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Smart Trash Carts Tell If You Haven't Been Recycling

samzenpus posted more than 4 years ago | from the clean-up-or-pay-up dept.

Earth 622

Starting next year Cleveland residents face paying a $100 fine if they don't recycle, and the city's new high-tech trash cans will keep track if they don't. The new cans are embedded with radio frequency identification chips and bar codes which keep track of how often residents take them to the curb. If the chip shows you haven't brought your recycle can out in a while, a lucky trash supervisor will go through your can looking for recyclables. From the article: "Trash carts containing more than 10 percent recyclable material could lead to a $100 fine, according to Waste Collection Commissioner Ronnie Owens. Recyclables include glass, metal cans, plastic bottles, paper and cardboard."

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first post (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33333434)

rape a baby!

Recycling is Bullshit (3, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333454)

Here's the episode: []

In brief: Most of the items we separate don't get recycled because nobody buys the trash (i.e. there's no market for used paper or used milk jugs). Precious metal like aluminum and copper is the only thing they succeed in selling. But the rest? The city then has no choice but to dump the goods in the landfill anyway.

Re:Recycling is Bullshit (5, Insightful)

5pp000 (873881) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333498)

From TFA:

Cleveland pays $30 a ton to dump garbage in landfills, but earns $26 a ton for recyclables.

I wouldn't think Cleveland would spend money on "smart trash carts" unless there were some truth to this claim.

Re:Recycling is Bullshit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33333568)

Unless of course there was some other sort of incentive to do so, like a grant from EPA, or some new law or regulation.

Also, $26/ton for recyclables - that sounds good, but surely it depends what the recyclables are. A ton of aluminum cans could be worth much more; a ton of barely-recycleable plastic, much less. Don't see how this undermines Penn and Teller at all.

Re:Recycling is Bullshit (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333678)

I assumed it was "stimulus" money at work.

Re:Recycling is Bullshit (2, Interesting)

Gazzonyx (982402) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333622)

The question is... how often does this have to catch someone not recycling before it breaks even for them?

Some of these "smart trash cans" will never be profitable, but will be a loss for the city and for the environment (more e-waste for the landfill).

Re:Recycling is Bullshit (2, Informative)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333638)

They do spend money (not theirs, taxpayers') to make it look they do care for the environment, which brings votes. They don't give a flying damn about doing something that actually works.

Re:Recycling is Bullshit (1)

BigSlowTarget (325940) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333828)

I wouldn't count on it. I suspect I could spin a business case to show the exact opposite by tweaking a few assumptions and still have every one of them look reasonable. There's a good chance someone wanted to sell recycling equipment and made the numbers happen.

I like the part of the landlords being responsible though. If my landlord ticks me off I just anonomously drop recycling into the dumpster and cost him $100 a shot. Nice.

I'm sure the recycling companies make money, but that's easy if you push costs off on someone else.

Re:Recycling is Bullshit (4, Insightful)

cptdondo (59460) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333518)

Depends on where you live. Some places don't have easy access to landfills anymore and it's cheaper to subsidize recycling than to landfill.

And some places just believe it's the right thing to do and pay the costs anyway.

Re:Recycling is Bullshit (-1, Flamebait)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333564)

Because, of course, having an agent of the government knock on your door and demanding to look through your trash is the "right thing to do".

Re:Recycling is Bullshit (4, Insightful)

cduffy (652) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333604)

Who said anything about knocking on doors? They just have to look through the trash you've put out on the curb... which, last I recall, anyone else could legally do just as easily.

Re:Recycling is Bullshit (1, Flamebait)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333674)

Why? You're giving it to them already, aren't you?

If you're concerned about privacy, buy a shredder.

If the though of the e-e-evil city gub'mint having your trash bothers you, dispose of it yourself.

I'm fairly sure that an unrestricted anonymous waste disposal service wasn't guaranteed in the constitution.

Re:Recycling is Bullshit (2)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333710)

I was thinking more along the lines of keeping a few boxes of rotten eggs sitting around and tossing those on top on garbage day.

In the immortal words of Russell Casse; "UP... YOURS!!!!"

Re:Recycling is Bullshit (5, Informative)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333792)

I'm fairly sure that an unrestricted anonymous waste disposal service wasn't guaranteed in the constitution.

The Constitution does not "guarantee" what you and I may do. It only restricts what the government may do. Do you understand that?

The 10th Amendment:
"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people."

Therefore, I have the power and the right to create unrestricted anonymous waste disposal. It's a guaranteed right of mine and I may provide that service.

The Constitution does not have to give me that power. I have it.

Re:Recycling is Bullshit (5, Insightful)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333926)

Yes, and the people running the disposal service have rights too, including the right to run their service they way they wish.

It's funny how the people who claim oppression are always so willing to tread on the rights of others. "Everyone has to give me what I want, how I want, when I want, for the price I want, because I have rights!"

Re:Recycling is Bullshit (2)

pushing-robot (1037830) | more than 4 years ago | (#33334028)

Me again - sorry, I misread the word "create" in your post and thought you were claiming the right to *have* that service.

But yes, you can definitely create an alternative disposal service. As long as you follow the local environmental regulations, I don't think the city would have a problem with it.

Re:Recycling is Bullshit (4, Informative)

B5_geek (638928) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333532)

I work for a waste collection company. We collect and SELL over a THOUSAND tonnes of paper products every month.

Things might be different in your area but here our multi-million company is quiet profitable from it.

Paper/Cardboard is like any other commodity. the price fluctuates.

Re:Recycling is Bullshit (2, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333642)

>>>We collect and SELL over a THOUSAND tonnes of paper

It's possible new businesses have developed since 6 years ago, when P&T filmed that episode. At the time it was cheaper to grow new trees and make paper, than to deal with the expense of cleaning used paper and disposing of expensive, environmentally-hazardous chemicals. Maybe the equation has changed now?

Still I think it's worthwhile to watch the episode. Questioning your assumptions is a good thing. (ex: Most people assume Betamax died because it didn't have porn; it's false.)

Re:Recycling is Bullshit (1)

pijokela (462279) | more than 4 years ago | (#33334022)

Here in Finland, recycled paper is quite valuable, because the paper buyers in central Europe want paper that has as much recycled material in it as possible. So if we want to sell paper made from our trees to central Europe, we must have tons of recycled paper too. At some point we were importing recycled paper from Germany, I'm not sure if that's still going on.

I just like to recycle paper and cardboard, because they fill the bin so fast I'd need to have it emptied even more often then now. This way I save, maybe 10€ a month.

Re:Recycling is Bullshit (-1, Troll)

BradleyUffner (103496) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333660)

So we are forced to GIVE you our property so that you can sell it for profit? Why aren't you paying us?

Re:Recycling is Bullshit (1)

Jedi Alec (258881) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333740)

Anyone holding a gun to your head and forcing you to put the stuff at the curb? Anyone stopping you from selling your trash?

Re:Recycling is Bullshit (1)

RapmasterT (787426) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333800)

someone forces you to give them your garbage? what?

Re:Recycling is Bullshit (1)

Velox_SwiftFox (57902) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333956)

Still, the economics of recycling versus landfill usage are highly dependent on the lack or presence of what are effectively subsidies.

A few decades ago, I recall a legal dispute between a waste recycling company and a municipality.

The city had a long term contract that required them to pay "Immense Green-Ish Waste Management Incorporated" some tens of dollars per ton of newsprint recycled.

After the contract was negotiated the price of recycled paper happened to boom - at about the same time, recycling coming into favor on the demand end. Enterprising individuals were driving around picking up the newspaper before IGIWMI crews could get it.

Last I was paying attention, the city was being sued by the waste management company for not vigorously prosecuting this "grand theft", after the latter refused to at all consider renegotiating the contract terms so that every bit of this theft did not also save the city a grand amount of money.

Re:Recycling is Bullshit (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33333586)

That show (in general, and that episode in particular) are about as much proof of that assertion as something your cousin's friend's older brother said. Penn and Teller don't give you evidence, they insult things instead. (Check out their argument about subsidies. There are many pros and cons to be stated for such things, but they don't really do either. They give Teller a gun to rob Penn and then throw the cash around. Logic in action, Bullshit style!)

Seriously, I wanted to like this show, but it's total crap. It's entertainment rather than education. It's bullshit itself.

On the other hand, a quick Google search yielded this: [] (and many other links). A balanced view. Recycling isn't always the answer and it's certainly not the only answer, but it's not bullshit, either.

Re:Recycling is Bullshit (2, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333592)

It is certainly a "feel good" action. Doing the right thing is sometimes inconvenient or expensive, therefore something inconvenient or expensive must be the right thing to do. Exactly the same mindset as security theater.

However... One thing recyclables have going for them is they're typically pretty non-toxic, etc. SO IN THEORY a waste disposal company could save money by throwing out really nasty semi-toxic "expensive" garbage in an expensive landfill, like used diapers, food waste, etc. Then relatively non-toxic recyclables like cardboard or newspapers could be disposed of in a cheap less regulated landfill. I would be a bit queasy about taking my kids to a park built on an ex-landfill made out of empty paint cans and carb cleaner bottles, but if I knew the park was built on a pile of relatively harmless shredded cardboard, I wouldn't be as worried. There should be a financial gain to the waste collection company by our separating our trash. And since govt, corporations, and organized crime have merged, its no surprise its criminally illegal to not raise the profits of a trash company by separating trash. However in practice, probably everything that isn't sold, goes in the same hole.

Re:Recycling is Bullshit (1)

decoy256 (1335427) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333908)

The waste in an ex-landfill doesn't affect the park above it, since they cover up the landfill with several feet of dirt before building the park. By the time they open the park up, what little harmful substance are still around do not affect you any more than the harmful substances that are already present at regular parks.

Re:Recycling is Bullshit (MYTH) (5, Informative)

mspohr (589790) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333686)

This is a myth.

Of course, lots of resources on the web about this as well as "garbage recycling deniers" but a good summary page is here: []

Re:Recycling is Bullshit (MYTH) (0, Troll)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333942)

I'm not saying that recycling shouldn't be done, but you have to admit there is a lot of lying and complete bullshit here. If the people who wrote this site were honest rather then trying to make up any excuse possible then it would make everyone look more credible.

I noticed you used the word "deniers", might not want to do that next time when the information you got is lying 20% of the time.

Let's look at this link..

Myth: Not recycling is cheaper than recycling.
Recycling should always be compared against disposal, since the material still must be transported off campus. Not recycling means paying for disposal.

So in this answer they completely avoid the question being raised. They state not recycling means paying for disposal, ok but you also have to pay to recycle it.

Myth: Someone goes through the trash and pulls out the recyclables before it goes to the landfill.
Anything thrown into the trash will end up in the landfill. The labor required to sort through trash after it has already been mixed is prohibitive and almost never happens.

...and yet here we have a story about them doing just that and more.. Fining you if you don't do it.

Excuse: Recycling causes pollution.
Recycling trucks often generate less pollution than garbage trucks because they do not idle as long at the curb. If you add recycling trucks, you should be able to subtract garbage trucks.

Conveniently forgetting that the garbage truck picks up the recyclables to begin with, at least it does in the context of the article.

Recycling is largely responsible for averting the landfill crisis.

There is no landfill crisis as the GPs P&T video shows.

Space is very limited and if we save the space today we will have it for tomorrow.

This is complete bullshit, just because an area is used for landfill doesn't mean it becomes an arid wasteland that it useless for the next 100 years. You can still use it, build on it, just like any other land.

Excuse: Recycling is a burden on families.
Recycling is so popular because the American public wants to do it.

If it were popular the article wouldn't be about people being fined for not doing it.

Re:Recycling is Bullshit (4, Informative)

RevWaldo (1186281) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333732)

Penn and Teller are cool but keep in mind they're also stooges for the Cato Institute, which offers it's own mixtures of truth and bullshit.

This show is admittedly and unrepentantly biased, which makes it a poor source of reference.

Supposedly their last episode will be entitled " 'Bullshit!' is Bullshit! ", explaining all this. We'll see.


how come (-1, Troll)

Dolphinzilla (199489) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333468)

if we have the technology for your trashcan to tell what is recyclable or not, they don't just put that technology at the dump and sort the stuff there automatically ? I seriously doubt the reliability or accuracy of a "smart" trashcan - maybe in about 200 years....

Re:how come (1)

secondsun (195377) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333486)

The trashcans just tell if they have been rolled out to be picked up. If they haven't recorded a roll out then you get fined if your trash has more than 10% recyclable material.

How to lose while being correct Re:how come (5, Insightful)

mrmeval (662166) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333552)

Alles in ordnung

Excessive regulation []

When it becomes naturally profitable to recycle people will do so themselves. Right now I don't throw away aluminum, stainless steel, brass, copper, lead, steel, some types of glass and several plastics plus newspapers. I use the glass, plastic and newspapers myself. I've found two places that will compete for the stainless, copper, lead and brass which I happen to come across and make my collection and transport costs worthwhile. The steel and aluminum go to another salvager which is reasonably close and pays well. I do this for my own benefit and will keep doing it regardless of the states insistence I line their pockets.

Re:how come (1)

Dolphinzilla (199489) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333556)

yeah - good call - its not a smart trashcan it is just more spying by the man - so I'll pay the kid next door to roll that baby to the curb a couple of times a week, problem solved

Re:how come (1)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333676)

My guess is that people will just start dumping all of their trash in the recycle trash cans.

That way they don't have to worry about sorting the trash + they avoid the fine.

Re:how come (1)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333778)

Yep, the garbage man wont notice the dirty diaper that comes rolling out of the trashcan marked aluminum.

Re:how come (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33333842)

Around here they simply won't pick it up if the recycling trash bag (we use semi-transparent plastic bags for non-metal recyclables) contains too much non-recyclable stuff.

Re:how come (1)

jrmcferren (935335) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333492)

The chip IDs whether it is a recycle bin or a regular trash can. This allows the automated trucks to automatically sort where it goes and tell them if you haven't put the recycle bin out in a while.

Re:how come (1)

mspohr (589790) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333588)

These trashcans only tell if they have been rolled out to the curb, not the contents.

However, since you mentioned it, the area where I live does sort through all of the trash at the landfill and separates out recyclables there. They don't have "technology" to do it but actual people. They dump all of the trash on a big conveyor belt and people pick out recyclables. I don't know how this compares in cost, recovery percent, etc. but they have been doing it for years.

Re:how come (1)

mr_mischief (456295) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333982)

So put out a soda can in your recycling can every week.

Seriously, I recycle for three reasons. I like my city selling the stuff and almost breaking even on picking it up. It really does seem to be better for the environment. Our recycling pickup is free, while we pay $0.50 per bag for trash pickup, so we have a small individual economic incentive.

Re:how come (3, Informative)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333606)

If a chip show a recyclable cart hasn't been brought to the curb in weeks, a trash supervisor will sort through the trash for recyclables.

Re:how come (0, Offtopic)

Fizzl (209397) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333614)

And now we have descended from at least reading the blurp to merely having a glimpse at the title before posting most obvious useless post one can imagine.

The topics should be color coded by section, so I could only scan for red/blue for politics and shoot off a "GW was a wanker, Obama is teh shit" for instant +5 win.

PS. Chrome spell checker doesn't recognize the word 'wanker', curious...

Re:how come (3, Insightful)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333754)

Because government prefers to pass the onus on to citizens rather than take responsibility. Besides, they already have too much to do. Clearly citizens' time is less valuable than those who get paid to sort garbage.

Re:how come (4, Insightful)

brusk (135896) | more than 4 years ago | (#33334046)

Hey, it's your choice. You could vote in favor of higher taxes (or disposal fees) to cover the cost of hiring trash sorters. I prefer to pay lower taxes/fees and do it myself.

The only smart trashcan (4, Funny)

healyp (1260440) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333510)

The only smart trashcan I've ever seen was Oscar the grouch. Considering how "smart" the power meters(and authorities) are in most cities, this will probably be a flop.

Bull. Fucking. Shit. (1, Insightful)

cosm (1072588) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333520)

Day by day we march towards complete and total Orwellian overwatch.

Re:Bull. Fucking. Shit. (1)

LingNoi (1066278) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333630)

I think they've got bigger problems then this TBH..

The city stepped up enforcement of ordinances governing trash collection last year by issuing 2,900 tickets, nearly five times more tickets than in 2008. Those infractions include citations for people who put out their trash too early or fail to bring in their garbage cans from the curb in a timely manner.
The Division of Waste Collection is on track to meet its goal of issuing 4,000 citations this year, Owens said.

Fined for keeping the trash can by the side of the road too long. Fined for putting it out too early and the best part. They have TARGETS for issuing fines.

Re:Bull. Fucking. Shit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33333764)

Fined for keeping the trash can by the side of the road too long. Fined for putting it out too early and the best part. They have TARGETS for issuing fines.

in addition, it's not like Cleveland doesn't have more pressing issues to deal with. I'm from the opposite end of the state, and as crappy as Cincinnati is, Cleveland makes us look like the Taj Mahal!

Crime, blight, and high unemployment even by today's standards.

How are those police layoffs working out up there?

How much are you paying the so-called "trash inspectors" to go through your garbage?

Yes, lay off the cops, hire trash inspectors.

Re:Bull. Fucking. Shit. (5, Interesting)

JackDW (904211) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333786)

In England it is quite rare (but not unusual) to see little collections of black refuse bags by the roadside in residential areas. Each bag has a small white ticket affixed to it, notifying the owner that their rubbish won't be collected unless it fits completely within the approved bin on the right day, which is once every two weeks. If the approved bin is overflowing, if its lid will not close, then the bags will be pulled out of it and left behind, each with a ticket attached. Sometimes they will remain there for weeks. Ironically, this is done "to help the environment". It certainly helps the local rat population; other parts of the environment may not be so lucky. The usual response is to put your rubbish in other people's bins, minus identifying documents, so they will have to deal with the mess that's left outside their houses when the city doesn't collect it (I don't do this, but it has happened to me a few times).

Re:Bull. Fucking. Shit. (1)

blincoln (592401) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333974)

Is it possible to pay more and be allocated more than one bin to use? If not, how are residents who generate a higher-than-average amount of garbage supposed to ever get all of it taken away?

I grew up in a rural area, with a publicly-accessible landfill. Right now I live in a city, and the closest publicly-accessible waste transfer station is about ten miles away. I'm not sure how the city expects anyone to drop off their waste if it's more than can fit in the bins, especially with their pipe-dream "urban village" (AKA "we'll make it as difficult as possible to drive anywhere, enjoy taking 300% longer to get to your destination because we'll also refuse to provide useful public transportation") mentality.

Re:Bull. Fucking. Shit. (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333976)

My local council must be a bit more sane than yours. The only time that they will refuse to take things is when you have put the wrong sort of thing in a recylcing bag. We get green and pink bags for recycling (pink for plastic, green for everything else) and they are translucent so the bin men can see whether you've put the wrong thing in them easily. If you have, they leave them. This autumn they are moving to only collecting the black bags every other week, but they are collecting food waste every week (which gets composted, and if you want some compost for your garden then you can collect some for free). While everything else is in bags, they provide solid plastic containers for the food rubbish, so you can leave it outside without animals getting into it (they also provide a smaller one to go in the kitchen, so you can easily separate out the compostable stuff).

Re:Bull. Fucking. Shit. (1)

nschubach (922175) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333818)

I think we are going to have to change it from "Orwellian" to "Owensian."

Re:Bull. Fucking. Shit. (1)

pspahn (1175617) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333852)

At my last house, my recycle bin was rarely even emptied. The waste people would refuse to take it because it was on the wrong side of the alley. I was supposed to put it on the opposite side while the houses on the opposite were to put theirs on my side. If that wasn't silly enough, the side where I would leave it was for parking, so I had to block people's cars in if they were to pick it up. Naturally, the people that parked there would move my bin in the morning or evening when they left for work or returned home and it would end up 30 yards down the alley next to someone else's house and not get emptied. I eventually stopped bothering, especially in the winter when there is three feet of snow on the ground.

Re:Bull. Fucking. Shit. (5, Insightful)

mrnobo1024 (464702) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333668)

Oh, get over your entitlement mentality already. You use the waste disposal service, you play by their rules. Don't like it? Buy your own damn landfill. It's not your God-given right to fill ours' up with recyclables.

Re:Bull. Fucking. Shit. (3, Insightful)

myth24601 (893486) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333694)

Can people opt out of trash collection in the city?

Out in the country, you can opt for alternative trash collection. You can pay one of any number of companies to pick up your trash or you can take it to the dump yourself. When you live in the city, you have no choice.

Re:Bull. Fucking. Shit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33333904)

When you live in the city, you have no choice.

Why not? The companies that will collect it out on the county won't come into town, no matter how much you pay them, or is it illegal for them to do that? The dumps that you can go to out in the country refuse to accept trash from people they recognise as townies? Or do you just mean that people in towns will tend not to take certain choices based on the time or costs involved?

Re:Bull. Fucking. Shit. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33333812)

It's all about money. The collection companies or local municipalities that do it are not interested in saving valuable resources, or concerned about filling landfill sites, or loading incinerators. It's about the material in the collection bins that they can sell. Being a collection point gives them a huge amount of aluminum, glass, paper, various plastics and cardboard as massive near free bonus for standard practices. There are buyers for each of these, the collectors are only looking to take your recyclables and selling them on. All this "green" effort is pure baloney. When a market sector dives, as paper did, the "collection" outfits decides they no longer was that material, or if they're hiding the fact, they dump it into the real trash at the depots.

Don't Recycle; Consume Less (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33333526)

RFID is currently used to identify the owners of waste bins and therefore allows weight quotas and mandatory recycling to be enforced. However, RFID on all clothes, food and luxury items is imminent. Therefore the current RFID monitoring infrastructure could very soon be used to enforce healthy eating, tax collection and a myriad of miscellaneous purposes yet to be devised. Like many technological measures, it rides roughshod over the presumption of innocence before proven guilty by logging everything upfront.

Unlike barcodes, RFID identifies individual items uniquely. Therefore, it becomes possible to identify that, for example, a piece of underwear in today's refuse was the same piece of underwear worn five months ago at a civil protest.

Even the initial use of using RFID to enforce mandatory recycling is misguided. I recycle but consuming less is far more effective. When recycling schemes are introduced, materials are scarce and valuable. However, an efficient recycling scheme can only lower the value of materials. When the price becomes too low, it is not economic to sort the material. The solution is to export the material to less developed economies with less regulation. In the worst case, illiterate 10 year old girls lead short and stunted lives after sifting medical waste and getting repeated exposure to fatal diseases. Therefore, efficient recycling schemes trap families in a cycle of poverty.

Domestic incineration plants don't help. They serve to magnify the capacity of landfill and therefore they lower the disposal cost of unnecessary products. This encourages rampant consumerism. Incineration plants provide unrewarding labor and therefore they depress wages. The energy recovered is also quite low compared to the pollution produced. So, incineration plants to recover energy from waste are counter-productive.

If you want to make world a better place, consume less.

Enviroment or revenue generation? (5, Insightful)

KDN (3283) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333546)

Ticket for not taking out trash, ticket for taking out trash too early, ticket for not taking containers in early enough, ticket for too much weight in trash. Is this really helping out the environment or just a hidden way to increase taxes? I do note that their metric of success is how many tickets they issue.

Revenue generation, absolutely. (2, Informative)

cduffy (652) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333576)

Not revenue from the fine -- revenue from selling the recyclables.

Re:Enviroment or revenue generation? (4, Interesting)

rm999 (775449) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333662)

Have you ever visited a place that has poor/no trash pickup or where people leave their trash out all the time? It's not an environmental thing, it's an aesthetic and sanitary issue. Garbage attracts animals and disease. Trash piling up on the streets is ugly.

Also, as the article states, "Cleveland pays $30 a ton to dump garbage in landfills, but earns $26 a ton for recyclables." Garbage removal is a shared resource, so the costs should be spread fairly. I guess the fairest thing would be to weigh everyone's garbage, but I doubt anyone would be a fan of that.

Re:Enviroment or revenue generation? (1)

coinreturn (617535) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333900)

I guess the fairest thing would be to weigh everyone's garbage, but I doubt anyone would be a fan of that.

Until the USPS stops delivering trash to my house, I most certainly would not be a fan. Also, the occurrences of people dumping trash on the side of the road would skyrocket. I saw a TV on the side of a rural road the other day. WTF? Take it to Best Buy or the county recycling event, asshat.

Re:Enviroment or revenue generation? (1)

guruevi (827432) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333670)

You could always incinerate your own trash. Or not buy recyclable goods.

Re:Enviroment or revenue generation? (1)

FSWKU (551325) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333746)

All fine and good unless you live in a place similar to mine. Incinerating your own trash is illegal. Oh yes, and to make sure you're not tempted to do so, the convenience of weekly trash pickup is mandatory. And the sole company that services my area seems to change every couple of years.

Re:Enviroment or revenue generation? (-1, Troll)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333728)

Here's your tax payment.....


I was going to put something else here, but somewhere along the line people forgot the lesson of Eastern Europe. (Change comes from revolution.) So instead I censored myself before the mods could do it.

Re:Enviroment or revenue generation? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33334036)

Ticket for not taking out trash, ticket for taking out trash too early, ticket for not taking containers in early enough, ticket for too much weight in trash. Is this really helping out the environment or just a hidden way to increase taxes?
I do note that their metric of success is how many tickets they issue.

We're headed down the same road as England only without all the social services.

If I lived in Cleveland... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33333548)

I'd mix in non-recyclable trash in my recycle bin just to spite this new program.

Re:If I lived in Cleveland... (1, Flamebait)

mrnobo1024 (464702) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333598)

Yeah! Stick it to that evil minimum-wage worker hired to sort through the recycles, who has no influence on the laws or on this program whatsoever. That'll show 'em!

Re:If I lived in Cleveland... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33333644)

The idea is not so much to punish the city, but rather to disobey or disregard what the city wants. If a minimum wage worker is harmed in the process, it's acceptable collateral damage.

Ex: I regularly dump my spent motor oil in the local drainage ditch to spite the wacko environmentalists. Do any of them get directly harmed? No, the wildlife living in the ditch does. Again, just collateral damage. My ultimate objective is the satisfaction of knowing I disregarded some idiot's wishes.

Re:If I lived in Cleveland... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33333720)

It's not collateral damage when you never actually hit your target at all. The city leaders will never know about your brave, courageous acts of civil disobedience. You're nothing but a douchebag with delusions of grandeur.

Re:If I lived in Cleveland... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33333784)

The point is not to get the attention of city leaders, or anyone else for that matter. The idea behind programs such as this one involve (1) revenue generation and (2) behavior modification. I refuse to modify my behavior based on the wishes of some politician or environmentalist lobby. They don't have to know that I didn't change my behavior -- it's good enough for me to know I didn't change it.

Re:If I lived in Cleveland... (1)

MightyMartian (840721) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333898)

Well, I know where I'm dumping my motor oil from now on.

Re:If I lived in Cleveland... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33333946)

Your the biggest douche bag ive seen on slashdot all week. YAY.

Did you know the auto part stores usually accept used oil.. Does harming the wildlife really do you any good?

Your kids, and their kids will end up paying for your smug sense of self satisfaction you fuck tard.

Big problem with this idea (2, Insightful)

parallel_prankster (1455313) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333584)

I have to throw trash down the chute into a central container for my entire apt complex and I know a lot of places here have that mechanism. How are they going to figure out then whose trash is it? Also, what if you take your trash out yourself and not use trash services. I know a lot of people who do that - saves 20$ a month.

Re:Big problem with this idea (1)

blincoln (592401) | more than 4 years ago | (#33334008)

I have to throw trash down the chute into a central container for my entire apt complex and I know a lot of places here have that mechanism. How are they going to figure out then whose trash is it?

Here in Seattle, the city uses collective punishment. If an apartment complex's waste bins are found in violation of the recyclable materials limits, the owner of the building is fined, and passes it on to all the tenants in the form of increased rent costs.

lol engadget (1)

capo_dei_capi (1794030) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333590)

Looks like engadget [] got it backwards.

Whose recycling is it, anyway? (4, Insightful)

Velox_SwiftFox (57902) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333608)

I'm wondering how long it will be until my recyclables are considered public property even if I don't put them in the recycling bin.

"I'm sorry sir, it is now illegal to sell your aluminum cans yourself, you must by law dispose of them in the bin to subsidize the cost of disposing of the non-recyclables, and the part of the "recyclable" stuff that we lose money on."

Re:Whose recycling is it, anyway? (4, Informative)

Rene S. Hollan (1943) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333682)

Well, in other news, it is illegal to collect your own rainwater in Washington state. You MUST pay for city water. Dunno about digging a well. It all has to do with "disrupting" the watershed."

Re:Whose recycling is it, anyway? (1)

eggman9713 (714915) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333716)

Citation needed please. I know a few people who have rainwater collection systems in the state and .

Re:Whose recycling is it, anyway? (1)

blixel (158224) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333940)

You asked the grandparent to give you a citation ... out of curiosity I did a google search and found some interesting information. Apparently there is truth to what he was talking about.

news video on youtube []
google search []
google search []

Re:Whose recycling is it, anyway? (1)

grahamd0 (1129971) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333810)

You are not forced to buy city water in Washington. When I lived there I had a well, as did most people I knew. I'm sure there are many people in Washington who live who far outside the service area of any city or town's water supply.

Perhaps it's a city law you're thinking of and not a state law?

Re:Whose recycling is it, anyway? (1)

dhovis (303725) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333950)

Cleveland, for what it is worth, has been handing out free rainbarrels and encouraging their use.

Re:Whose recycling is it, anyway? (0, Flamebait)

canajin56 (660655) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333704)

I wonder how long before Cleveland just sends in SWAT on a daily basis to search for recyclables, and if you are found to have some not currently in the bin, they summarily execute you, sell your organs on the black market, and bill your family for the bullet? Only a matter of time!

Re:Whose recycling is it, anyway? (1)

kramerd (1227006) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333906)

Depending on your state, you may already be paying a deposit on cans/bottles. In a very accurate way, you pay a fine in advance and get refunded when you recycle.

Ridding empty (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33333658)

So to beat the system I can just attach the RFID to a big rock, put the big rock where it will be right beside my trash can when it's on the curb and then the recycling truck comes by it picks up my RFID tag and they never know that I'm not recycling.

Silly (5, Informative)

cdrguru (88047) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333718)

Recycling, in limited forms, is reasonable. But for the most part it is a PR game and has no real impact on anything.

Post-consumer materials, like plastic, is almost never recycled because of the contamination issues. A water bottle can be recycled but if one neck ring from a cap gets into the mix the entire batch is worthless. As of yet, this level of sorting and handling removing neck rings and caps can only be done by hand - at union wages for the most part. This eliminates any reason for recycling water bottles or milk containers - it costs maybe 100x what the recycled materials would be worth to sort them to that level.

Paper is one of those iffy items. If you have a source of clean paper and can sort out coated papers from uncoated (magazines from newspapers, for example) recycling it makes sense and the pulp from processing uncoated paper can be used in a large variety of materials. Unfortunately, getting coated paper into the mix changes things enough that it can only be used in a few applications. So we are back to a very complicated sorting scheme if it is post-consumer. Another problem with post-consumer is "dirty" paper. Food waste mixed in or other contaminates again seriously limits the utility of recycled materials, so much so that it is almost always just dumped.

So anyone talking about post-consumer paper recycing is almost always dealing with clean products like newspapers that can be sorted or office materials that often do not need to be. They aren't talking about taking a mix of papers from curbside recycling efforts because the costs to process that are large and the markets for the output very restricted.

Metals, especially aluminum, have been profitable for quite a while. So much so that there are machines that can sort out the metal containers - by type - quickly. Glass containers can be cleaned and sorted but the value is far less there because of different types of glass being mixed in and the general impracticality of sorting it.

So what happens to curbside recycling materials? I seriously doubt anyone is hand-sorting and dealing with contamination issues like neck rings. A sorting machine to pick out the metal bits is easy and should be a part of any recycling effort. Glass is probably a big question mark. Paper? Almost certainly it is dumped.

When people had to sort their own stuff it gave the impression of it being more valuable, but the contamination issues were still there preventing most of the stuff from being used.

While Penn and Teller's presentation on this may be a bit dated, from everything I see they are still mostly right. It is a feel-good program for both people recycling and for municipalities. The limited amount of materials that are recovered from the recycling stream do earn enough to make it almost - but not quite - worth doing. But the PR value is priceless.

Re:Silly (1)

gbjbaanb (229885) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333954)

so: step 1. tax coated paper, coloured neck rings and so forth.

Also is it all really worthless, I mean, once you mix coloured and clear plastic together, melt it all down you can at least turn it into the black plastic containers a lot of food comes in. I'm more concerned about recycling different types of plastic - getting those dumped together is muc more of a problem.

Anyhow, the way they recycle at the moment (swaw this on a kids TV prog once), is they take the magnetic metal out, then they crush everything else into little tiny pieces and send it up a shaking conveyor belt. The heavier glass stays on the belt, the lighter aluminium gets shaken off. I don't think they considered plastic and metal back then.

Re:Silly (1)

Renraku (518261) | more than 4 years ago | (#33334016)

The reason most people don't recycle is because it's a massive pain in the ass to separate out 6 different kinds of materials when a single plastic ring can ruin the entire batch. It's like a good hour of work every time you go to take the recycling off. Perhaps rather than bitching at the consumers to do this work, they should refine their process and make to where they can process the stuff and still get a decent usable product regardless of the plastic rings?

Is it so difficult to automate trash sorting? (1)

Powercntrl (458442) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333722)

Maybe what we need is something like the X Prize for a reliable way of automatically sorting trash. It seems there's some decent profit in recyclables, so why does sorting through trash still require manual labor?

Government is responding to the American people... (2, Interesting)

ibsteve2u (1184603) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333730)

I'm old enough to remember when people didn't litter like they do today...when graffiti was rare-to-unknown...when people took their trash out and brought in the empty barrels and containers promptly. When oversight is not required because people behave responsibly, there is no demand - no motivation - for more government oversight.

We're trapped in a vicious circle, actually...the nation's leaders set horrible examples with their personal greed and self-centered behavior, the people follow their lead, to which the nation's leaders respond with laws designed to rectify everybody else's behavior. Heaven forbid that they just behave ethically and morally themselves and refuse to tolerate anything but the same from their peers.

I.e., heaven forbid that our leaders lead.

Why would you _not_ recycle as much as possible? (5, Interesting)

warren.oates (925589) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333756)

In the little town where I live, we pay $2 per bag of garbage picked up at the curb (kerb). Recycle is collected free. The more aggressively I recycle, the less I pay in "bag tags" to the slimy city council, who spend it on new pickup trucks for their greasy-haired hillbilly workers to drive around in all day just doing nothing at all ... oh, was I going on a bit? Anyway, we compost for the same reason -- it costs us less in garbage fees and also garners some nice greenie points and a pat on the back. Beer, liquor and wine containers all have refundable deposits where I live, so they don't go into the recycle anyway. If we could reduce the amount of bloody tim-horton cups littering the streets of Ontario, it would be a better place to live.

Sometime in the near future... (0, Troll)

stimpleton (732392) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333766)

March 2011: The first $100 fine is issued after 7 aluminum drink cans are found in her trash. Mrs Megan Bradley pleads she did not realize her 8 yo son put them in. The fine stands.
August 2011: Trash inspectors become dedicated teams trained in the special volatility of domestic incidents, and liaise the results of the inspection results.
October 2011: First worker injury as argument erupts over the fact the little recycle triangle with the 6 in the middle is not on the list of recyclables.
January 2012: Police depts are assigned dedicated SRRU teams (Special Refuse Response Unit).
August 2012: Controversy, when a neighbor films a family dragged onto the lawn, and sat on their knees with bags on their heads. The 15 yo son gets lippy, and is strangled by an SRRU officer with 6 pack plastic rings "to show the boy the importance" of recycling.
Jan 2013: The RRA(Refuse Recycling Act) is introduced and falls under the Dept Homeland Security.
Mar 2013: First "Re-education Camp" built. SRRU get new uniforms. The shirts are a trendy brown [] color.

Easily solved (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33333816)

Just empty your bathroom wastebacket out last before putting out your trash, so that all the snotty tissues, panty liners, used diapers, etc. are all on the top.

If some city inspector sees that and is still willing to dive in to get the goods on you, I'd say that's a $100 fine well earned.


I welcome our new mechanic overlords (1)

fey000 (1374173) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333876)

Great, my trash can is now smarter than I.

Deposit Scheme (5, Interesting)

nbahi15 (163501) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333890)

Why is it we insist upon such complicated schemes for getting people to recycle? A good old fashion deposit scheme seems a much more effective alternative, although it does require something be done at the state or federal level, and a whole lot less intrusive. It works like this...

Require any store that sell beverage containers to accept them in return for cash or credit.
Require any large store that sells them provide automated reverse vending machines (Tomra) at the front of the store and they must pay out cash.
Barcodes must be attached to the product and intact for there to be a refund.
Raise the deposit on various items until you meet specific recycling rate targets.
Make defrauding the machine a felony.

This is hardly an original idea, but it works. You can easily achieve 80+% recycling rates for bottles and cans.

Downside - the usual bitching from the usual people that either hate the idea that they might be helping out their fellow man or vested interests like bottlers that think it will impact sales.

Remember getting $$$ for aluminum cans? (3, Interesting)

synaptik (125) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333914)

Some here are old enough to remember getting paid by the pound for aluminum cans. But, now I find myself paying for the service of recycling my recyclables. Recyclable materials have economic value, do they not? And, I paid for them when I bought the original products that utilized them, did they not? And he who receives the recycled material from me will extract economic value from them, will he not? That seems like a case study of win-win&win economics&environmentalism.

So how exactly did the get-paid-for-recycling model fail?

as always, fixing the wrong thing (3, Insightful)

supernova87a (532540) | more than 4 years ago | (#33333918)

What a great solution, and as always, fixing the wrong problem just because we have a technology to do it. We penalize people for having more than a certain fraction of recyclables in the trash, but do nothing about how much absolute amount of trash there is.

Every kind of recycling incentive program we have is a bandaid to what is really needed -- the prices of things that reflect their true cost to society.

If i lived in Cleveland . . (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33333960)

First thing I would do with that 'high tech' trash cash is to drill out the RFID tag in it and continue to recycle as normal. Sounds more like a way to create more public sector jobs with titles like 'Manager of Eco-Enforcement' and 'Director of Holistic Environmental Practices'. All to check on garbage.

Screw it (1)

Zixaphir (845917) | more than 4 years ago | (#33334010)

I'll just recycle everything and leave it to the plants to figure out the rest.

The whole recycling corundum (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33334020)

IMHO it would be far more efficient to take care of the separation at the plant rather than at the house. There is a lot of waste that goes into:

1) Cleaning
2) Separating into bins
3) Separate trash routes to pick it up
4) storage and special handling of non-valuable recycling materials

I went on a tour of a high tech landfill once, they basically stored the non-valuable materials (e.g. glass, plastics) and when the bins were full, it went in the landfill.

There is no way they earn $26/ton for recyclables, unless they are getting it via grants, tax breaks, etc.. and other neat financial tricks to make you think they make money, when in actuality it is the tax base subsidizing the cost of the financial waste.

If the cost of the process of gathering and recycling can't be self sustainable, you are lighting a stack of your own money on fire when you do recycle it.

So, naysayers, instead of just telling me i'm wrong, show me the energy balance equation that proves me wrong. Because shredding and compacting
trash has been and appears to still be the most efficient waste management solution.

In Soviet Russia... (2, Funny)

Charles Dodgeson (248492) | more than 4 years ago | (#33334042)

... garbage throws out you.
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