Recycle, reduce – Rethink!

So, down at the coal face it seems there is an ever increasing drum beat to do more, turn off lights, switch to energy efficient bulbs, recycle more etc. I’ve always done my part, the cardboard boxes are piled high in my garage waiting for that w/e when I have time to flat pack them and tie them up for the City to take.

However, everday, between 4.30-7 am an industrial garbage removal truck comes to the local bakers, tips up their huge industrial size bin and out flows more garbage per day than I generate per year(probably). If I watch during the day, they throw in a stream of cardboard boxes, along with all the regular trash. I dunno, just sayin…

Last night as I flew back into Austin on the late flight from Chicago(Yeah I know, the very act of flying isn’t so great), it was with sheer amazement that I watched as the City burned so bright. It wasn’t so much the downtown area, but the huge lots either side of I35, the parking spaces way out of town, not a single car in sight, the car dealershsips, some strange homage to the $1 Gallon of gas, now laden with steel monsters from what is possibly a bygone era. Never mind, even at 10,000ft you can still pick-out the individual shapes thanks to the fantastic floodlighting.

Wait a minute, Austin Energy is asking me, all of us, to let them fit a control to our AC system so they can cycle off on AC during the middle of the day at peak times, fair enough maybe. But, is all that energy used to illuminate nothing, empty parking lots, trucks that won’t sell, really free? Somehow I think not. Isn’t it about time to start tackling local waste before proposing more offshore drilling?

Start by requiring businesses that are closed during the hours of darkness and for whom there is no use of their parking lot to shut off their lights and then how about a commercial recycling scheme? Oh yeah, I’m prepared to do my bit, no more closed bottles with just water in at sports and music events. Lets ditch the plastic…

3 Comments so far

  1. ttrentham on July 15th, 2008 @ 11:39 am

    The lights in the car dealership (and I suspect the parking lots) are security measures to protect against vandalism and theft. Now whether they’re effective or worth the cost of energy to sustain them is a good question. Do those places employ overnight security? I’m guessing not in most cases. Maybe selective lighting?

    Crime generally seems to go up during an economic downturn. Austin’s certainly seen an increase, in part from the economic climate and in part from our massive growth. And summer’s always the worst…

  2. triman on July 15th, 2008 @ 11:52 am

    Yes, I understand the security thing, but really, if you take to the air afterdark its alarming how many huge empty spaces are brightly lit. And sure, some places like Barton Springs Mall, have maintenance and delivery traffic overnight, but there were a ton of places lighting up, pretty much nothing.

  3. juliet77 on July 15th, 2008 @ 12:43 pm

    How about putting those lights on Motion-detectors? That way it wastes less energy, but deters the thieves.
    And what thief is crazy enough to steal one of those monster gas-guzzlers with gas at $4 a gallon and going up?;)

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