Seattle To Fine Residents For Throwing Too Much Food In Garbage

| by Michael Allen

A new law went into effect in Seattle, Washington, on Jan. 1 that fines residents whose garbage cans exceed a ten percent limit on food waste.

The Seattle City Council passed the law in September 2014 without public comment, noted the Seattle Times. The city banned recyclable items from trash cans back in 2005.

People who violate the new ordinance will get a red tag posted on their garbage bin.

"I'm sure neighbors are going to see these on their other neighbors' cans," Rodney Watkins, of Recology CleanScapes, a waste contractor for the city, told NPR.

"You can see all the oranges and coffee grounds," added Watkins. "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."

While other cities such as San Francisco and Vancouver have passed laws that require the composting of food, Seattle is the first major city that is fining folks.

According to The Washington Post, the new law is supposed to help Seattle reach its goal of recycling 60 percent of its trash.

Seattle Public Utilities believes that every household throws about 400 pounds of food into the garbage each year.

The city won't officially start fining people until July. Single households will have to pay $1, while condos, apartments and commercial structures will have to pay $50.

Sources: NPR, Seattle Times, The Washington Post
Image Credit: Diham