The People’s Republic of Seattle

by Heligirl on May 30, 2012

in Daily Ramblings

I’m all for conservation, recycling, preservation, sustainability and reducing waste. Heck, I wash my Ziploc bags to use another day as long as they’re not too skanky or torn. I’m forever getting on Hubby and the kids for leaving lights on and running water unnecessarily.

Yet our city knows better than us. We get fined if there is a lot of recyclable items in our trash, we’re charged for yard and food waste garbage collection unless we prove we have our own compost bins, starting this summer plastic bags are banned and we have to pay for paper bags, and just to make it harder to drive they’ve started tolling bridges and soon a new tunnel.

Then there is the electric company.

I get my panties in a bit of a twist at the letter I get every two months from Seattle City Light telling me I’m a horrible waste of electricity. Sure, they say they’re providing me this wonderful service to help me save money, but it annoys me in ways I thought only Justin Bieber could how much time, money and forest is wasted so we can all be told we need to save electricity.

But that aside, here’s my real beef.

I live in a neighborhood of older empty nesters, working parents, professional couples with no kids and single people. But this piece of paper tells me I’m being compared with the nearest 100 homes similar to my house’s size. No consideration of occupancy.

I have a family of four living in a 1,400-square-foot house with three bedrooms, two baths and we’re home five days a week. Just about everyone else I know on my block, across the street and behind me have either larger houses or half as many people, or less.

Case in point. My neighbors on both sides and behind me are single women (one is a retired widow). A single man moved in across the street with a couple and a widow on either side of him.

In fact, the only families on my block with more than two people in the house have kids in school all day or they work all day taking their kids to daycare.

Me – not so much.

Note to Seattle City Light – here in Seattle, you need to have the lights on when you’re home 320 days out of the year. And if you’re home all day, that’s a little more than your neighbors, even with the low wattage, live a hundred years light bulbs.

Now, I’m a visual person, so I think this bar graph that is included with “you” in bold is what set me off. It basically tells me I’m worse than all my neighbors, and use more than 50% more energy than the best 20% of my neighbors (all those single folks). Now, when I look closer, knowing at least 50 percent of my neighbors are single, they say I use 8% more than all my neighbors (that stat not shown in this image). OK then, maybe I’m not all that bad, only using 8% more than folks that aren’t home during the day or don’t have children.

But still, that ugly line still annoys me.

So I toss the thing into the trash instead of the recycling and leave the kitchen light on for good measure. Take that Seattle City Light. Pthhhh!


Twitter: audcole
May 30, 2012 at 8:32 am

“…annoys me in ways I thought only Justin Bieber could…” I’m dying! I often base my annoyance on a scale of 1 to Bieber.

Also, wow. That is a bit much. Don’t get me wrong, my town is so anti-conservation that is drives me insane. Still, it just seems like there could be a happy medium somewhere. Or, you know, a judgmental black line works too.
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Liz F May 30, 2012 at 4:14 pm

Pullman doesn’t even accept paper to be recycled. You have to waste gas and go down to the recycling center. And they’re SO SO SO picky about what kind of plastics they will and won’t recycle. Like that little container that strawberries go in? Nope; they want it in the trash. After living in green-Seattle for over a year, it’s enough to drive me nutty! I do take pride in the fact that we spent less on our electric bill than the previous tenants 🙂

Susan May 30, 2012 at 6:30 pm

Holy cow that is insane! I am so glad we have to pay to have our trash picked up, way out here in the country, because they haul away what we put in the cans, and don’t go through them. If we had to do all you do even for trash collection, we’d be fined or hauled off to jail every other week!

With your using only 8% more electricity than your neighbors, and you have at least twice the number of people in your home, I would think that SCL should be down on their knees, licking your boots! Way to conserve!!
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Julia June 1, 2012 at 5:47 am

I am so glad we have to pay to have our trash picked up, way out here in the country, because they haul away what we put in the cans, and don’t go through them. Thanks for sharing.
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