Letter to the Editor

Interesting 'heavy trash' issue

Sunday, April 17, 2011

To the Editor:

Brazil is going through its annual "heavy trash" pickup cycle and an interesting issue has developed.

I have always held the misconception that the idea behind paying the city for trash disposal was to promote the health and cleanliness of the city while protecting the overall environment by facilitating the removal of items no longer useful to the citizens in a cost-effective manner.

It would appear that this is no longer the operational concept as there are many types of items the City of Brazil has made no provision for such as tires, lead-acid batteries, hazard materials such as left-over paints, appliances such as washers, dryers and refrigerators and electronic equipment such as televisions sets or computers.

Perhaps this lack of a disposal process that is known to the public and affordable to all is the reason why you can drive around the city and see these types of items sitting on porches or otherwise stored outside of homes if not just abandoned along the street to pollute the environment.

Most places where you purchase a tire or lead-acid battery new or a new appliance either charges a disposal fee and takes care of the old one. However, should you no longer wish to own a like item, you are left with finding a method of disposal which may include an additional cost.

It is little wonder that "junk" is sitting around the city when you call to inquire about the situation and you are told that it is an effect of state law, but no one seems to have any reference to the state law that pertains to the situation.

However, everyone in authority can give you a reference to a private company that recycles these items for a fee, which means that you pay them to take something from you that they should be able to make money from. To have to pay someone to take something you have no need for and, therefore, would part with for nothing to protect the environment and can be recycled and resold for a profit is the major reason why our landfills are full of recyclable materials, our environment is polluted because instead of being recycled, and any major effect to recycle many types of material fail.

Even our schools are faced with this quandary as they generate waste paper by the dumpster-full but cannot recycle it to save trees, except by incurring costs. The individual wishing to dispose of something that contains recyclable materials in a proper manner has no recourse except to deal with the recycler on the terms set by the recycler. The recycler, dealing with individuals, is going to incur some storage costs until it becomes cost-effective to recycle a batch of material.

It is for this reason, at least I thought, that it is better to recycle materials as part of a group or organization such as a local government entity, but local government has not "stepped up" and faced the need.

We need to work on that.

Why, oh, why, take only what can be handled with relative ease or poses little environmental concern instead of developing a process to take care of the real problem?

Leo L. Southworth,