Seattle City Council vs Table Scraps

Seattle is a pretty cool town. I love living here, but stupid crap like this makes me a bit itchier to get out of the city limits. Here’s the gist:

All single-family homes in Seattle must sign up for table-scrap recycling in 2009, the City Council decided Monday.

While residents will have to pay for the service, the city will not check whether they are actually dumping food in the new separate bin.

That’s right. Seattle’s city council in all its foresight and wisdom deemed it necessary to force people to pay for food-scrap recycling while not enforcing the law. We’re talking about food-scraps. Last time I checked food-scraps are biodegradable and quite quickly turn into what is essentially dirt, you know, the stuff of which Mother Earth is made. So how are we going to “recycle” table-scraps? One giant community compost pile?

And here’s another rich part:

Recycling food waste will be voluntary for apartments, as well as for businesses, which produce twice as much food waste as residents.

Conlin said he hopes garbage-collection rates can be adjusted to absorb some of the additional cost homeowners will have to pay for food recycling.

So, the real producers of food waste, apartments and businesses, can opt out of this regulatory nitpicking. I’m glad for them, but if food waste was really a problem wouldn’t be smart to try to stop the major source of the problem? This is like plugging a small hole in the dam while ignoring the big gushing hole next to it. Very very smart.

Luckily, I don’t plan on being a homeowner any time soon, and I am seriously considering moving out of the city limits. I’d move out of the county limits if it wasn’t obnoxious to do so.

(via Soundpolitics)

8 thoughts on “Seattle City Council vs Table Scraps

  1. Actually, Steve, even if landfills were designed to let things biodegrade (most aren’t), we’re literally throwing resources away.

    We lose an incredible amount of potential nutrients for our soil when we don’t compost our food waste. Rather than turn it into something that is fundamentally beneficial, we’re literally throwing it away on a massive scale such that it can’t be used ever again. That’s insanity. We should have been recycling our scraps all along.

    The world is changing, my friend. Keep up.

  2. I like your explanation of the process of biodegradation. It’s full of truthiness.

    I also agree that this is ridiculous. Really, when are politicians going to realize that the status quo is working just fine, and that there’s absolutely no reason to start making some difficult yet important changes to try and get us back on the right environmental path.

  3. I think the real solution is less laws and more smart living which can’t/shouldn’t be enforced by laws. People like to say morality can’t be legislated, but it seems a lot of the people who say that think smart living can be legislated. I’d disagree with both for the same reason.

    If old coal mines can be returned to a very reusable state, I highly doubt landfills full(?) of rich food matter are going to end up being a waste in the end. It’s great for planting trees on that can be used for timber or planting more corn on to make some biodiesel . . . if that’s really what people wanted.

    Besides, as a hungry bachelor who hates buying food, I’m annoyed that any food scraps are still being thrown out.

  4. I just wish they’d make recycling mandatory for apartments. It’s crazy stupid how wasteful apartment living is without recycling. I’d gladly (well, not gladly, but willingly) pay extra for it. As it is right now, we have to save up all our recyclables and cart them to my work to sneak them into the recycle dumpster. It gets pretty bad if we let it go for too long…”where’d the ferret go?” “I don’t know, check the cardboard mountain in the next room”

  5. Things don’t biodegrade in landfills. I don’t have the source for this, but I know an ecology professor did a study where he dug into several old, capped landfills and found that below about 3 feet nothing had biodegraded in 50 years. You could still read 50 year old newspapers with ease and there was an old hotdog that was edible.

    I feel that if they make this a law it should be equal between residents and businesses. Restaurants could easily recycle food (I know because we separated food scraps at the lodges I worked at and fed the fishes with it :mrgreen: ) Its a little more difficult with an office space in a high-rise.

    I don’t believe its wrong for the city to regulate this. Landfills are expensive and therefore its in their best interest to minimize the use of them as much as possible to save costs. The city council isn’t legislating “smart living” they are legislating the use of their landfill. If you look at in that context, it is totally fair. Sure its a little inconvenient but in the end it is a more efficient use of resources.

  6. We sell machines here in New York that can convert all edible food scraps to waste water with in 24 hours.Any body interested call me 516-354-6583.P.S. this is not a grinder

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