Monday, December 27, 2010


In his Mars Trilogy, Kim Stanley Robinson wrote about a company named Dumpmines which was bought by "Praxis". This company made money by mining old landfills to recover valuable materials.

Sounds like a great idea.

American Waste will soon be doing something like this. They are building a Material Recovery Facility (Facebook link) which will be able to mechanically separate recyclable materials from the incoming trash stream. What this means is even if you forget to sort your recyclables from your trash then ostensibly some of those missed items will still get sorted.

So if Traverse City is going to move ahead with a single waste hauler (though I am not sure this is something that needs to be done) then this ability alone would make American Waste my preferred choice. But add the option to opt-out and to have curbside yard waste pickup and they become the top choice in my opinion. And I have to admit that by allowing niche operators like Bay Area Recycling for Charities to conitnue to operate my ire about this program has been dramatically reduced.

The three proposals only vary by $7.20 per year; but in terms of the time each person needs to dedicate to thinking about and dealing with trash and recycling then this does not seem to be unreasonable as I believe dealing with American Waste will save me over an hour per year (in other words, I'll trade more than one hour of labor at home for paying an extra $7.20 per year to a waste hauler).

Kelly at RecycleChicken has put together a comparison table of the three proposals. Note that the only advertiser at the RecycleChicken web site is American Waste so this may not be a totally unbiased recommendation on their part but this is a good starting point.

The City has more information on the Single Hauler program at their site.