I was driving through the suburb I live in last week on rubbish collection day. One thing that for some reason caught my attention more so than usual was the number of different branded rubbish bins on the side of the road. I counted at least 6; not including the council’s recycling bins and the various green-waste company bins; this was just the household-waste wheelie-bins. This means that every week, just in my small suburb, at least 6 rubbish-bin trucks (probably closer to 10), 1 rubbish-bag truck, 3+ garden-waste trucks and every second week the recycling trucks come through.
Here’s why I think this is a problem and it can be summed up in one word: redundancy. If all the rubbish collection was socialised, those 6-10 private rubbish trucks that come through my small suburb could probably be reduced to just one truck. If rubbish collection was all conducted by the local council (and not just the rubbish bags and recycling) the cost would be lower and the environmental impact would be reduced by not having redundant rubbish trucks trekking all over the city increasing congestion and emitting more pollutants and greenhouse gases.
However now that a large portion of rubbish collection has been privatised for profit it is hard to go back to the more logical socialised system, as you would have to either force the companies to sell to the council (which would cost ratepayers), or simply cut the private companies out of the picture, which could be disputed on legal grounds. Whatever the solution is to cut out this unnecessary waste something needs to be done. We have an oil crisis looming in the foreseeable future, and then there’s runaway climate change, which is exasperated by our excessive greenhouse gas emissions. The redundancy in Auckland’s rubbish collection may be a negligible contributor to the global problem but it is indicative of a larger problem in society. We need to find ways to cut back emissions and pollution wherever we can.