Seattle government now going through citizens’ trash for public shaming, revenue

posted at 10:01 pm on January 27, 2015 by Mary Katharine Ham

Sure, the incentive to compost is the putative reason for this regulation, but exactly how is it enforced? In order for city officials and trash collectors to know you have committed the civic sin of disposing of leftover food in your trashcan, they have to examine the contents of your trashcan. Let’s hope the citizens of Seattle and trash collectors can come to some kind of silent truce over this. Do they collectors really want to examine every load they dump into the truck for transgressions? (Lord help us, the city probably offers a bonus of taxpayer money for tagging violators.)

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.

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.

So, the collectors not only have to examine your trash, but examine it closely enough to determine if 10 percent of it amounts to food. NPR’s reporting disputes my assumption, but what the collector is really saying below is he’s either painstakingly rifling through trash cans or ignoring the 10-percent rule and profligately offering tags and fines. Neither is good:

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 added a new law because it wants to meet its recycling and reduction goals, but has been unable to with existing, extremely stringent laws. So, you know.

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.

I’m not saying the goal isn’t worthy. If you’d like to encourage this behavior or do a public awareness campain, fine. But at what cost does this kind of enforcement come? This town is no doubt populated with people who were extremely worried the PATRIOT Act would meant their mail would be read by George Bush or something*. But giving random city officials the right to quantify your trash? No problem.

Strange how city governments so seldom offer a financial incentive to families who might choose to have their Biore strips and old prophylactics and chicken wings examined by their local councilmen instead of just financially punishing everyone who doesn’t. They say compost and recycling. What they mean is compulsion and revenue.

*For the record, I have my own issues with NSA surveillance and metadata dragnetting, which are intellectually consistent with my reaction to this story.


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Hey NYC, look who’s standing next to Seattle Mayor Murray.

https://twitter.com/OfficeofMayor/status/558660812538003458/photo/1

diogenes on January 28, 2015 at 7:09 AM

May their hands forage through 50,000 pounds of unbagged pet poop, daily.

We have more than 125,000 dogs and 60,000 outdoor cats in Seattle! That amounts to about 50,000 lbs of pet waste every day!

Left on streets, curb strips and in yards and parks, pet waste can be carried by rainwater to storm drains and into our creeks, lakes and Puget Sound without treatment…

There are bacteria and micro-organisms in pet waste such as Roundworms, E. coli, and Giardia that can make people sick if they’re ingested…If pet waste is washed into the storm drain it ends up in lakes, streams or marine water, and people can accidentally swallow bacteria and other disease-causing organisms while swimming or playing in the water. These bacteria also end up in shellfish, and can make the people who eat them very sick.

Apparently in Seattle all the wild animals and marine life have bacteria and parasite free GI tracts.

F X Muldoon on January 28, 2015 at 7:17 AM

So, the collectors not only have to examine your trash, but examine it closely enough to determine if 10 percent of it amounts to food.

I’ve composted for 30 years, with nothing that could be composted (no meats) going into the trash can. But I’d stop doing it for a while jut to have some fun with this.

But ya need to know 10% what? By Volume? By Weight?

If it’s weight, I’d throw in a bunch of rocks to get under 10%. If it’s volume I’d use the trash compactor on food waste only, and make sure to throw in big volume stuff, like styrofoam peanuts, or fluffed shredded paper.

I’d hang my own tags on the can. I’d use an officially looking Green tag on the trash can noting predetermined percentages of food stuffs under 10% with a certification stamp and signature. I’d hang a red one noting 100% food stuffs, and leave just one used filter with coffee grounds in the bottom of the can.

Dusty on January 28, 2015 at 7:20 AM

There is no greater evil than taking a private virtue and mandating it to be a public good: all the virtue is removed as well as the character of the individual necessary to sustain it.

Thus the Left shows that they are in line with those Muslim Nations that have bureaucratic structures with names like: The Prevention of Vice and Promotion of Virtue. You know, the ones that slam the doors on burning girl’s schools because they might not be properly adorned with headgear and, thus, must die by fire rather than sully the ‘virtue’ of men? Yeah, the Left ADORES THAT as it allows GOVERNMENT to tell you what TO DO as well as WHAT NOT TO DO.

Mind you, the first jokester that just purchases some knock-off tags and starts adorning them to every single trashcan…that will pretty much put an end to this. And don’t use string or tape to apply them, as those need to go through the municipal waste stream. Use epoxy. Much more eco-friendly!

ajacksonian on January 28, 2015 at 7:28 AM

Big Brother is Watching You! And your trash.

grumpyank on January 28, 2015 at 7:31 AM

I am a fugitive from the dump police!

grumpyank on January 28, 2015 at 7:32 AM

We need cameras on every trash can….

albill on January 28, 2015 at 7:37 AM

Apparently in Seattle all the wild animals and marine life have bacteria and parasite free GI tracts.

[F X Muldoon on January 28, 2015 at 7:17 AM]

Also, whoever wrote this is either an ignoramus or knows something that the rest of Seattle doesn’t — that the city is in violation of the part of the Federal Clean Water Act which requires that initial volumes of surface runoff be treated before discharging into navigable waters.

But if they are really concerned about this I recommend they urge the Seattle official to implement a program scattering dung beetles throughout the city.

Dusty on January 28, 2015 at 7:39 AM

I worked in Seattle for 11 years, and refused to live there (most of the time I lived next to Olympia, or over on the Olympic Penninsula) for the reason of idiots running Seattle and King county. I see things have only gotten worse.

sadatoni on January 28, 2015 at 7:40 AM

What Seattle drivers need is a hermetically sealed car trunk filled with garbage and that has a vent pipe going to a throttle body injection port of their fossil fuel car engine to deliver methane gas(oline).

stefanslaw on January 28, 2015 at 7:42 AM

Seems like a fair deal to me. People with 8 kids who produce 10x more trash than I do SHOULD pay more than I do, no?

Timin203 on January 27, 2015 at 11:30 PM

If those are school age children, then they are already costing the tax paying neighbors at least $1,250,000 for their government education.

Reuben Hick on January 28, 2015 at 7:59 AM

Also, whoever wrote this is either an ignoramus or knows something that the rest of Seattle doesn’t…

I’ll go with ignoramus; having an interest in Giardia, I looked some stuff up, and here is an interesting bit of epidemiology:

Dogs kept indoors had a higher prevalence (18.5%) of Giardia than dogs kept outdoors (4.8%) (p < 0.001). Giardia infection was also more prevalent in 1-6 months old puppies (21.7%) compared to other groups (2.4%-7.5%) (p < 0.001). The prevalence of Giardia in dogs originally purchased from pet shops or breeding kennels was extremely high (21.5%) compared to that of dogs from individual households (4.3%) (p < 0.001)… No reports of human giardiasis transmitted from dogs have been made.

The prevalence of Giardia in Washington is also among the lowest of all states. I won’t even go into the nonsense about having to find where one’s cat buried its poop. Why do “progressives” hate science ?

F X Muldoon on January 28, 2015 at 8:14 AM

Thank you Seattle! We certainly don’t want biodegradable organic substances in landfills! Let’s keep our landfills pure!

essequam on January 28, 2015 at 8:21 AM

I would go out of my way to cover my trashcan with these tags.

Defenestratus on January 28, 2015 at 8:52 AM

“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.”

Huh?!

Akzed on January 28, 2015 at 9:03 AM

What is compost, a rotten heap of garbage? How much room does it take up in a year? Does it not attract animals? Why is it better for it to rot in your yard instead of a landfill? What if you live in an apartment? I cannot process this.

Akzed on January 28, 2015 at 9:05 AM

Remember a few Super Bowls ago when the Green Police commercial by Audi came out. I guess the people in Seattle saw that and said “You know what, that is not a bad idea!”

txaggie on January 28, 2015 at 9:13 AM

1. Get a container to store your food scraps in the kitchen.

Compost storage tips

• Use a soiled cardboard to-go container or a milk carton, newspaper, or a reusable container (rinse as needed).

• Call Recology at 415-XXX-XXXX to get a compost kitchen pail. You can purchase compostable bags to line your pail at most grocery stores and drug stores in the city (make sure they are certified “compostable”).

• Freeze your compostables and avoid all liners! Freezing compost prevents leaks and smells.

2. Learn what items can go in the green bin.

Meat, coffee grounds, greasy pizza boxes, hair, tissues, chop sticks, and soiled cardboard to-go containers can all go in the compost. Learn more about what can (and can’t!) go in the green bin.

http://www.sfenvironment.org/solution/how-can-i-start-composting-in-my-kitchen

wren on January 27, 2015 at 10:50 PM

A lot of people will avoid all this buy going to fast food places all the time. They’ll be fat and unhealthy, but the trash Nazis will be happy.

claudius on January 28, 2015 at 9:14 AM

Sounds like a great business opportunity. Buy a used garbage truck, slap on an astroturfy name like “Seattle Recycles for the Greater Good”, get some highschooler to do an Uber-like app (fixed day pickups? How 90s is that?), and market it as a privacy and stick it to the man thing.

worldtvlr on January 28, 2015 at 9:28 AM

I’d just start shitting in my trash can.

BobMbx on January 28, 2015 at 9:40 AM

“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.”

And the folks who live on the 18th floor have a garden where?

How soon before we see youtube explode with homeowner videos of neighbors putting food in someone elses’ garbage can the night before garbage day.

BobMbx on January 28, 2015 at 9:42 AM

Dusty on January 28, 2015 at 7:20 AM

Heh.

having an interest in Giardia,…

F X Muldoon on January 28, 2015 at 8:14 AM

Having had Giardia, I think the person is an idiot.

Huh?!

Akzed on January 28, 2015 at 9:03 AM

Do you put your compostables out there in a bin for the city to pick up? I know my area has city/county compost sites – though we don’t actually put things out as compostables, it’s where they take all the highway median grass clippings and the brush trimmings and such.

GWB on January 28, 2015 at 9:44 AM

I’d just start shitting in my trash can.

BobMbx on January 28, 2015 at 9:40 AM

OK, gonna channel Schadenfreude here and wonder if – for a ‘liberal’ voter – that would constitute a food item? Though it ain’t caviar……

neighbors putting food in someone elses’ garbage can the night before garbage day.

BobMbx on January 28, 2015 at 9:42 AM

Yep.

GWB on January 28, 2015 at 9:47 AM

I guess these same materials degrading in a compost bin don’t put off the same methane they would if in a landfill?

Tens of thousands of little landfills all over the city, pumping out the same volume of methane in total.

Midas on January 28, 2015 at 9:50 AM

Seattle Progs have more in store for its citizens.

Coming soon.
—————————————
Every citizen will be required to…

(1) Urinate in an approved container provided by the SPWC (Seattle Personal Waste Council), record the measured volume in your city approved SPWC logbook before disposing it in the appropriate receptacle. The date, time, and receptacle location must be entered in the log book as well.

(2) All nasal and ear waste must be accounted for in by placing all used tissues and Q-tips in a city approved, SPWC environmentally friendly bag. The bag shall be sent to the SPWC municipal mega-complex each month, no exceptions!. Please note: You will be required to pay for shipping and handling using an approved SPWC waste handling and delivery contractor.

(3) SPWC is retrofitting all toilets within the city limits to measure fecal weight, nutritional content, and of course providing SPWC with the identity of that citizen. The citizen will receive an annual bill, as well as a list of recommendations which will help in reducing costs if the citizen is deemed “waste challenged”. Waste challenged citizens will adhere to strict dietary guidelines and caloric limits which are not to be exceeded. Exceeding caloric limit(s) and/or refusing to follow our dietary guidelines will result in a monetary penalty and/or fine to which the amount will be determined by the SPWCDAC (Seattle Personal Waste Council Dietary Action Committee) and approved by a SPWCPJO (Seattle Personal Waste Council Progressive Justice Organization) approved judge. Please note: If you choose contest the results and appropriated fine, you can file for a hearing at the SPWC municipal mega-complex progressive judicial wing on the 115th floor in room # 4756002A.

(4)Under legislative consideration: NLAC (Navel Lint Action Committee). Collection, containment, and control sponsored by Citizens for a Lint Free Seattle.

StubbornGreenBurros on January 28, 2015 at 9:51 AM

OK, gonna channel Schadenfreude here and wonder if – for a ‘liberal’ voter – that would constitute a food item? Though it ain’t caviar……

GWB on January 28, 2015 at 9:47 AM

Food or not, how many fly wagon operators, making $8.00$15.00/hr are gonna move the “steamy pile” to look for rotten food….while its raining?

BobMbx on January 28, 2015 at 9:54 AM

Just sprinkle Skittles on top of your junk and Marshawn will grab it for you, Boss.

Christien on January 28, 2015 at 9:57 AM

StubbornGreenBurros on January 28, 2015 at 9:51 AM

I can see someday where you’ll need to be certified to take a dump. With the annual renewal fee, of course.

Then we can expect “pay to poop” schemes, where you can purchase an “EZPass” that unlocks the bathroom door.

BobMbx on January 28, 2015 at 10:01 AM

Seattle residents should compost their garbage in the middle of the streets. It’ll be throw-back-thursday kind of stuff – to the 14th century.

RSbrewer on January 28, 2015 at 10:02 AM

BobMbx on January 28, 2015 at 10:01 AM

I wonder if they’ll be a Fecal Justice Movement (pun unintentionally intended) where they go after citizens not pooping their fair share.

Wealthy, constipated citizens will be targeted.

StubbornGreenBurros on January 28, 2015 at 10:09 AM

What’s next? Confiscation of garbage disposals?

Ward Cleaver on January 28, 2015 at 10:11 AM

StubbornGreenBurros on January 28, 2015 at 10:09 AM

Ahhk….they’ll – there will…

StubbornGreenBurros on January 28, 2015 at 10:12 AM

BobMbx on January 28, 2015 at 9:54 AM

Heh. Don’t disagree. Just had to point out the Schadenfreude connection. :)

GWB on January 28, 2015 at 10:15 AM

Do you put your compostables out there in a bin for the city to pick up? I know my area has city/county compost sites – though we don’t actually put things out as compostables, it’s where they take all the highway median grass clippings and the brush trimmings and such. GWB on January 28, 2015 at 9:44 AM

We separate paper glass & metal in one can, and food waste in another. That’s about all I could be motivated to do.

“You can put that in your compost bin and buy it back next year in a bag and put it in your garden.”

What does that even mean?!

Akzed on January 28, 2015 at 10:20 AM

I’m going to stand up for conservative principles here and *shrug* my shoulders over Seattle and their garbage business.

Trash pick-up is a service the city provides for cash- its not some basic right enshrined in the state constitution and its not compulsory for residence.

The city has determined it wants the trash it picks up to be sorted, and kitchen slop goes into a green bin for separate handling.

Clearly users of the service have not been doing so reliably so the service provider is now enforcing the separation. Because the provider is a city, it uses regulatory authority to invoke fines- if it were a private entity, they would probably also fine you with a surcharge or stop your service.

If you don’t want to buy the trash pick-up service anymore, a resident can trundle their trash over to a county transfer station or sneak it into the dumpsters behind MacDonald’s.

Trash pick-up is not equivalent to the air you breathe, and the provider can enforce whatever parameters they desire.

You city-dwellers are a hoot.

ohmigosh, ohmigosh, they might restrict my unlimited garbage rights here!!! I deserve unmonitored refuse service!!11!

Dolce Far Niente on January 28, 2015 at 10:31 AM

Does Seattle not have any garbage disposals in their kitchens?

booger71 on January 28, 2015 at 10:31 AM

“You can put that in your compost bin and buy it back next year in a bag and put it in your garden.”

What does that even mean?!

Akzed on January 28, 2015 at 10:20 AM

It’s the kind of racket the Mob would be proud to operate, you either compost on your own, or you pay going both ways.

antipc on January 28, 2015 at 10:37 AM

What does that even mean?!

Akzed on January 28, 2015 at 10:20 AM

That was why I mentioned a compost bin for the city to pick up. If they run a compost activity (or contract it out), then you can go to the city and buy compost from them – sometimes cheaper than at the garden store. Hence the “buy back”.

Yeah, you *give* them your compost, and they *sell* it to whomever. Nice racket.

GWB on January 28, 2015 at 10:45 AM

This is what liberal/progressive/socialist government leads to. Scratch one of them and you find a fascist.

RedBaker on January 28, 2015 at 10:46 AM

Thank you Seattle! We certainly don’t want biodegradable organic substances in landfills! Let’s keep our landfills pure!
essequam on January 28, 2015 at 8:21 AM

Nothing biodegrades in a landfill. It’s a mostly sunless, moisture-free, compact, airless space where trash goes to mummify. Which, ignoring Seattle, is why biodegradable materials shouldn’t go in a landfill, and why composting is better if you have the space to do it.

Does Seattle not have any garbage disposals in their kitchens?
booger71 on January 28, 2015 at 10:31 AM

SE Wisconsin uses the food waste in our sewage to produce methane and fertilizer.

ZachV on January 28, 2015 at 10:50 AM

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.

Okay, I compost but would never put cake in the mix. Also every doofus knows you don’t compost anything protien…meats eggs etc. I would find a way around this and it would not be good for the community as a whole, but ya gotta do what ya gotta do.

Next up for Seattle is when the 15.00 / hr wage actually kicks in. Note to San Fran and NYC, you are being passed by the newest proggie kid on the block.

Barleybaby on January 28, 2015 at 10:53 AM

What does that even mean?!

Akzed on January 28, 2015 at 10:20 AM

I’m not from Seattle, but it sounds to me like they might have a system for recycling some food wastes, or thy have a volunary program where the city takes some of that stuff, composts it (90% is probably grass and leaves which may be mandatory recycling items and you have to buy compostable bags), and then sells the mulch made from the stuff. That’s what the person quoted meant by the “buy it back” remark.

Anyway, composting is a good idea. With Climate Change and all coming, and the world drying up almost completely, sources for moisture ladened compost will be as valuable as gold. Don’t let the eviroweenies corner the market on it — keep your food wastes and sell it to them.

Now that I think of it, I’ve got another idea for the red tag mocking. Put your trash out with exactly 9% food stuffs in it and an extra box away from the trash near the curb with the excess and hang a green tag on it noting “Excess Food Stuffs Looking For A Friendly Compost Bin”.

Dusty on January 28, 2015 at 10:53 AM

This sounds like another Michele Obama scheme, doesn’t it?

So, are they now mandating that the rabble bag all food stuffs, separately, so her “Starve-a-Student School Lunch Assault Team” can collect them, haul them to the school cafeterias, and feed this crap to the little peons?

Kinda like slopping hogs, huh Michele? That’s what you think of us, isn’t it?

If you don’t stop this, America, your kids will literally be eating Leftist garbage, soon.

No Left Turn on January 28, 2015 at 10:54 AM

Dolce Far Niente on January 28, 2015 at 10:31 AM

Thanks for the lecture, I hope you feel better.

The city govt is apparently mandating this, and conscripting the contractors to enforce it. I separate my trash thank you, else it wouldn’t get picked up as has happened when a recyclable bag was left atop the food waste bin.

That’s a far cry from this – “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.”

What the hell am I supposed to do with it?!

Akzed on January 28, 2015 at 11:00 AM

What Seattle drivers need is a hermetically sealed car trunk filled with garbage and that has a vent pipe going to a throttle body injection port of their fossil fuel car engine to deliver methane gas(oline).

stefanslaw on January 28, 2015 at 7:42 AM

Please don’t give the stupid hippies any bright ideas. They would do this even though the methane produced wouldn’t offset the lost gas mileage from constantly transporting the extra weight. Because math is not their strong suit. Otherwise they’d be supporting the keystone pipeline as a net greenhouse gas reducer rather than have all that crude transported by truck and train. But it’s never been about results or common sense, it’s about egotistically lording their environmental “superiority” over their neighbor, “proving” they are the superior human beings… enviro-nitwits are not much unlike the Klan, the Black Panthers, or La Raza.

CapnObvious on January 28, 2015 at 11:01 AM

So…will the abortion clinics be composting dead babies? Or will they continue to be sold to power plants to make electricity for IPhones?

BobMbx on January 28, 2015 at 11:02 AM

OK, gonna channel Schadenfreude here and wonder if – for a ‘liberal’ voter – that would constitute a food item? Though it ain’t caviar……

GWB on January 28, 2015 at 9:47 AM

Just put a note on it “obama’s crap”.

Actually Obama’s azz is a pretty safe place to be.
Ned Pepper on August 11, 2014 at 4:36 PM

Schadenfreude on January 28, 2015 at 11:10 AM

“Ruskies don`t take a dump without a plan.” Guess the movie! :)

ThePrez on January 27, 2015 at 10:27 PM

The Hunt For Red October.

My favorite;

Capt. Mancuso;

All right, Mr. Ryan, we just unzipped our fly. Now, if that b******d even twitches, I’ll blow him straight to Mars.

cheers

eon

eon on January 27, 2015 at 10:51 PM

So many quotes from this movie, which is my all-time favorite. Name the Russian sub and captain who comes to attack.

teotwawki on January 28, 2015 at 11:12 AM

homeless ravaged, Pot smoking, PC Socialists.A city in decay

RdLake on January 28, 2015 at 11:30 AM

I guess these same materials degrading in a compost bin don’t put off the same methane they would if in a landfill?

Tens of thousands of little landfills all over the city, pumping out the same volume of methane in total.

Midas on January 28, 2015 at 9:50 AM

This was exactly my reaction. That somehow following the Church of Gaia instructions on sorting food wastes into a compost bin makes you so moral that the normal process of decomposition is averted and magically no methane is produced!

Just like AGW, the science does not support such a claim, so they revert to green emotional dogma.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on January 28, 2015 at 11:36 AM

Nothing biodegrades in a landfill. It’s a mostly sunless, moisture-free, compact, airless space where trash goes to mummify. Which, ignoring Seattle, is why biodegradable materials shouldn’t go in a landfill, and why composting is better if you have the space to do it. ZachV on January 28, 2015 at 10:50 AM

Were this true, every Home Depot could be built atop a former landfill using slab on grade construction without concern for any special type of foundation to account for settlement. Every landfill I’ve seen has settled, and mostly due to decomposition of organics.

“Better” is a subjective judgement, and requires more of an argument.

Trillions of tons of organics have been naturally recycled in 3.5 billion years, multiple times over in fact, and this process will continue no matter where you put your waste.

Difficultas_Est_Imperium on January 28, 2015 at 11:40 AM

So I scrape my food into my neighbors can and watch him get publicly humiliated?

right2bright on January 28, 2015 at 11:49 AM

Nothing biodegrades in a landfill.

 
SCIENCE!
 

It’s a mostly sunless, moisture-free, compact, airless space where trash goes to mummify.

 
+1, *exactly* like the sewage example you presented as a positive.
 
Hint: Google “anaerobic digester”.
 

Which, ignoring Seattle, is why biodegradable materials shouldn’t go in a landfill, and why composting is better if you have the space to do it.

 
We’re getting somewhere with that, though. Organics can either take up space, which we have an absolutely overwhelming abundance of,
 
1) in a landfill or
 
2) somewhere else.
 
It HAS to go somewhere, though. One option (composting) releases harmful pollutants to make more dirt, requires continued transportation, and must involve additional dirt storage later.
 
The other (landfill) stays where it is, keep those harmful pollutants contained, and makes electricity with the gases that composting just lets float up to the ozone layer.
 

Does Seattle not have any garbage disposals in their kitchens?
 
booger71 on January 28, 2015 at 10:31 AM

 
SE Wisconsin uses the food waste in our sewage to produce methane and fertilizer.
 
ZachV on January 28, 2015 at 10:50 AM

 
You do understand that’s exactly the same anaerobic process landfills incorporate to “use the food waste in our sewage to produce methane”, right?
 

As of 1995, California has 56 of these “landfill gas recovery facilities;” 14 of them collected only gases and 42 others collected gases to produce electricity. These electricity facilities have an installed capacity of about 246 megawatts.
 
http://www.energy.ca.gov/biomass/landfill_gas.html

rogerb on January 28, 2015 at 11:50 AM

Hope they get past the cat shit and used Depends in their noble quest.

John the Libertarian on January 28, 2015 at 11:59 AM

…and its not compulsory for residence.

Dolce Far Niente on January 28, 2015 at 10:31 AM

I don’t know what Seattle’s rules are but in the city that I live in California, having a city garbage can is compulsory in that, you have to pay for one whether you use it or not.

There is no opt out of trash service here.

Neitherleftorright on January 28, 2015 at 11:59 AM

. . . #CompostedDogcrapMatters . . . !

Smegley on January 28, 2015 at 12:01 PM

I would put that tag on my trash bin with pride! If you want to go through my trash and mulch it or whatever you want, then do it. Just don’t charge me more money and don’t expect me to do anything different! I shred any documents that have personal info on them so I don’t care what you do with my trash.

jeffn21 on January 28, 2015 at 12:02 PM

Idiots in seattle will probably start fining people for EXHALING (CO2) greenhouse gas!

Lew in Colorado on January 28, 2015 at 12:03 PM

As a conservative I have been a sort of recycler and composter for most of my life. Partially because it often is better for the overall environment and my environment, but mostly because it is cost effective.

What I don’t need is the hall monitor, classroom snitch or nanny telling me to do it.

Neitherleftorright on January 28, 2015 at 12:04 PM

Where do I dump the cat poop? Oh I got it, with the food waste. Let the City of Seattle sort it out.

rhombus on January 28, 2015 at 12:11 PM

Just for fun I hope someone prints thousands of the tickets and tags every garbage can in Seattle and let the judges sort it out!!!

IXXINY on January 28, 2015 at 12:36 PM

What the hell am I supposed to do with it?!

Use a garbage disposer and send it down the sewer – bones could find their way to the mayor’s lawn.

Regardless, it is all a scam; at 3.8 million square miles, there is plenty of land in the US for landfill. It has been estimated that a landfill 10 miles square would serve the US for the next 100 years which means you could put it in the middle of Detroit. Detroit would have 132 square miles left, and nobody would notice, except for the improvement.

F X Muldoon on January 28, 2015 at 12:43 PM

Seattle residents should compost their garbage in the middle of the streets. It’ll be throw-back-thursday kind of stuff – to the 14th century.

RSbrewer on January 28, 2015 at 10:02 AM

Sorta like throw out your dead day during the plague.

What’s next? Confiscation of garbage disposals?

Ward Cleaver on January 28, 2015 at 10:11 AM

I’m sure someone will invent some sort of meter to monitor how must waste you’re running through that sucker. In addition, what about grocery stores that throw out hundreds of pounds of rotten stuff that doesn’t get sold?

chewmeister on January 28, 2015 at 12:46 PM

Idiots in seattle will probably start fining people for EXHALING (CO2) greenhouse gas!

Lew in Colorado on January 28, 2015 at 12:03 PM

That’s probably already in the works. Sorta like a breathalyzer for CO2.

chewmeister on January 28, 2015 at 12:49 PM

Out here in my undisclosed non-Seattle location, I burn a lot of stuff. It keeps the landfills more wonderful, but mostly it means I don’t have to haul all this stuff to the street.

Surellin on January 28, 2015 at 1:01 PM

What’s next? Confiscation of garbage disposals?

Ward Cleaver on January 28, 2015 at 10:11 AM

The food-trash law will probably encourage many people to put a lot more food down their garbage disposals, into the city’s wastewater system, which can be a much more expensive and less ‘green’ way to dispose of food waste than putting it in the trash can.

The second largest component of landfills in the United States is organic waste, and landfills are the single largest source of methane gas.

Last week it was cow farts that was ‘the single largest source of methane gas’, and the week before that it was oil/gas drilling. Next week it will probably be volcanic activity due to anthropogenic global warming or whatever. As I see it, this kind of quote has zero credibility. It sounds like it was made up to fit the particular environmental program they are pushing at the moment, just like all the other ‘single largest source of methane gas’ items. It might be true, but who would be able to tell the difference with all the lies and distortions being pitched each week?

s1im on January 28, 2015 at 1:11 PM

What are you supposed to do with food waste?

claudius on January 27, 2015 at 10:36 PM

Run it down the disposal and clog up their sewer lines. That makes it the CITY’S problem, not the homeowner. What else do these incompetent BUREAUCRATS think will happen?

dominigan on January 28, 2015 at 1:12 PM

That makes it the CITY’S problem…

The whole plan will not only be the city’s problem, but also the relevant county’s and the state’s as more people turn to fly tipping to get past onerous garbage regulations.

F X Muldoon on January 28, 2015 at 1:16 PM

I live in the seattle suburbs. We are not under trash surveillance, but our city gives a financial incentive for sorting garbage through the pricing mechanism of the service. We pay a monthly rate based on the size of the bin we want for garbage. At no additional cost we have a huge bin for yard/compost and a huge bin for recyclables, and we can put extra recyclables out in a cardboard box if they don’t fit in the huge bin (useful for those of us who shop on Amazon a lot). If you want to save money on how much you pay for garbage service, then you sort your food and other compost into the yard waste bin and order a smaller garbage bin. This is a much better approach, in my opinion, than the approach Seattle is taking.

vermillionsky on January 28, 2015 at 1:31 PM

oh, and the compost bin allows for food-covered paper products, such as pizza boxes and fast food wrappers. this removes even more waste from the garbage.

vermillionsky on January 28, 2015 at 1:33 PM

This was all foreseen in an Audi Green Police super bowl ad.

Particular Set of Skills on January 28, 2015 at 1:40 PM

When The Cascadia Subduction Zone has a megathrust earthquake and the resulting tsunami, food in their garbage bags will seem like a luxury. I hope that does not happen for a long time, but the last one was over 300 years ago.

birdwatcher on January 28, 2015 at 3:16 PM

Audi Green Police ad is all too real.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Ml54UuAoLSo

islandman78 on January 28, 2015 at 3:23 PM

Orwellian as anything.

Dick Richard on January 28, 2015 at 3:39 PM

How are you going to monitor that, with a trash agent on every street?

fogw on January 27, 2015 at 10:12 PM

School children will be enlisted into this program. They will be given indoctrination at school, and instructed to report violators to the “authorities”.

Maybe they will even get uniforms with sashes; there might be summer camps, rank, and awards.

Seattle’s own variation on a theme of Hitler Youth.

CelebrateHomogeneity on January 28, 2015 at 3:57 PM

The city I Iive in requires garbage to be in clear garbage bags now. Nowhere to hide anything from the neighbors eyes!

Put your trash in opaque bags, then put those into the clear plastic bags. :-{)}}

CelebrateHomogeneity on January 28, 2015 at 3:59 PM

Put your trash in opaque bags, then put those into the clear plastic bags. :-{)}}

CelebrateHomogeneity on January 28, 2015 at 3:59 PM

You will be among the first to receive re-education. Maybe we’ll just Pinochet you.

BobMbx on January 28, 2015 at 6:05 PM

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.

Scruem! I’d put one on my own trash cans and this right next to it. Hell, I’ve been known to throw aluminum soft drink cans into the regular trash bin with a recycle bin right nest to it just because I was told that it was mandatory to recycle. I really hate nanny staters.

Oldnuke on January 28, 2015 at 6:39 PM

If you get 5 of those red tags, does that mean you get to be an ACE?

COAS on January 28, 2015 at 6:39 PM

If I had to live in Seattle; I’d look like an extreme hoarder…
because I’d save all my fecal matter to load up the top of any/every trash bag before putting it on the curb.

If you want to go through each bag to shame me, I should at least make it worthwhile by giving you some presents to find while digging.

If I could purchase dirty diapers from sick infants to use as well, I would.

Should I find myself in Seattle; which household pet has the most offensive and disturbing fecal output possible?

gekkobear on January 28, 2015 at 7:13 PM

Compact the idiot city pols into Soylent Green.

vnvet on January 28, 2015 at 7:23 PM

(4)Under legislative consideration: NLAC (Navel Lint Action Committee). Collection, containment, and control sponsored by Citizens for a Lint Free Seattle.

StubbornGreenBurros on January 28, 2015 at 9:51 AM

LOLOL! Especially Number 4.

PatriotGal2257 on January 28, 2015 at 8:23 PM

This was all foreseen in an Audi Green Police super bowl ad.

Particular Set of Skills on January 28, 2015 at 1:40 PM

The Audi Green Police ad was created by a San Francisco ad agency.

While Super Bowl fans in the rest of the country were laughing hysterically at the ad, San Francisco residents were just rolling their eyes, since the ad was just a slight exaggeration of everyday life in Nancy Pelosi’s Liberal Congressional District.

Audi’s “Green Police” Super Bowl ad was clearly out to mock environmentalist fervor — and it hit close to home in greener-than-thou San Francisco.

Perhaps that’s because it was the brainchild of Audi’s advertising agency, San Francisco independent Venables Bell & Partners.

One moment in particular resonated with San Franciscans: A man standing at a sink prepares to dump a rind in his sink’s disposal unit — an act ostensibly banned by San Francisco’s new composting mandate, one of Mayor Gavin Newsom’s many green initiatives.

The locally conceived advertisement was enough to get Newsom, who has pushed for the type of recycling and composting mandates that give the spot its believably authoritarian edge, was moved to tweet, “Ok .. That “green police” Audi commercial hits home.”

http://www.nbcbayarea.com/news/green/San-Francisco-Mayor-Responds-to-Green-Police-Super-Bowl-Ad-jw-83817937.html

Fast Forward to 2015…Former San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom is now the Lt. Governor of California and is considered a very likely candidate to run for Governor of California when current California Governor Jerry “Moonbeam” Brown is termed out of office at the end of his current term.

Please say a prayer for California! We need all the help we can get to dig out of the huge mess that has been created in California!

wren on January 28, 2015 at 10:11 PM

If you really want people to compost, pay them for it.

Texas Zombie on January 29, 2015 at 1:21 PM

Doesn’t composting cause greenhouse gas emissions?

It seems the only rational response to this measure is to put any unauthorized food you are disposing of into your neighbor’s trashcan.

virgo on January 31, 2015 at 12:34 AM

This is yet another reason why I refused to move to the city of Seattle when we moved back to Washington in 2013. The city had elected jackass of the decade Mike McGinn, and later elected a bona-fide, self-described socialist to the city council (and she has proceeded to make the new mayor her lap dog, with apologies to all of the nice lap dogs out there). Seattle is stuffed with sanctimonious, self-righteous proglodytes, and frankly, I think that the voters there deserve everything that they are getting. The 13 Republicans left in Seattle should get out while they can, because the city is becoming a black hole whose gravity is so strong that not even logic and common sense can escape.

Horologium on January 31, 2015 at 2:25 AM

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