Saint Louis county and the cities it encompasses is going through a tough time with trash. Despite residents’ concerns that almost 59 city garbage trucks are out of service, representing 75 percent of the total fleet, tax hikes have been maintained. The council has confirmed plans to raise waste management taxes by 1c on the dollar, bringing the yearly spend up to $100.
It’s clear the county authority needs more resources, but solving a problem isn’t always a case of throwing money at it. Across the towns of the county, there are innovators and entrepreneurs showing there’s a better way to manage waste. The added upside is that these measures will be better for our living environment.
Tackling food waste
According to the USDA, up to 40% of America’s food usage is waste, corresponding to a loss of almost $161bn a year. The situation is no different in St Louis, yet individual citizens are finding ways to reduce food waste and therefore the load on county authorities. Citizens are creating private storage, some rent a dumpster long-term and compost on this basis. This has been taken to a greater level by city innovators; composters are taking 200 tons of waste a week just outside of the city, including waste from the zoo and Missouri Botanical Garden. Similar startups, like Perennial City Composting, are hoping to support urban agriculture by offering compost pickups to Brentwood and Richmond Heights.
The other benefit of composting concerns the planet. Putting less food waste in the ground reduces emissions that are created without any discernible benefit, and saves valuable ground. Food composted at home or on a commercial, specially oriented basis, can go straight back from ground to food.
Making the most of recycling
Recycling is a noble and virtuous task and St Louis has always been good for it, providing blue bin collections and also in-city recycling. However, it remains that 43% of recycled goods are wasted. This is another area where private citizens can help to improve the waste situation in St Louis county, reducing future costs and doing their bit for waste management. MRC on Manchester Road are one example, providing EPA certified electronics recycling that guarantees your separated goods are made the most of and don’t find their way into an incinerator or landfill.
Much waste is produced from recyclable or biodegradable substances. Through startup and citywide schemes, St Louis suburbs are finding ways to enhance their waste management processes. Moving forward, relying on these schemes could help to reduce reliance on city waste management.