It's time to talk about garbage.

Garbage disposal costs will soon increase in Bristol, Virginia – and it's a welcome change.

No, the increase and the subject itself may not be acceptable, but it is time to talk about the current situation that worries landfill engineers and municipal councilors. Landfills in Bristol, Va., Need two of the most basic services: closing existing fillings and liners for future fillings. Without these tax increases, the city will have to incur more debt or risk a hazardous waste situation.

This problem has been literally and financially accumulated around us for a long time. "In previous years, everything that was bought in this landfill was over-indebted. That's why we still owe $ 35 million on a $ 6 million a year fund, "said City Manager Randy Eads. It's $ 35 million for what we have thrown away.

Given the current finances of the city, this situation obviously can not continue. We do not have the luxury of spending millions on waste.

Bristol City Council, Virginia, agrees that an increase in fees is the right way to go, though members disagree on raising the amount from $ 22 to $ 29, $ 50 or $ 33, a variation of 35% or 50%, respectively. Landfill site engineers have recommended a 100% increase, to $ 44, to make the solid waste disposal fund sustainable, although city councilors agree that 39 such an increase would be too high initially.

Whatever the amount, the fees must increase so that we can all go back to the forgotten solid waste and their final destination.

But why stop in the trash? There are not only problems in the landfills of our city; there is an opportunity.

Waste management has long been neglected in Bristol, Virginia, and the same can be said of its recycling program. In fact, as of March 1, the city has suspended the recycling of paper and plastic products until a supplier can be found, a problem that affects many cities in the United States through the new policy. Chinese import of recyclable materials.

In addition, glass, aluminum and newsprint are all transferred directly to landfills. It makes sense that recycling these items, rather than filling our expensive landfills faster, is the best way to do business in the city.

Bristol, Virginia, meets state recycling standards of at least 25%, but it's little compared to 80% in San Francisco and other recycling leaders around the world. Real money is at stake in these programs – and fortunately, the most effective action starts at the local level.

We call on the city council to take action – whether through new recycling targets, incentives or more effective collection programs – to improve this situation. We can sustainably fund our landfills while reducing the total amount of waste – and we should do it.

City Council convened a public hearing Tuesday to discuss the increase in fees. Introduce yourself, make your voice heard and talk in the trash.