Last year, a group of concerned Seattle residents (with the help of the Pacific Legal Foundation), filed a lawsuit against the City of Seattle. The lawsuit claims that the city is violating residents’ civil rights when it rummages through their trash.
Today, a King County Superior Court judge will hear the case.
As Shift reported, the Seattle City Council unanimously decreed, back in 2013, that residents are prohibited from disposing food waste and compostable paper products in garbage bins and dumpsters. Homes, apartment buildings and businesses that throw away too much food mixed with their garbage are fined.
Trash collectors were instructed to “take a cursory look each time they dump trash into a garbage truck.” Residents and businesses whose trash included more than 10 percent of food waste or certain paper products were to receive warnings.
However, beginning January this year, those warnings turned into fines courtesy of Seattle Public Utilities (SPU).
Private residents whose trash contains more than 10% compostable items receive a $1 fine on their next garbage bill. Apartment buildings and businesses—their dumpsters are inspected on a random basis—get two warnings before they receive a fine. A third violation results in a $50 fine.
If it all sounds rather invasive to you, that’s because it is. The ordinance has received national attention as a privacy invasion.
We will keep you updated on the judge’s decision.