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Archive for April, 2010

Of all things to write about, I’m very excited about the ‘pay as you throw’ system of garbage collection.  It’s when I noticed how well I was doing with it, lately, that I realized how it can be an excellent way for communities to manage their garbage.

This is how it works in Dubuque.  You pay a monthly fee (under $10 I believe, it is part of the water bill) for garbage pick up. This fee is for one standard sized can.  You can pay extra for a larger can, or if you have the occasional extra garbage, you can buy stickers ($1.25 each) to stick on the handle of another can, or on a bag or larger (within reason) item.

Recycling is free.  There are a lot of items recycled here, we take more plastic than they did in NYC. No matter how much garbage you have to recycle, they will pick it up for free.

They also have yearly yard stickers (that you pay extra for during the spring/summer/fall), or stickers for yard waste.  Some communities have food scrap pickup, but there is a waiting list to get on that.

I come from Brooklyn, where you would have two cans picked up twice a week. Here it is the one can plus recyclables once a week.  I have now managed to consistently stay within my allotment.

In Brooklyn, you got tickets for not putting your recycling where it belonged. Put a soda bottle or box in a trash bag, get a fine.  Here, put that in a trash bag, and waste valuable space.

I never cared much about fines, although I did recycle. I do care about having to run and get stickers if I go over.  I’ve become competent at squishing boxes nicely, and spend more time than I used to contemplating packaging when shopping.  I enjoy my bagged milk, for example.  It takes hardly any space at all, and recyclable!

I know there is a concern about someone using your garbage to throw their extra stuff out.  It has happened, and I’ve seen it happen occasionally. But I am sure there are measures in place to minimize that.  In places that patrol garbage for a can mixed in with paper, they could use those people to fine those who misuse garbage that way. Or roll it out in communities where this is less likely to be a problem.

So, pay as you throw not only has increased my recycling, but it has decreased the amount of packaging I use.  It’s changed the way I think about what I bring into the house.  This is a positive change that is good for me, and my environment.  More communities should look to pay as you throw as a way to increase recycling, and decrease what goes into landfills. The carrot (saving money) works better than the stick (paying fines), I think.

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Since last year’s annual meeting with the Department of Human Services Case Management, the terminology has changed for one of the services my son gets.

In the past, he was on the “MR Waiver”.  MR = Mental Retardation Waiver. In other words, it was medicaid eligibility based not on income, but on his diagnosis, and all the support services that comes with it.  (They also have a Brain Injury Waiver, an Ill and Handicapped Child Waiver, and others.)

He now has the “ID Waiver” which stands for intellectual disability. This, to me, has less of a stigma. It also is more hopeful, I think.  It also should open up services for those who have significant difficulties but score higher on IQ tests.  Before, your child had to score low on standardized tests.  This hopefully will open the door to more people who need services getting what they need.

So even the government understands the issues around using the word ‘retarded’.  Now if only more people could be sensitive about it, too.

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Yelp!

I’ve decided to start doing reviews for Yelp! I was always disappointed that there weren’t enough reviews there for my liking, and realized the only way to get reviews up there was to do some myself.

So my URL there is http://www.kibblesbits.yelp.com if you want to see my opinion on stuff, beyond what I write here.  My first review is for Pizza Ranch in Dubuque.  And if anyone reading this wants to add me, go ahead!

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Dubuque




Dubuque

Originally uploaded by Kibbles

By St. Mark’s Community Center. Up the hill from it.

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Me me me




100_2211

Originally uploaded by Kibbles

Me, in the new-ish place. I know, I know, I neglect this poor little blog. Click on the picture for the rest of them, though.

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Success Made Simple

I’ll admit, part of my interest in the Amish is the surprisingly frequent confusion between Quakers and Amish. I mean, look at me, do I look Amish to you? And yet I’ve had people tell me “I guess you are fine in the blackout, you’re used to living without electricity.” So, yeah.

If I link to this blog entry, then I enter to win a book. The really cool thing is that I now found a new blog to read! So even if I don’t get the book, I’m pretty happy that I’m posting this.

http://ajoyfulchaos.blogspot.com/2010/03/giveaway.html

Off to read a bit more at A Joyful Chaos.

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