If you haven’t heard, the Seattle City Council recently out did itself by issuing what just might be its most ridiculous decree yet (and there is serious competition for this honor). Last week, it unanimously passed a new law that “prohibits the disposal of 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 will be penalized.
How the Council proposes to enforce the new law represents a gross (pun intended) invasion of privacy. Beginning January 2015, trash collectors are instructed to “take a cursory look each time they dump trash into a garbage truck.” Residents and businesses whose trash includes more than 10 percent of “food waste or certain paper products will receive a warning from the start of the year until the end of June.” After July 1, the Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) will begin to issue fines.
According to the Seattle Times, private residents whose trash contains more than 10% compostable items will receive a $1 fine on their next garbage bill. Apartment buildings and businesses—their dumpsters will be inspected on a random basis—have two warnings before they receive a fine. A third violation would result in a $50 fine.
By digging through people’s trash and invading privacy, the Council hopes to force Seattle residents to recycle scrap food in compost bins. Maybe the people of Seattle could demonstrate their feelings for this policy by delivering those scraps directly to individual city council members, and cut out the middleman.