Thursday, October 23, 2008

Boo Bins

Not everyone likes the big new recycling bins arriving in our driveways of late.

The Examiner's business columnist Dan Gainor says they are too big. The 65-gallon giant he received won't fit in his shed. (We'll supply a link when the Examiner sees fit to put one on its Web site where we can find it...Howard? Business? Search box? UPDATE: Ahhh, the link, thanks to an alert reader.).

Here's what we learn from the Fox Business channel contributor:

- Columbia is a "loony enclave."

- Maybe HoCo exec Ken Ulman should be called "Mr. Has Bin."

- And the county has attached tiny radio-frequency identification tags to the bins to track their use.

This last point previously escaped our attention. But it's true; the carts do come with RFID chips, according to the county's FAQ. And there's been some coverage in the trade press. According to this story, the county has discussed whether to send postcards to people who are not recycling. (We don't know if that ever happened.)

Gainor is not a fan of the idea. "Some petty gray-suited functionary is now going to assess my antisocial recycling opposition. It's an intersection between Big Brother and garbage, not that there's much difference between the two."

Ok, we get the feeling he doesn't much care for the county's recycling efforts.

RFID concerns aside, his blast reminds us a bit of a recent episode of "Mad Men," the TV drama centered around the 1960s Madison Avenue advertising culture. In one scene Don Draper and family are winding up an idyllic picnic by the side of the road somewhere. As they pack up, Don heaves his beer can as far as he can throw. Mom shakes the blanket free of lunchtime debris and checks her kids' hands to see that they are clean before the clan happily climbs back into the Cadillac for the ride home.

The camera pans back to show a wide shot of trash scattered on the hillside.

Someone else's problem.

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