As of January 1st, Seattle residents must abide by the city’s new trash laws or risk getting a red tag placed on their garbage bins. According to the law, food waste must be placed in the proper composting bins. If garbage collectors find food mixed in with the regular trash, they will tag the bin with a red tag, notifying offenders and their neighbors of their violation. In June, those tags will be replaced by fines. Only $1 per violation, but then again, these things always start out small.
Seattle is the first city in the United States to go beyond garbage-sorting recommendations to actually fine homeowners. A few other cities have composting laws as well, but they have yet to penalize homeowners for violating those regulations. If Seattle’s new law proves successful – by whatever measure the treehuggers use to define success – it will doubtlessly spread elsewhere.
Surrendering Freedom With a Smile
It’s mindboggling that there are Americans out there who support this kind of government intrusion. It never ceases to amaze me how many U.S. citizens not only stand by to watch their freedoms evaporate, but actually lobby for these laws. These people want less freedom. They want more government intrusion. I’m reminded of the kid in every class who would keep a running tally of students who violated some minor rule when the teacher was out of the room. Seattle must be where these kids move when they grow up.
That’s not to argue in favor of wasting food, but let’s leave a person’s trash to their own discretion. If the earthy libs want to run campaigns to promote recycling and composting and turning the faucet off when you brush your teeth, fine. Those who want to feel like they are making a difference can adopt these behaviors and ignore the mountain of evidence that says they are wasting their time and energy. But to make these environmentalist whacko principles law is another matter altogether.
What’s next? Will we soon see laws that outlaw SUVs? Will homeowners be fined for buying paper napkins? Will we see meter readers spray-paint houses with scarlet letters if the residents use too much water? How can anyone say these are dystopian fantasies when garbage men are digging through the trash for banana peels? How can anyone dismiss libertarian concerns when cities are banning plastic bags and styrofoam cups?
Laws, like government, are a necessary evil in a civilization. But too often, these laws are used to indulge those who want everyone to live their prescribed kind of life. They drag out environmental statistics and health reports to justify their existence, but these laws are not about saving the earth or cutting taxes. They are meant to give those classroom tattletales a satisfaction they don’t deserve.