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Robert Bee: Trash vs. water

A few months ago Waste Management began a campaign to convince its customers to wash and dry all glass and plastic recyclables before placing them at the curb for pickup. Those who did not comply with Waste Management’s new rules were told they would receive written notice to get into compliance (or else?).

One morning I noticed that the usual single-driver truck picking up recyclables contained both a driver and a passenger. As the truck stopped at each of my neighbor’s houses across the street (and mine as well), the passenger jumped out, opened the recycle bin, inspected its contents, and carried on a conversation with the driver who made written notes of some kind.

I do not know for sure exactly what I was observing, but my guess is that Waste Management was searching for customers who were not following their new rules.



At the time, I remember wondering what the city of Grass Valley and Nevada Irrigation District thought about Waste Management’s requiring customers to use their precious water resources to clean recyclables before pickup.

Fast forward to The Union’s June 24 front page article, “Cities impose water restrictions.” In this surprising news story, Mr. Roller wrote: “A mandatory reduction of water use went into effect Wednesday in Grass Valley that includes city personnel as well as residents … Grass Valley’s reduction actually increases the water reduction use from 10% to 20% since the previous restriction, said City Manager Tim Kiser.”




The article went on to report that “Kiser reminded council members that Grass Valley receives half of its water from the city itself and the other half from the Nevada Irrigation District. NID will soon recommend a 20% reduction and advise homeowners to restrict watering lawns and plants to just a few days per week….”

I usually read The Union newspaper daily, and Mr. Roller’s story was the absolute first I had read or heard anything about a “previous (10%) restriction” on water use. Now it is a 20% reduction, and NID, my water supplier, has yet to notify me about the original 10% cut.

So, my questions for the Grass Valley City Council and Nevada Irrigation District: How can we possibly reduce our water use by 20% when Waste Management has imposed its unreasonable and wasteful “wash and dry” rules for recyclables? What are our priorities in this typical tug-of-war to impose more and more restrictions on city and county residents and businesses? What does “just a few days per week” actually mean?

As water is our very life blood, it would be nice if those we are told to trust to take actions in our best interest actually view the issues in their entirety and consider all the aspects of water usage before imposing vague, poorly thought out, and conflicting reductions.

Robert Bee

Grass Valley


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