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Friday, August 20, 2010

Cleveland's Green Snitch Trashcans

Great... This article from the Cleveland Dealer (h/t Michelle Malkin) relates the latest efforts to invade your privacy and garner fines for not recycling.

From the article by Mark Gillispie:

"It would be a stretch to say that Big Brother will hang out in Clevelanders' trash cans, but the city plans to sort through curbside trash to make sure residents are recycling -- and fine them $100 if they don't.

"The move is part of a high-tech collection system the city will roll out next year with new trash and recycling carts embedded with radio frequency identification chips and bar codes.

"The chips will allow city workers to monitor how often residents roll carts to the curb for collection. If a chip show a recyclable cart hasn't been brought to the curb in weeks, a trash supervisor will sort through the trash for recyclables.

"Trash carts containing more than 10 percent recyclable material could lead to a $100 fine, according to Waste Collection Commissioner Ronnie Owens. Recyclables include glass, metal cans, plastic bottles, paper and cardboard.

"City Council on Wednesday approved spending $2.5 million on high-tech carts for 25,000 households across the city, expanding a pilot program that began in 2007 with 15,000 households.

"The expansion will continue at 25,000 households a year until nearly all of the city's 150,000 residences are included. Existing carts might be retrofitted with the microchips."

Electronic snitches in your front yard. And perhaps it's coming to your neighborhood soon...

"The chip-embedded carts are just starting to catch on elsewhere. The Washington, D.C. suburb of Alexandria, Va., earlier this year announced it would issue carts to check whether people are recycling."

And what's the next step? Hard to say but...

"Some cities in England have used the high-tech trash carts for several years to weigh how much garbage people throw out. People are charged extra for exceeding allotted limits."

As the government (federal, state, and local) begin to run out of money to spend, what are the odds that new "green" regulations and hefty fines will be wheeled out to fill those coffers-- or rather to stave off insolvency for another year or so.

"The city stepped up enforcement of ordinances governing trash collection last year by issuing 2,900 tickets, nearly five times more tickets than in 2008. Those infractions include citations for people who put out their trash too early or fail to bring in their garbage cans from the curb in a timely manner.

"The Division of Waste Collection is on track to meet its goal of issuing 4,000 citations this year, Owens said."

Yup. Right on goal to collect $400,000 (at least) for the city. So let's review. Cleveland is now issuing snitch trashcans in their ongoing effort to issue trash citations and collect money-- with goals and everything.

And nearly hidden in the bottom middle of the article is this wonderful news for landlords:

"The new law also prohibits people from setting out excessive amounts of trash on tree lawns, which officials say has been an ongoing problem. Fines for excessive trash will range from $250 to $500 depending on the amount.

"In either case, the property owner receives the citation. Landlords are responsible for making sure their tenants follow the law."

Hmm. Well, at least those poor old tenants who are using their lawns to store trash won't be fined. There's an adage that one should never, never, never, sue poor people. Do you think Cleveland City Council's taken that idea to heart?


  1. Heh, heh, heh. Gotta laugh at this one (through tears, of course).

    It's old news here in Progressive Paradise, though, where years ago pre-tech human beings were hired to comb through garbage cans looking for misplaced recyclables; later, the City discovered that they had no market for many of the recyclables that they did collect. No matter.

    In Cleveland they cut right to the chase--a paid ticket is money to squander elsewhere, even if the sorted recyclables get sent to the same-ol' landfill.

  2. The city hired people to go through your trash, QR? Geez... I've heard they do that in Switzerland.

    Man, I wish they thought of that around here. I can think of a few ways of making my trash particularly rank.

    Back when I was doing a lot of volunteer work, I used to get the crappiest jobs... digging through dumpsters two days after a party looking for a pair of somebody's glasses comes to mind-- 2-day-spoiled wine and watermelon rinds. Heckuva party, huh?

    But I learned from that experience (and others) valuable lessons about spoilage and getting the time just right for maximum odor and tactile grossness.

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