Most people would agree that recycling is "a good thing. " Certainly I do. But here's what I don't agree with: "the government" scrutinizing...

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Today, the crushing bureaucracy

Most people would agree that recycling is “a good thing.” Certainly I do.

But here’s what I don’t agree with: “the government” scrutinizing the stuff in my garbage can!

But “the government” just wants me to “do the right thing for the environment” by recycling, right? But the power of government should not be used to force the issue. This is not just “an environment issue,” or a “cost issue,” it is also a “privacy issue.” Governments — local, state and federal — are crossing privacy boundaries at alarming rates.

While the government may have a legitimate interest in its citizens’ recycling compliance, my garbage is still my business, after all. If “the government” wants people to recycle more, give the people greater incentives, not more intrusive “government-sponsored” penalties.

And make it easier, for Pete’s sake!

Since when did Seattle residents all work for “the government”? Until now, the recycling program had been “voluntary,” and I didn’t mind being compliant. But now — at least in Seattle — it’s compulsory. If Seattle is anything like Mason County, not only must: 1) “tin cans be rinsed, flattened, and labels removed,” but, 2) “aluminum cans must be rinsed and flattened,” 3) “glass must be rinsed, unbroken, with lids removed,” 4) “plastic bottles and jugs are to have the lids removed and be rinsed and flattened,” 5) “mixed paper, dry junk mail, school papers, copy paper, paper sacks, slick brochures, note paper, envelopes, cereal boxes, and flattened cardboard” is acceptable, but “shredded paper” is not — unless “placed in a paper bag”; 6) “Newspapers are to be separated” but “not tied or bundled.”

Do most of us have time to follow all these intricate instructions — correctly? Probably not! Will we be penalized by “the government” if we don’t? You bet your sweet bippy — if we live in Seattle, that is!

And what about people with disabilities? Will their garbage be left sitting on the street because all they could manage was to tote it as far as the curb — not separate it in the intricate manner necessary to placate an overarching bureaucrat? Will sanitation become an issue? Possibly. Will fines? Most definitely.


I had thought it was the federal government that was getting out of control when it comes to privacy issues; my neighborhood “commissar” had not informed me that the local governments were now getting in on the deal.

Brent Taintor sorts it out in Shelton.