than Del Norte, handle their waste disposal, land fill closure obligations, recycling requirements, and transfer station through the County’s staff with very little difficulty. Because our County staff would be under obligation to minimize costs for trash collections, execute more sensible contracting of services, and fold in the remaining waste authority’s duties without succumbing to a $1.5 million cost to the rate payers for an authority that has long ago out lived its usefulness.
Yes, I am aware of the fact that a study was done purporting that the Waste Authority was comparable to a County operation, but remember that the study was conducted by an out of town company which did not address any of the problems that the DNSWMA is currently facing, nor many of the underlying problems that existed at the time. Nor were recommendations for a reduced administrative staff followed up. In fact the administrative staff was increased with the hiring of a project manager who has not made a bit of difference in solving the current problems, merely adding to them…
Once again, I am calling out both the Board of Supervisors and the City Council to end the Del Norte Solid Waste Management Authority before it completely leaves the tracks and sinks those residents who no longer have the ability to absorb any further increase in cost for just simply the ability to live here.