The City of Seattle’s new trash ordinance will go into effect on Jan. 1. In September, Seattle City Council unanimously decreed 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 will be penalized.
How will the city government enforce the rule? Why, a gross (pun intended) invasion of privacy of course.
Beginning January, 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.
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.
According to the Seattle Times, operations supervisor for Recology CleanScapes promised that the new ordinance would not turn his drivers into garbage cops. Rather, “as they toss a can’s contents into the truck, they’ll pay attention to what they do see. And if it appears that more than 10 percent of a trash-can’s contents are either food waste or recyclables, they’ll leave a tag telling of the infraction. Seattle Public Utilities will be notified.”
So, not garbage cops… more like trash informants.