Home Politics

Seattle to Fine Residents for Throwing Food in the Garbage

grady30wagrady30wa Posts: 10,161 AG
Seattle to Fine Residents for Throwing Food in the Garbage
January 28, 2015 - 9:37 AM

By Curtis Kalin

In an attempt to shame residents of their city, a new Seattle law will levy a fine on homes that do not properly sort food out of their garbage.

Emblazoned with a red citation tag, violators will start to be fined anywhere from $1-$50 in July. For now, Seattle residents will be publicly shamed by the ‘Scarlet Letter’-like tags.

US Food Waste
Food waste is a big, and still growing, problem. (Charles Krupa/AP Photo)

"I'm sure neighbors are going to see these on their other neighbors' cans," says Rodney Watkins, a lead driver for Recology CleanScapes, a waste contractor for the city. He's on the front lines of enforcing these rules.

The tags are part of, what the city calls, a “public education campaign.”

In an interview with NPR, Watkins details how he goes about enforcing the draconian statute:

"You can see all the oranges and coffee grounds," he says, raising one lid.” All that makes great compost. You can put that in your compost bin and buy it back next year in a bag and put it in your garden."

The ultimate goal of the law is to boost composting while reducing greenhouse gasses:

Food waste is both an economic and environmental burden. Transporting the waste, especially for distances as far as Seattle does, is costly. So too is allowing it to sit out in the open, where it produces methane, one of the most harmful greenhouses gases, as it rots. The second largest component of landfills in the United States is organic waste, and landfills are the single largest source of methane gas.

The EPA has already begun a campaign to achieve laws similar to Seattle’s.

The outstanding question remains: what purview is it of government to act as people’s trash nanny?

http://www.cnsnews.com/blog/curtis-kalin/seattle-fine-residents-throwing-food-garbage
Schadenfreude. November 8, 2016

Replies

  • grady30wagrady30wa Posts: 10,161 AG
    From NPR (since the forum lefties' heads will explode if they have to open the aforementioned CNS web link):


    Tossing Out Food In The Trash? In Seattle, You'll Be Fined For That
    In Seattle, wasting food will now earn you a scarlet letter — well, a scarlet tag, to be more accurate.

    The bright red tag, posted on a garbage bin, tells everyone who sees it that you've violated a new city law that makes it illegal to put food into trash cans.

    "I'm sure neighbors are going to see these on their other neighbors' cans," says Rodney Watkins, a lead driver for Recology CleanScapes, a waste contractor for the city. He's on the front lines of enforcing these rules.

    Seattle is the first city in the nation to fine homeowners for not properly sorting their garbage. The law took effect on Jan. 1 as a bid to keep food out of landfills. Other cities like San Francisco and Vancouver mandate composting, but don't penalize homeowners directly.

    Recology CleanScapes driver Rodney Watkins issues a red tag — the scarlet letter of food waste in Seattle.i
    Recology CleanScapes driver Rodney Watkins issues a red tag — the scarlet letter of food waste in Seattle.
    Amy Radil/KUOW
    As Watkins made the rounds in Maple Leaf, a residential neighborhood of Seattle, earlier this month, he appeared disheartened to find an entire red velvet cake in someone's trash bin. Any household with more than 10 percent food in its garbage earns a bright red tag notifying it of the infraction.

    "Right now, I'm tagging probably every fifth can," Watkins says. "I don't know if that's just the holidays, or the fact that I'm actually paying a lot more attention."

    Watkins doesn't have to comb through the trash — the forbidden items are plain to see.

    "You can see all the oranges and coffee grounds," he says, raising one lid. "All that makes great compost. You can put that in your compost bin and buy it back next year in a bag and put it in your garden."

    Seattle Public Utilities estimates that every family in the city throws away some 400 pounds of food each year. The city gives households bins to fill with their food and yard waste. But residents don't have to compost it themselves: They can just leave the bins curbside and have the city pick it up for a fee.

    The new law is meant to help Seattle increase its recycling and composting rate to 60 percent of all its waste — the city is currently 4 percentage points below that.

    Sherri Erkel and her daughter, Asa, cook dinner in their kitchen in Iowa City, Iowa. The Erkel family is part of an EPA study measuring the amount of food wasted in U.S. homes.
    THE SALT
    To End Food Waste, Change Needs To Begin At Home
    The red tags are part of the public education campaign about the new law; the city won't actually start issuing fines until July. Single households will pay $1 per violation, but apartments, condos and commercial buildings could be fined $50. That has apartment and condominium dwellers a little nervous.

    Jim Ward owns a condo in a large building in the Laurelhurst neighborhood. He says his neighbors include people from many different countries who may not be familiar with Seattle's recycling rules. Ward came down to the building's recycling bin recently and it was a mess.

    "I found dirty rags with oil on them and just really messy pieces of plastic that were wet," he says. So Ward took the opportunity to do some outreach.

    "I ended up actually taking those things and putting them on the main counter in the lobby of the condominium, and I just wrote a note to everyone and I said, 'Are these things recyclable?' "

    Seattle's push for more recycling comes as the state's overall recycling rate has gone down slightly. The Washington Department of Ecology says the recycling rate slipped to 49 percent in 2013 from 50, although that's still among the highest in the nation.

    There may not be a pot of gold at the end of these rainbows, but there is an anaerobic digestion facility turning food waste into energy at Jordan Dairy Farm in Rutland, Mass.
    THE SALT
    Mass. To Make Big Food Wasters Lose The Landfill
    The city's consumer recycling capabilities are pretty high-tech, with machines to separate paper, glass and plastic. And come July, Seattle will also start issuing fines for too much recyclable materials mixed in the trash. That has been illegal for several years, but haulers had just been leaving garbage on the curb when that happened.

    Now, leaving an empty tub of butter or mayonnaise jar in the rubbish bin could earn you a red tag, too.

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thesalt/2015/01/26/381586856/tossing-out-food-in-the-trash-in-seattle-you-ll-be-fined-for-that
    Schadenfreude. November 8, 2016
  • JBondJBond Posts: 5,039 Officer
    Is there a recycling center for bong water?
  • grady30wagrady30wa Posts: 10,161 AG
    JBond wrote: »
    Is there a recycling center for bong water?

    Could be big business!
    Schadenfreude. November 8, 2016
  • phlatsphilphlatsphil Posts: 14,632 AG
    grady30wa wrote: »
    The ultimate goal of the law is to boost composting while reducing greenhouse gasses:

    I wonder what % of Seattle residents have a compost pile? Probably very very few.

    My guess is:

    99.9% of apartment dwellers do not have a compost pile

    90% of rental house dwellers do not have a compost pile

    80% of home owners do not have a compost pile

    100% of the homeless do not have a compost pile.

    This 'law' won't get past the court system once challenged.
  • JBondJBond Posts: 5,039 Officer
    Applied Mythology: The Shocking Carbon Footprint of Compost


    Most people think of composting as a very "green" thing to do, but few realize that composting actually generates a significant amount of the potent greenhouse gases (GHG), methane and nitrous oxide. Yes, composting is better than putting organic wastes into a landfill, but it is not the ideal way to handle large volume, organic waste-streams like animal manure. The better option is anaerobic digestion which I will describe at the end of this post.

    These Emissions Are Not A Scientific Surprise

    To a microbiologist, it is not surprising that these gases would be generated during composting. Methane and nitrous oxide are formed by certain microbes when there is not enough oxygen available (anaerobic conditions). In the middle of a large-scale compost pile there are micro-sites without oxygen. This occurs even in a pile turned frequently for aeration. This is particularly true during the "hot" phase of the composting process which kills pathogens and weed seeds. During the period of very high oxygen demand, some parts of the pile will run short and the anaerobic organisms will make methane and nitrous oxide.

    How Big Is That Footprint?

    To put this in perspective, the carbon footprint of this amount of compost used on one acre of a crop would be equal to the various other carbon footprints described below:
    •The carbon footprint of manufacturing 2,580 pounds of synthetic urea-nitrogen fertilizer (at 4.2 lbs/CO2 per lb)

    •The "embedded carbon footprint" of that urea for fertilizing 12.9 acres of corn at 200 lbs/acre

    •The complete carbon footprint of producing 5.7 acres of conventional corn (including fertilizer, crop protection chemicals, seed, fuel, nitrous oxide emissions from soil...)

    •The carbon footprint of burning the gas to drive a typical car 13,982 miles (at 25 mpg).

    •The carbon footprint of all it takes to produce 985 pounds of beef

    •The carbon footprint of growing, handling and transporting 9,641 pounds of bananas from Costa Rica to Germany

    In other words, the footprint of the applied compost is shockingly large. It is certainly not a practice one would want to see on a large scale.

    http://appliedmythology.blogspot.com/2013/01/the-shocking-carbon-footprint-of-compost.html

    In other words, the leaders of Seattle have some sort of brain damage.
  • White DogWhite Dog Posts: 5,343 Officer
    The scarlet letter.....I would let them put it on my can. That would be the closest one to the curb. Then i would go to court.....and make sure news cameras were there to watch.
    The White Dog.........R.I.P..........1996 - June 2nd, 2011
  • grady30wagrady30wa Posts: 10,161 AG
    phlatsphil wrote: »
    I wonder what % of Seattle residents have a compost pile? Probably very very few.

    My guess is:

    99.9% of apartment dwellers do not have a compost pile

    90% of rental house dwellers do not have a compost pile

    80% of home owners do not have a compost pile

    100% of the homeless do not have a compost pile.

    This 'law' won't get past the court system once challenged.

    I wouldn't be so sure. The court system in left-leaning areas of the country are as stupid as the leftists who put them there.
    Schadenfreude. November 8, 2016
  • Mark O.Mark O. Posts: 3,453 Captain
    deleted. JB already said it
  • SLW210SLW210 Posts: 2,226 Captain
    You really don't think Liberals care about FACTS or the Health of the Planet Earth, do you?

    It is all about an agenda of control, profit and getting the sheep all gathered up!
  • S.S.TupperwareS.S.Tupperware Posts: 1,057 Officer
    Are they gonna open every bag and inspect?
  • Mister-JrMister-Jr Posts: 27,750 AG
    Idiots. They should just dig a bigger landfill.
    Vote for the other candidate
  • grady30wagrady30wa Posts: 10,161 AG
    Agreed
    Schadenfreude. November 8, 2016
  • Mister-JrMister-Jr Posts: 27,750 AG
    grady30wa wrote: »
    Agreed

    I wonder what it costs Collier County residents annually to process all of their garbage? It's almost like you want more government spending.
    Vote for the other candidate
  • grady30wagrady30wa Posts: 10,161 AG
    I pay for my waste removal.
    Schadenfreude. November 8, 2016
  • fins4mefins4me Posts: 14,487 AG
    grady30wa wrote: »
    I pay for my waste removal.

    I am sure they do also. As long as the residents are not throwing away bombs or radioactive debris,,, it should be none of the cities business.
    ALLISON XB 21,, MERCURY 300 Opti Max Pro Series (Slightly Modified) You can't catch me!!!
    "Today is MINE"
  • snippersnipper Posts: 524 Officer
    so much for freedom and liberty
  • Conchy CrackerConchy Cracker Posts: 10,454 Officer
    Everyone pays for dumping trash in a landfill, private or public they are not free. Big cities pay big bucks to have their trash hauled hundreds and sometimes thousands of miles to landfills they have to pay to take it. They need to keep as much trash from being put in the ground for millions of years so they have plenty of room for your depends.




    And for freedom and liberty..... seriously?
  • dragon baitdragon bait Posts: 9,113 Admiral
    Mister-Jr wrote: »
    Idiots. They should just dig a bigger landfill.

    And those food scraps do not off gas methane gas at the land fill during composting do they JB
  • mustang190mustang190 Posts: 10,104 AG
    The people should start dumping their food waste at the mayors office.
  • m9000m9000 Posts: 2,139 Captain
    Downtown Seattle is NASTY- full of homeless people who have taken the Seattle grunge look to the max.
  • Lucky7Team2Lucky7Team2 Posts: 6,794 Officer
    As usual, a state exercises states rights contrary to the beliefs of the Repugnicans and its an issue. If this has been mandating everyone carrying a firearm they would be doing cartwheels. How about this, don't live in Seattle. You dolts can't even spell conservative....
Sign In or Register to comment.