fbpx

Seattle to Enforce Green Living Initiatives With Fines

Let’s face it: most Americans approve of the concept of protecting the environment. Where disagreements tend to emerge is whether green practices should be compulsory or remain voluntary.

In most cases, mandatory environmental regulations focus on behaviors that are prohibited, such as littering, watering your lawn while raining, or dumping toxic chemicals into a river or lake. In other cases, eco-friendly habits are incentivized in some way, like giving out rewards points for recycling, issuing tax rebates for green technological upgrades, or permitting HOV lane usage for drivers of hybrid vehicles.

It’s fairly rare for municipalities to compel people to embrace these green initiatives, especially at the individual level. However, the city of Seattle is becoming one of the first major urban areas to require its residents to adopt the sustainable practice of composting.

Compost in Seattle… Or Else!

As of the beginning of this year, it is now illegal for Seattleites to put too much food waste into their garbage containers. In fact, if any such receptacle is found to contain more than ten percent organic waste and/or recyclable material, its owner will receive a citation which boldly states, “Items in Your Garbage Violate Recycling, Food and Yard Waste Requirements!

 

Green living
This ‘trash’ is in violation of recycling requirements.

 

And as of July first, each of these citations will be accompanied by a $1 fine that will appear on a garbage customer’s bi-monthly bill. For apartment complexes and similar multi-family housing residences, two warning citations will be issued; but a third violation will result in a $50 fine for the property owner.

How Does This Initiative Work?

You may be asking some questions about this unorthodox law in Seattle. For example:

  • Who is responsible for determining whether a particular trash receptacle has too much illegal material in it? Not the police or sheriff’s deputies. Frontline garbage collectors will be the people tasked with writing and handing out these citations.
  • How will they determine whether a specific garbage container has more than ten percent of compostable or recyclable material? The law does not stipulate a particular method. Garbage collectors may just be making their own estimations and writing citations accordingly.
  • Do homeowners have any recourse to challenge these citations? In theory, they could go to court to fight the fine(s). But in practice, that might be cost-prohibitive and/or a waste of time for most people.

 

Green living
That’s one more dollar you won’t be able to spend.

 

What’s the Point?

You may also be wondering what the specific motivation is behind Seattle’s “composting fine” initiative. Here’s the short answer: the city has set a goal to become a zero-waste community sometime this century. Moreover, it has established a benchmark of recycling 60% of its total solid waste by the end of this year. Many current studies show that figure at around 56% right now, so city officials are hoping that the new law will help Seattle attain its 60% goal.

Here’s one other thing: Seattle has also committed to increasing that recyclable figure to 70% by 2025. It remains to be seen whether measures such as implementing an even lower percentage of allowable organic or recyclable waste and/or assessing higher fines for violations will be adopted in order to reach the 70% milestone.

 

Green living
This infographic illustrates the difference between a law-abiding citizen and a criminal.

 

But for now, Seattle residents will have to redouble their efforts to compost food waste and recycle other materials in order to afford being fined. Will this initiative achieve its intended effect? Or will its rocky implementation cause a backlash among the Seattle populace? Only time will tell.

Written by Del Thebaud

Image #3 Credit Source: Seattle.gov

 

41 Years of Excellence
20% OFF
on Gutter Helmet | 0% Interest for 24 Months† | Sale Ends August 31st
*By clicking below, I’m interested in having your products installed on my home and would like to learn more about Gutter Helmet by Harry Helmet products and sales in the future - I understand you use an autodialing phone and text system and my consent is not required to obtain a free estimate - I can call 888-543-5638 instead.

REVIEWS

135,000 HAPPY CUSTOMERS & COUNTING

I recently had the Gutter Helmet by Harry Helmet installed on my house. It not only looks amazing, but the guys arrived on time, were professional and efficiently got the job done. I am very satisfied with Gutter Helmet's attention to detail and fulfilling their work as promised. I will definitely tell my neighbors about the Gutter Helmet.
StarStarStarStarStar
I have had Gutter Helmets for 20 years. In all that time I've never had a problem until recently a bird's nest found its way into one of my gutters. The installer who came to replace the product was the same installer from 20 years earlier. Now that's impressive. Everyone at Gutter Helmet inclusive of the office staff were professional and a pleasure to work with.
StarStarStarStarStar
Gutter Helmet by Harry Helmet just replaced our roof and we could not be more satisfied. The crew showed up early, worked all day and stayed late, were professional and caring regarding the project and the surrounding impact it had on our property and home. They completed the roof quickly and it looks simply amazing!
StarStarStarStarStar
VERY happy with our entire experience adding Gutter Helmet by Harry Helmet to our house. Installing this was a great value for us. The gutters are working perfectly in heavy downpours and with year-long leaves and debris coming down from our river birches. Terrific customer service and a first class product.
StarStarStarStarStar
We needed our roof repaired due to wind damage. After several quotes, Gutter Helmet was the only company that went into our attic to look and see if more damage had occurred. If it wasn't for them taking the extra time to look at everything, we would have had rotting wood under our new roof. They were very professional and gave a fair quote.
StarStarStarStarStar
We just had Gutter Helmet installed on our gutters and couldn't be happier. They provided us with useful information about Gutter Helmet and cleaned up everything, leaving no mess behind. We definitely recommend Gutter Helmet to anyone considering this product.
StarStarStarStarStar

41 Years of Excellence - 20% OFF

We work hard with each manufacturer to offer our customers the best promotions monthly.

Find a Location

Serving a Location Near You

Careers

Join the Harry Helmet Family

We're seeking fun, outgoing, and confident individuals who enjoy winning to join our team. Harry Helmet is an equal opportunity employer and we operate a safety first & drug-free workplace focused on employee safety. Great pay and benefits, apply today!