My Two Census

Formerly the non-partisan watchdog of the 2010 US Census, and currently an opinion blog that covers all things political, media, foreign policy, globalization, and culture…but sometimes returning to its census/demographics roots.

Update to photo contest: The $500 photo of 2010 Census WASTE is here!

The following photo of 2010 Census waste comes from a local census office in a major city. To protect the employee involved, I will not say which region until that person grants me permission to do so. Feel free to write your captions for this photo in the comments section below. Be aware, there is no Title 13 or PII-protected information in this photo. We are also curiously wondering why some leftover items have been donated to schools while others headed straight to the dump, depending on which office was responsible. MyTwoCensus is awaiting the Census Bureau’s response to a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that was filed a couple of months back that further examines the 2010 Census waste disposal contracts. Remember, a picture’s worth a thousand words:

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15 Responses to “Update to photo contest: The $500 photo of 2010 Census WASTE is here!”

  1. NRFU4u Says:

    You can READ that “Recycle” is printed on all these boxes.

    The 2010 Census was a PAPER-BASED OPERATION.

    Am I missing something here? What would YOU have done with all the leftover paper?

    As for pens, pencils, paper clips, eraser, staplers, etc… after our LCO closed, we DID donate hundreds to schools, nursery groups, hospitals.

    Was there waste in the 2010 Census? Sure. But the most egregious examples were the daily D-308 timesheets… and the Harris Corporation’s failure to produce reliable handheld field data devices.

    SRM, I appreciate that you gave us Census workers a forum to communicate and share information with each other. This site was a valuable resource for me. However, as far as your actual “news” reporting goes… how can you possibly consider this journalism? Why can’t you do any research? Write an informative article with facts, quotes, etc.? Maybe your goal is just to get a job running a tabloid magazine, or moderating an online message board. This post is another example of shoddy, lazy, sensationalist “journalism.”

  2. MonicaDesi Says:

    “simply recycled”?
    Perhaps you can tell me how recycling is a bad or wasteful thing? We have a much larger pile than that in our RCC and even the boxes that the recycling is being shipped in are being recycled.
    And the things that can’t be recycled (pencils, pens, paper clips) are being sent to the National Processing Center and will be sent out to other government agencies or stored for the next census. After the weeks I’ve spent sorting TONS of office supplies, I can vouch for the fact that not single dull pencil is being thrown out. Please don’t negate all my hard work by trying to making things up to suit what you think would make the most negative headline.
    There is absolutely NO waste being illustrated in this picture.

  3. Michael Says:

    I inquired about the supplies (pens, pencils, erasers, etc)as the operation would down. My sister is a teacher and I thought it would be a great idea to donate them to her school. I was told that it was required to be shipped back, because in the past, item were donated, but the schools that didn’t get the items complained about not getting anything. Supposedly be shipping it all back to the processing center, it would eventually be apportioned for some sort of redistribution. That does make sense, I suppose… but I think it still would have just been easier to donate it and take the complaints rather than the criticism for shipping it all back…

  4. anon Says:

    Congrats. You’ve got a low resolution picture of an undisclosed location with stacked boxes indicating someone likes recycling and dragons. Or is that an angry bird? How can we tell if this is even a Census location? At what point do you need that $500 to pay for the FOIA duplication fees?

  5. anononon Says:

    That’s it?

  6. Dairyland CL Says:

    Like others, I have enjoyed this blog and found much useful information here, but this is kind of tired. What would expect this huge, nationwide, labor and paper intensive monster of an operation to do with all the manuals, forms, junk mail and everything else that accumulates, hamster bedding?

  7. George Says:

    Wow that looks strangely familiar, is that the Scranton Census office?

  8. GS-X Says:

    True, NRFU4U.

    Did anyone notice that a contractor won an award for the training materials they produced for PBOCS?

  9. nemo Says:

    That looks about like what we shipped out for recycle. Certainly the Census should not have been paper based, but it was.

    The computer system, to put it mildly sucked. Batch processing in 2010? It felt like a modern front end on a COBAL program.

  10. Enumerate this Says:

    Threadjack: I stopped by LCO 2862 (Virginia Beach) the other day to see if they had a lost item that I misplaced this summer. There was one (1) person left, sitting by herself surfing the Web. She said someone had to stick around until the computers were picked up.

    I chuckled to myself that so much time was spent dangling the promise of work in “the next operation” to keep people in line. And when that next operation came, it was largely politics and who you knew. No different than most organizations.

    But here this woman is — months afterward — as the last person standing! She made it through to the end, an operation of one. I hope she has a house full of Census 2010 mouse pads.

  11. Al Forteni Says:

    Every time I log on to this site, I get a virus warning.

  12. Joe Schmoe Says:

    I work in HQ for managing operations. Having extra materials can be less wasteful than setting up a second print run. We ran out of several forms during Group Quarters Validation, as well as Group Quarters Enumeration Questionnaires where we had to make a second print run. Since the printing is done with offset lithography, there is a huge cost to setup printing plates, and setup the print run. There is only marginally more costs to print extra materials from the initial print run. The government had to pay millions to have a second print run because they had to do a second print run. It is over ten times more cost effective to print more than you need on the first print run than to underestimate and have to initiate a second print run if materials run out. I would argue that some of the extra materials are not wasteful.

  13. andrew Says:

    Looks like the boston office.

  14. Retired AMQA Says:

    Could be any office, they all had materials to be recycled.

    And after each operation, batches of recycled materials were sent off.

    If they had been held until the end, the picture above would only be a small portion of the total amount.

    It was what it was….

  15. goosgirl Says:

    I work at NPC Jeffersonville, IN location. We deal with all items that are sent in. I currently have problems with LCO’s that have sent ‘data’ to us. We have seen data from GQV that is intermingled with ‘Army’ or Department of Defense (what appears to be from their recycle bin). We also are ‘dealing with’ the amount of binders from LCO’s (1.5 million is our universe) that are being delivered to us and end up in the garbage dumps (this is called NRFU) we call it SNARFU. We are also ‘subjected’ to our security guards that ‘have keys to our castle’ but are not required to take ‘title 13′ as we are. They only sign a piece of paper that lets them know that what the feds demand of them. We are disgusted with the way we are treated, as many employees of LCO’s are. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks so much for providing a ‘public’ service to those who are committed to that. We strive to protect ‘title 13′ data. We really do. At the same time we are given limited choices. Please note, that we, at the local level do care. We are committed to protecting the data, it just seems our government is not able to at this time. We do not have a DOA (department of accountability). We seriously need this. We do not want to take away from our ‘precarious’ job security. Yet, most of us are ‘temps’ just like the LCO’s job recruitement force. Any advice would be appreciated. Thanks for listening!