Seattle to Require Food-Trash Recycling – Should Other Cities Do Likewise?

Seattle has passed a new ordinance requiring all residents to subscribe to their food trash recycling program, starting in 2009. This is for all single family residences, not apartment complexes or such, although they can subscribe as well.

This is an interesting idea. The story caught my attention, as I have a sister in Bothell, although I don’t think she’ll be impacted, since that’s a different city that only happens to be near Seattle. The only thing I question is whether or not requiring the subscription is the right decision.

Don’t get me wrong, I think food scraps should be recycled. But this seems to me to be something of a penalty to those who compost in their back yards. They’ll still have to pay, even though they are doing their part to reduce what goes into the landfill.

But I do also see something of a problem in only requiring this for single family homes:

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

Now, as a first step perhaps this is logical, but if other sources are producing twice the waste it would be nice to see them bearing some of the burden of food waste recycling too.

At the same time as I dislike that even families who compost have to pay for this, I like that the city is making food waste recycling possible. That is a wonderful step. Food waste has no place in the garbage dump. It is too easily made into compost, so utterly recyclable it is almost insanity to do anything else with it.

What do you think? Should more areas start requiring food trash recycling? How do you think such programs should be run?

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2 replies on “Seattle to Require Food-Trash Recycling – Should Other Cities Do Likewise?”

  1. I have mixed feelings on making those who already compost pay. On one hand they are already composting and therfore should not have to pay for a service they aren’t using, but on the other hand as part of the community they are benefiting the same as everyone else by the reduced food wastes and how the city uses them. Also it would be difficult for the city to monitor everyone who claimed to be composting. I am sure that there would be several people who would try to trick the system to get by without paying.

    There are other services that people do ont use but still pay for. Homeschoolers still pay taxes that go towards schools they don’t use for example.

  2. Stephanie says:

    That’s a really good point. It’s always hard to keep things fair when it comes to taxes, which this in a sense is. It will probably be a bit harder for those who compost to like, just because they’re paying for it directly, rather than in the form of a tax where the money goes to a variety of things.

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