Should Trash Collection Be Free?

A friend of mine owns and runs her own business. She is a very eco-conscious person, eats whole organic foods, and is raising four greenies of her own. However, when I asked her if her business regularly recycles - assuming the answer would be an astounding yes - I was shocked when she said no.

"Businesses have to pay to recycle."

"Then why don't you pay to recycle?" I asked perplexed, wondering if I had missed the punchline to her joke.

"Because it's expensive," she answered point blank. "Besides, trash collection is free."


Of course, this conversation took place a few years ago and since then my dear Earth loving friend pays for recycling to be picked up. Only problem is, they still don't make it easy for her...sometimes they don't even recycle what they promised, putting the stuff in the dump anyway!

That brief conversation got me thinking though: why on Earth would a going green government charge businesses to do so themselves, yet allow them to continue to trash our environment for free? And if the gov't is actually interested in helping change the course of destroying our earth for a greener future, when are we going to see this change?

If you think about the mass amount of trash that businesses create - paper, plastic, cardboard, office equipment - and multiply that by how many businesses there are...I think our green movement is lacking tremendously when we seem to be focusing more on what the individual can do at home. There should be a bigger focus on the huge trash producers. And maybe the first step at bringing them into this green game is by charging for the very thing that they get for free: trash collection.

Shouldn't recycling be a free service? Isn't someone out there - companies that create new materials out of recycled stuff - benefiting from our green actions?

On the flip side, dumping countless items into a landfill is costing us more and more: more land, more resources, our health and the health of the planet...

So the question is, when are we going to see the shift? Is this shift something that will never happen? Am I dreaming here thinking that recycling be the free service?

Is this just something that happens here on the east coast where I live? Is trash collection whre you live the charged service, and recycling free?

Should recycling be free?

What do you think?


  1. Garbage pick up costs money here, $1.25 per bag and recycling is free...while I make an effort to cut down on recycling by using alternative and reusable packaging it's thrilling for me to have such a wonderful service and our recycling truck takes so many different's awesome!

    I usually have one small bag of garbage per week, 2 to 4 bins of recycling ever two weeks(it's even more environmentally sensible to only pick up recycling ever other week) and then my recently purchased composter helps me as well.

    I'm very proud of my one little bag of garbage.


  2. Oh, me too! I think the most 'trash free' people can be, the better. Maybe if people had more ideas of HOW to be more trash free, they would be!...hmm....

    I am also interested in this "UPcycling" thing and am looking into it, since most things cannot be recycled, but people still use juice boxes! There are companies out there that make new items out of that sort of thing...called upcycling ;)

  3. Trash pickup here is free, as is recycling. In fact, they even provide you with the recycling bin. Oddly enough, they've also begun testing out a composting program, where they provide residents with free composting bins.

    However, it's entirely different in the suburbs in which my parents live. They don't charge for trash pickup, but they do charge (outrageous amounts) for recycling.

  4. I know! the suburbs host way too many people to be sluffed aside...we have one particular area that rose in development - TONS of new houses - and instead of ALLOWING recycling, they are instead wanting to make a new landfill...ANOTHER landfill!!! Outragous.