Garbage Cops: Seattle

JANUARY 2016 UPDATE: The Raccoon’s have occupied Ballard and have learned how to defeat the latch that is supposed to hold secure the food scraps we are instructed to save for some Green Reason. A neighbor has literally seen this happen, and all his extra effort to secure his bin has failed.

Wednesday night as I was parking in front of the house a raccoon the size of a Chrysler sauntered out of our drive way after feasting on the trash the renters next door never seem to get to the curb timely. I flashed the headlights at him, he didn’t even flinch. I predicted this a year ago when I posted the following blog. The next update will likely be about the first child bitten by rabid vermin drawn to this ill conceived program.

Here is the original post.

Jackbooted garbage cops in green uniforms resembling Spain’s Guardia Civil rummage through garbage cans on warrantless searches enforcing the recycling laws and punishing the evil of failure to segregate recycling properly. Guadia civil old

Seattle, like most towns, have had a recycling program for several years now. The fee for the containers became compulsory some time ago. Now the fee for segregation of garbage has also become compulsory, with fines to follow.

The fliers which arrived in the mail this week seem so friendly, lots of waste products like cartoon apple cores and newspapers done up with happy faces, but the mandate complicates, and in some cases, taxes without thought the life of the citizen. apple

Do not be alarmed by the cartoon; worm bins for composting remain optional at this point.

A helpful video shows happy citizens with a food scrap container kept in the house. To me it looks like a garbage can on the same surface where fresh food is prepared for meals.

The segregation of paper products really takes study. As of January 1, 2015, in addition to the food scraps, Seattle will no longer allow compostable paper, including food soiled cardboard, paper napkins and paper towels into the general garbage. I think soiled cardboard means pizza boxes, but what else? Its like trying to leave Starbucks at Green Lake, where I am puzzled every time as to what circle to use; Trash, Recycle, or Compost?
starbucks recycling

Next comes the enforcement. The flyer warns: “After July 1, 2015 fines will be issued to businesses and residences whose garbage containers contain too much food or recyclables.” How will they determine what is too much? I know I saw one story that we are presumed to create 10% of our waste that fits these definitions, and fines will accrue if we do not make the cut. For our house this literally means buying food to throw away. guardia civik garbage politiz

More troubling is the privacy interest. “No person shall be disturbed in his private affairs, or his home invaded, without authority of law.” Article One, Section Seven, Washington State Constitution.
guadia civil pin
Two Washington state cases have passed on the question of a right to privacy in your garbage, each finding that a citizen of this state has a privacy interest here greater than one can expect under the US Constitutions 4th Amendment in your garbage. Essentially warrantless searches of our garbage to ensure compliance would appear to be illegal. State v. Sweeney 125 Wash. App. 881 ( 2005 ) State v. Boland Wash 2nd 571 (1990).

So are Green Police going to get a warrant for every garbage can in Seattle?
Guardia civil badge
Meanwhile the helpful video mentions the lids to the containers have a latch to keep out vermin. I suspect the engineer who designed the latch has never seen a black bear make short work of a Coleman cooler at Yellowstone. Essentially raccoons have the same skills and I personally have seen two families of raccoon in my neighborhood already.
raccoon in recycling
Now we will hire more animal control? Perhaps a bounty can be put out on coon pelts, but in what container do we put the rest of the animal we kill? seattle recycling

I was about the toss the flier with the happy rotting food cartoons on it away this weekend but couldn’t figure out what bin it belonged to. Is it soiled? Hmmm. Lets inspect and burn more of our time instead of our trash.

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