Monday, May 23, 2011

greener Florence

One more note about sustainability in Florence. They have a separate collection bin for organic waste, which is diverted to a municipal compost facility. This both reduces the amount of waste sent to landfills and reduces the amount of compost purchased by the city for its parks. Alongside the organic material bins are ones for cardboard and paper, plastic, glass and metal, and undifferentiated trash. It's a laudable waste management system, but it raises an important question about urbanism.

The bins take up a lot of space, and they are not pleasant to look at. They are conveniently located every few blocks in the residential districts, but that comes at the expense of filling the urban landscape with large, brightly colored plastic containers that accumulate misplaced trash, graffiti and broken glass. It is one of those moments where street life suffers at the expense of otherwise solid public policy, a conflict between aesthetics and ethics for which I have no easy solution.

The high-tech recycling bins next to San Lorenzo are cool, but they don't seem to be economically viable in regular neighborhoods.

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