2013-06-27 / View From the Middle

Telling It Like It Is

I’m Going To Make A Big Stink Of This Environmental Idea!
By Dara Mormile

A nd heeeeeee's at it again! You know who I'm talking about! The man who has a few months left to tell you that what you've been doing for most of your life is about to change! If you guessed that I'm talking about Mayor Mike Bloomberg, you get a medal! Okay, I don't have a medal to give out, so instead I'll enlighten you with my thoughts on his latest “dictator-like” ideas that will cost the city more money and time than necessary.

If you haven't been watching the news, you missed the juicy details of Bloomberg's latest attempt at making New York City “greener” and more energy efficient. His plan would implement a modified recycling program including food scraps. Before you scrap the idea of keeping stinky and rotten food waste in a separate container to be recycled, consider this: much of the food we throw away is dumped into landfills when it could be put towards planting and energy-friendly usage. Woopty-doo!

I don't want to consider this idea at ALL! As a New Yorker who's already mandated to recycle, I honestly can't stand the system we have now of dividing all of our trash. Is it paper or cardboard? Is it glass or is it plastic (or is it what I like to call “glastic”)? Why do I have to wait for bulk garbage collection day to put my broken coffee pot at the curb (and that's made of plastic, so does it get recycled – wait, it's also got electrical components, so maybe not)? It's annoying enough to conform to the system we have now. There are dozens of recycle bins sitting outside of our homes and, to me, they're unsightly enough without adding another bin to the mix. Green, blue, black, some are gray...And forget about multiple family dwellings where there are a handful of each of these garbage pails to accommodate every family!

Maybe it's just me, but when I get home from shopping I dread breaking up boxes and then waiting until they're taken away days later with the trash. While I understand it's environmentally friendly, it's a pain to stack up boxes and bottles in my house and wait until that recycling garbage truck comes so that we can have a clean environment. Even if you keep all of your recycled stuff outside – they sit there for days until the next weekly pick-up. Some of the cans and bottles you recycle have food and drink residue on them and that attracts mice, bugs and other vermin that we don't want near our property.

Now, Bloomy is talking about adding another bin to the recycling debacle – for food. Old, uneaten or half-eaten, smelly, possibly spoiled FOOD. I saw the news report that tried to make the new recycling stipulation seem...not so bad! There would be a large, sealed container with a plastic bag inside which residents would throw their food into. Seriously? If the pick up for this type of recycled goods is only once a week – as most other recycling is – do you really want to have food refuse anywhere near your home? What about food borne illnesses? Some foods, when left unrefrigerated for even a few days, start breaking down and grow moldy in any environment.

Doesn't Bloomberg realize that keeping food laying around can pose a safety and health issue? Does he like the putrid smell of day-old cold cuts, rotten vegetables, fruit, and portions of beef, chicken and other meats that spoil quickly? I really don't care if they claim that the food will be kept in an air-tight closed bin – someone spiteful will come along and make trouble! Someone – or something – will manage to make a mess. What if you've got animals and kids who are wild and knock over this 'foodalicious' recycling bin? There's a nice mess you'll have to tend to!

Ask any Canarsien and they'll tell you that they've had raccoons and squirrels go through their trash for leftover food – having late night parties that result in open pails rolling all over the parameters of homes. We won't want to keep a container of food refuse inside of our homes in order to deter this compostfriendly waste bringing unwanted visitors! The facts look great: the city claims that this program could save about $100 million a year by recycling food and using it as fertilizer or for biogas. This measure would also divert a large percentage of waste generated each year from landfills. Wow – that makes my life so much better!

Then again, the simple act of eating will be a chore. Now you'll have to recycle all of the containers in which your food came, the bottle or can from your drink and whatever leftover scraps you couldn't make room for in your stomach.

Bloomberg has fragmented nearly every aspect of how we treat our trash. They've even allotted special “e-waste” days where you can visit each borough and properly dispose of your electronics (but this is only available one or two days each year and at one location per borough).

New Yorkers will soon be afraid to throw away anything! Is this also a way of fining residents for “violation of proper disposal”? What would the violation be for not recycling food? What about disposing of candy, which I'm not sure is “compostable.” Will we then have to divide our food trash, too? What about wads of gum, popcorn and other unhealthy snacks that are made from ingredients, which don't easily break down?

I wish there was one good and sensible idea Bloomberg wanted to carry out before he leaves office. Until he comes up with one, I won’t be able to digest any of these foolish proposals. I’d say let’s throw tomatos at him - but he’d probably ask us to recycle them instead.

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