Seattle City Council passes dollar compost fine


COMPOST FINE: Seattle residents must compost their food waste or be fined a dollar.

By Brad Matthews |

You may want to think twice before dumping your food in the trash if you’re in Seattle.

A new Seattle ordinance passed on earlier this week says citizens could be fined a dollar for having too much table scraps in the trash that could have gone into a compost bin, according to the Seattle Times.

Collectors already check trash in single-family homes for having too much plastic or glass in the trash. Seattle encourages, but does not require, single-family homes, businesses or apartment buildings to compost, although the apartment buildings must have compost bins available for those who wish to use them.

The new rules would allow trash collectors to look through trash when they dump the trash into trucks. If items that could have gone to compost make up more than 10 percent of the trash, a note will be left on the can explaining that a dollar fine was added to the resident’s garbage bill.

Businesses are subject to the same 10 percent threshold, but will have two warnings before they are fined $50 on the third violation. Dumpsters will be inspected on a random basis.

Dumpsters and trashcans will be tagged with educational tickets starting Jan. 1. Fines will start in July. The city banned recyclable materials from the trash in 2005.

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