A Dull Post About Plantation Garbage

The most e-mailed story on the Sun-Sentinel site right now is a bit surprising: It's about a rate increase on garbage pick-up in Plantation. I'm not sure how valuable these rankings are, but I think it's safe to say that the most viewed articles are the one with the widest interest while the most e-mailed are those with the most intense interest. Basically, the most e-mailed stories of the day are the ones that have enough impact on readers that they're sharing them with friends or other people they think might be affected.

I'm starting to sound like Earl Maucker. Anyway, living in Plantation, it shouldn't be surprising to me that the garbage situation in the city has created so much buzz, even if it only affects a small portion of the Sentinel's readership area. For the uninitiated, Plantation has a weird trash system that employs "blue bags" that you buy from Publix. All your garbage has to go in these bags, which cost $2.29 apiece.

And it is something of a

pain in the ass. You really have to cram these bags full to get your money's worth. I'm very good at this. I'll waste forty bucks at a bar without thinking of it, but just to save a couple bucks, I'll stuff a blue bag so full that it has the weight of a small bear's corpse by the time I'm done with it. It's the principle of the thing. It's a challenge.

It can reek. Maggots have been involved. But I grew to like the blue bag system. It encourages you to compact your own garbage. And it encourages you to recycle. How? Well, you put all your recycling in special Plantation clear bags that you also purchase from the store. They hardly cost anything. So everything that's recyclable you make damn sure goes into them.

Yes, this system may be dirty and cumbersome, but it's also for the frugal and hard-working, made in the mold of the man who championed it, the late mayor Frank Veltri. If it's true that it costs $26 a month if Waste Managment provide a container, then I save well over $100 a year (yeah, I'm that good). But now Commissioner Bob Levy and company have decided to tack on a $7.25 monthly charge on top of the blue bags (while lowering the cost of each bag 50 cents or so).

Why? Because the Waste Management lobbyist, Bill Laystrom, is complaining that people are taking their garbage to work with them. This does happen. One of my former next door neighbors was so cheap (and short on money) that he used to keep his garbage piled in the backyard and then take it away, God knows where, every couple of months. It was disgusting in a ferocious way; when the wind was blowing in your direction, you'd get a nose full of some serious funk.

But Waste Management crying poverty rings hollow. They're making money. They just want to make more money.

Okay, now's the time after prattling on for too long about garbage where I'm supposed to say give my useless opinion about what should be done. Well, first I think the new charge is a step toward abolishing the blue bag system and going to the traditional Herbie rolling container plan. Fine by me. The additional monthly charge has already taken away any tiny bit of will I might have had to try to save the blue bag way of life. Which I think is just the way WM planned it.

Well played, garbage moguls. Well played.

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Journalist Bob Norman has been raking the muck of South Florida for the past 25 years. His work has led to criminal cases against corrupt politicians, the ouster of bad judges from the bench, and has garnered dozens of state, regional, and national awards.
Contact: Bob Norman