Support a Volume-Based Residential Waste Hauling Program in La Grange
A letter to the editor on La Grange's refuse prospects.
The Village of La Grange is considering its options for waste removal, as its current waste hauling contract will expire soon. The making, transporting, and storing of garbage creates long-term environmental problems. Therefore, waste hauling programs should charge increasingly higher fees to those who produce more garbage.
Making the products and packaging we use and discard every day consumes a great deal of energy and creates pollution. Extracting the raw materials for our stuff pollutes our air, land and water.
Drilling for oil is an energy-intensive process that pollutes vital resources. Obtaining natural gas, which is used in the production of some plastics, now commonly involves hydrofracturing, or “fracking,” a process of injecting millions of gallons of water, sand, and chemicals deep into the earth under high pressure. Growing cotton requires water and fuel and often involves large amounts of pesticides which harm land and water. Obtaining the raw materials for all of our products requires energy and has negative impacts to the environment. We should seek policies which discourage the wasting of these resources.
Transporting our stuff consumes fuel and creates pollution. When we throw products away, haulers use fuel to transport our garbage 90 miles away to our landfill. The more garbage we create in La Grange, the more 90-mile trips our hauler makes to the landfill. When we buy products that are non-essential, disposable, or overly packaged and send them to the landfill, we waste fuel and create excess air pollution.
Keeping our stuff in landfills also threatens our environment. Although they have improved over time, landfill liners don’t last forever. As they deteriorate, toxic substances seep into soil and water. When we buy an item and throw it away, we contribute to the pollution created during the production, transport, and degradation of that product. Wasting resources on products that end up in the garbage is not healthy and does not make financial sense.
Because of the costs associated with making garbage, the Village of La Grange should continue to use a volume-based program. The Village should charge more to those who create more garbage and less to those who make less garbage. The Village should eliminate flat fees, even on Spring Clean Up Day, so that residents can put out unwanted items, but not get a free pass if they produce a large amount of garbage. Each of us is responsible for making wise purchase decisions and for finding disposal alternatives. Ultimately, less overall garbage will result in less 90-mile trips to the landfill, less pollution, and less long-term environmental problems. A volume-based residential waste hauling program is a fair option which will reduce the production, transportation, and storage of garbage.
For more information on volume-based waste hauling programs, see the following:
Rose Naseef is a La Grange resident and a member of Go Green La Grange, a volunteer group focused on environmentally friendly and sustainable living.