I was quoted last Saturday in the Citizen as saying at the Key West Sustainability Advisory Board meeting that “we’re much better off now had we just extended a contract with Waste Management.” I was referring to the competitive bid process, which gave us best pricing from both companies versus just extending the old contract. Many believed I was saying I am ok with the new contract.
Let me be clear. I am not ok with the new contract. I do not endorse the vote returning us to twice weekly trash collection (2-1-1). This was a terrible decision made by four commissioners who ignored their own solid waste master plan, which is supposed to take us forward to a Pay-As-You-Throw system. This contract takes us backwards.
This vote was against the advice of our solid waste expert, Kessler, Inc., City staff, the Sustainability Advisory Board, and that of virtually every other global expert in the field of resource recovery and sustainability.
Pay-As-You-Throw is industry best-practice. It is best for our environment and our pocket books. Pay-As-You-Throw charges more to those that waste and rewards those that conserve. The waste haulers resist it because they make less.
My wife and I put out trash every second or third week. Almost everything goes to recycle or compost. Instead of rewarding our efforts, our rates will increase to subsidize those with no interest, or incentive to reduce waste.
Going to once a week trash pick-up (1-1-1) in our master plan was only a step in the right direction. It was a step towards “best-practices.” Our near sea level city quickly went from 7% to 21% recycling with 1-1-1. San Francisco recycles 80% with Pay-as-You-Throw.
The new 2-1-1 contract will drag us backwards simply to appease a handful of people who do not know how to dispose of their fish, but mostly to give the contract to a favored bidder.
2-1-1 will reduce our recycling, reduce composting of our yard waste, increase truck traffic on our streets, add more carbon to the atmosphere and significantly increase rate payer costs.
I urge everyone to contact the mayor and commissioners. Request that they find a way to correct this wrong-headed retrograde decision and get us back to a 1-1-1 once-a-week trash pick-up.
Ross Williams, Key West