Attempting to Live a Sustainable Lifestyle in St. Louis

Environmentally friendly decisions are tough

St Louis garbage collection problem December 23, 2009

Filed under: St Louis — budint @ 9:39 pm
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Managing a densely populated urban environment requires that city governments approach challenges with creative solutions.   Doing so can save the city money and increase the quality of life for its residents.  Consider the curb-side recycling program, the 27 drop-off recycling locations and operation brightside; all good programs that help make this a better place to live.

One of St Louis’ recent challenges however is that twice a week garbage pick-up has become too costly and thus they’re trying once a week service.  The motivation makes sense: save money by reducing fuel costs, truck use and city employee hours.  This approach however doesn’t make sense and has resulted in health and quality of life issues. (see picture)

Alternatives could be:

1) An education and awareness program that gets citizens to think about their trash differently. For example, the above picture shows a lot of boxes and other bulky items that could be broken down or recycled.

2) A study could be done to see what alleys or neighborhoods produce the most trash and specifically target those.

3) Maybe specific dumpsters could be upgraded to larger ones and that would take the load off.

In any case, the refuse department should be thinking more creatively than just cutting pick-ups in half.  Lest the cuts lead to increased litter and decreased community pride, which then takes neighborhoods into downwards spirals when no one cares anymore.

I’m sure the folks at Good Magazine have seen some new unique approaches that cities have used.  Just need the people running our city services to look outside the box.