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WA: Seattle City Council Passes Dollar Compost Fine

You may want to think twice before dumping your food in the trash.

A new Seattle ordinance passed on Monday says that citizens could be fined a dollar for having too much table scraps in the trash that could have gone into a compost bin, according to the Seattle Times.

Collectors already check trash in single-family homes for having too much plastic or glass in the trash. Currently, Seattle encourages, but does not require, single-family homes, businesses or apartment buildings to compost, although the apartment buildings must have compost bins available for those who wish to use them.

The new rules would allow trash collectors to look through trash when they dump the trash into trucks. If items that could have gone to compost make up more than 10 percent of the trash, a note will be left on the can explaining that a dollar fine was added to the resident’s garbage bill.

Businesses are subject to the same 10 percent threshold, but will have two warnings before they are fined $50 on the third violation. Dumpsters will be inspected on a random basis.

Dumpsters and trashcans will be tagged with educational tickets starting January 1, 2015. Fines will start in July 2015. The city banned recyclable materials from the trash in 2005, but since that time less than $2,000 has been collected.

Seattle Public Utilities solid waste director Tim Croll said, in talking with the Seattle Times, that “We care more about reminding people to separate their materials” than about raising money with the measure. SPU reportedly asked the council to consider the compost fine because Seattle was falling short of projected recycling rate goals (60 percent by 2015).

The council vote was unanimous with nine votes. No public hearing was necessary to pass the ordinance.

Featured image from Shutterstock

Brad Matthews

Brad Matthews is the Digital Content Coordinator intern for Watchdog Wire. Twitter is @bradmatthewsDC

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Categories: Budget and Finance, Courts & Law, Environment, Must Read
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