Photo by Krystal Ramirez

Vegas is Trashy

We’ve reported on our concerns when it comes to Downtown. Now, it’s the neighborhood’s movers and shakers’ turn. In our new guest column series, Talking Downtown, bar owners, entrepreneurs and other stakeholders vent their frustrations, champion successes and muse on improvements. Check back every Thursday for a new column. 

Sure, in the realm of superlative, blue velvet lycra evening wear, Vegas unequivocally takes the pound cake. Less obvious (or not, depending on your vantage point) is the sheer volume of garbage—rotting waste in black plastic, heaps of expired food, sole-less shoes, broken electronics, general inconveniences—that so gracefully leaves our sidewalk and forever drifts into the unknown. It’s not some black hole where trash magically dissolves into nothingness … it’s the dump. Somewhere beyond our mind’s eye. Somewhere we choose to forget.

I’m actually embarrassed by the number of glass containers I have had to throw away due to the nonexistence of a recycling program.

As a business owner in the Arts District, I am very familiar with the shock-worthy amount of garbage left in the alleyways each day. What’s even more upsetting, however, is the lack of recycling options. Especially in the Arts District, the choice is as follows: throw your recyclables away; it’s far more encouraged than it is frowned upon. For a bar business, our bread and butter happens to lie within these strange vessels known as liquor bottles. I’m actually embarrassed by the number of glass containers I have had to throw away due to the nonexistence of a recycling program. Could I physically transport all of my recyclables each day? I suppose so, sure, though it really wouldn’t be a feasible solution.

In requesting a pick-up service in the Arts District, we were informed that glass materials damage the conveyor belts used for recycling. Therefore, nothing could be done. A resolution is supposed to be made within a couple years. How has this problem persisted for so long? How are we so behind west coast green cities, such as San Francisco or Portland, with environmentally conscious initiatives and mandatory recycling laws? Hey, I’m not trying to say that I’m the Mother Theresa of eco-friendliness (I’ve done my fair share of destruction—sorry, Earth), but it seems like recycling is probably the least we could do. And it seems so, because it is.

Do you have issues with recycling in your neighborhood? Tell us in the comments below.

Interested in writing a guest column? Email us

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