Apr 24th, 2010 by Cathy Jo Nelson
Okay so basically I have come to the conclusion that our state basically doesn’t care how much it costs to educate our students, they only care about tax breaks to themselves. Our congress is in the same boat, only caring about supporting legislation that will keep them re-elected, so very unpopular legislation (that may funnel money back into schools) is not supported for the most part. Grrr.
Recently I made an observation about the size of trash bins compared t recycle bins. Most urban and even suburban areas have created a recycling service–one that does collections at your house streetside. All you need is the typically blue roughly 3 gallon sized square container placed out on the street a certain day of the week. In the area where I live, and for the most part my whole state, the garbage bin is a humongous estimated 50 gallon container (on wheels no less) that you roll down to the streetside one day a week. The recycle bins don’t come equipped with wheels. Don’t we have that backwards? Shouldnt the recycle bin’s be the 50 gallon container on wheels, and the trash bin be a smaller size?
An idea is planted!
Most of my readers are from some part of the education world and know the plight that education in most places is facing–that of a huge lack of funding for whatever reason. In my state, I personally blame the congress that passed a little piece of legislation called ACT 388 that changed how our schools are funded. In my state alone 1400 educators have already had their jobs cut, along with countless other support personnel and paraprofessionals who all work together for the sake of educating our students.
Reverse and CHARGE for Education’s Sake!
As I was making the observation about the backwards design of our collection bins, I thought about the size of our landfills, and the large quantity of trash that is collected in my own neighborhood each week. Can I suggest that the bin sizes be REVERSED, and then those who utilize the collection services be charged for any trash OVER the limit (the size of the small container)? The funding generated from fees applied for having too much trash should be directly applied to education. Perhaps collection agencies’ pick up service can be supplied with weight balances, and a fee could be generated by weighing both the recycled and the unrecycled refuse, and when the unrecycled weighs more, you are charged a fee per ounce or pound, and that bill is used to help offset funding losses to the schools!
“Paper or Plastic?”
On the same note as the garbage and recycled collection services, I also thought about grocery stores–actually all stores who pack our purchased products in plastic or paper. I propose that packaging in stores and businesses charge a minimum $2.00 per package for “paper or plastic” packaging. I constantly see the stores offering their own store brand earth friendly bags, but sadly see very few patrons using them. The money generated from selling these packaging options (minus what it costs to stores to provide them) should be funneled directly back into education as well.
Bonus–pay one time for a reusable bag!
This would be a win-win or everybody too. First–for roughly two years, schools would have a source of funds. Second, store patrons would be more likely to purchase re-usable earth-friendly “bring-your-own” bagging and USE them, keeping their own costs down at checkout, helping our environment and reducing the quantity of trash generated per household. Perhaps the Department of Education can “sell” these reusable bags–custom made with school logos. Fund raisers are all the rage in schools ya know?
Cause and Effect–Earth Friendly Neighbors, School Friendly Legislators
Yes some people would definitely become more recycle conscious and earth friendly, but there are many in our society who just don’t care. So it’s a win-win situation. And at least for the immediate present (and perhaps for 2 years or so) our educational system would have a source of funding. Maybe at the end of two years, our teaching force will help get us elected some representatives for congress who are EDUCATION friendly, and then THAT congress will find a way to generate a more stable source of funding for our schools–our future.
Pie in the sky thinking–or is it plausible?
Okay so maybe my thinking is pie in the sky, and I do realize too that it would not permanently offset the funding losses our schools have suffered. But it would help for a while (my estimate is 2 years) and as a bonus, we would become a much more earth friendly society. I’m writing congress about this idea TODAY.