by Julie Tisdale
City & County Policy Analyst
Last week, I got an email from a colleague that read, “Yeesh. This requires government money?” and a link to the page on Wake County’s website about Commercial Waste Reduction Grants.
I think my colleague’s reaction was spot on.
“Commercial waste reduction” is exactly what it sounds like – throwing less stuff away. Or recycling it. Remember the old “Reduce, Reuse, Recycle” mantra? It’s that. And Wake County is giving grants of $500-$10,000 for programs with that aim.
This is crazy.
First, there are whole non-profit organizations that exist entirely to accomplish this goal. Clearly people care about this issue and are willing to do this work without government money.
Second, the grants can be used for “education,” but we’re already doing massive amounts of education (indoctrination?) about recycling in schools at taxpayer expense. There’s not an educational deficit.
Third, businesses usually have to pay for garbage pick-up, so there’s a market incentive already in place for them to reduce waste.
Fourth, there are any number of other uses for this money (including returning it to taxpayers) that should be higher priority than this sort of grant program.
And Wake County isn’t alone. I found North Carolina state grants with similar objectives, as well as some in other NC counties.
Recycle or don’t. That’s a personal decision. I’m certainly not so arrogant as to think that I should dictate what other people do with their garbage.
And I certainly don’t want governments using my money to dictate that to other people, either.