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Residents in Salem, Oregon Will be Fined For Putting Wrong Items Into Recycling Bins

Residents in Salem, Oregon Will be Fined For Putting Wrong Items Into Recycling Bins

“We’re going to monitor everybody a lot more closely”

Welcome to Oregon, where your efforts to conserve may get you fined.

In Marion County, recycling officials will pilfer through trash and charge residents for including “wrong” materials in their recycle bins. Offenders could be fined as much as $15.45 per trash pickup.

Previously, fines were only issued to egregious repeat offenders. But not anymore.

From the Statesman Journal:

“We’re going to monitor everybody a lot more closely,” said Art Kuenzi, manager of Suburban Garbage Service, speaking on behalf of the Mid-Valley Garbage & Recycling Association.

The seven garbage haulers who make up the association told their customers about the new recycling rules and the potential fine in a postcard mailed last week. They also apply to West Salem residents who live in Polk County.

The changes are in response to China’s decision, effective Jan. 1, to stop taking most recyclables from the Western world. China previously took most of Oregon’s recycling.

Residents aren’t happy.

Trash and recycling services who work for the county say they haven’t made a profit or even broken even on recycling services, so, they’re passing the cost down to the recycling haulers, who in turn, requested the fines to help offset costs. Now consumers are getting slapped with the bill.

But Kuenzi said haulers won’t cut prices for recycling. Instead, they’re working with the county and cities to explore imposing a recycling surcharge.

“We have never been paid for recyclables (in an) amount that offsets the cost for us,” he said. “For all the equipment and manpower we use to collect recycling, now that we’re not getting paid to deliver our recyclables, we’re getting a bill.”

Garten Services takes about half of Marion County’s recycling.

It used to be able to cover the cost of sorting and hauling recycling by selling the commodities, Garten spokeswoman Gaelen McAllister said.

“Now, in some cases we have to pay to send stuff to be recycled,” she said. “So, we’re passing those charges back to the haulers.”

It’s a hard lesson in capitalism for the country’s eco-activist paradise.


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So the safe solution is just to gray-bin everything. I suspect that they are mostly mad that OR raised the deposit on containers to 10 cents, so that a) people are taking them back to get their deposit money now (as opposed to donating it to the refuse collectors) and b) more drug addicts are going through the bins to power their heroin habits. Gee, no one with a background in economics could have seen that happening.

It’s a tax, not a fine. They freely admit the punishment is not in response to behavior, they are meant to fund the logistical parts of recycling.

And if the trash haulers run into more funding problems, even due to incompetence or more changes in the market, citizens will subjected to more “fines”. Even as ridiculous as putting out the trash 15 minutes before the proscribed times.

The obvious solution is to stop recycling.

Maybe Oregon should get the top end recycling machinery, like we do in South Pasadena, CA. We throw all our trash and recyclables together, and machinery separates everything. It’s much cheaper overall, including employee work hours. And we never get fined.

rustyshamrock | May 9, 2018 at 7:53 pm

Check out what penn & Teller have to say about recycling.

rustyshamrock | May 9, 2018 at 7:59 pm

Oops! Wrong link, sorry! Try this one…

I have visited the center where they process trash and recycling in my area. The trucks dump the items in the same place, and watching the burning area (we burn a lot of our trash in my area) you can see all kinds of goods that are deemed recyclable. When you think of it, how the heck can they handle the amounts of material they are supposed to recycle? You are supposed to separate items to a degree, but there is a lot of mixing even in what they ask you to do.

I’ve seen the trucks where they empty recycling items in, they have a side door for one type, a back regular collector and when they compact it, it all mixes together. How the heck do they have the manpower to sort all that when they mix it all up like that?

We do it because they do fine here, but I doubt much recycling is going on across the country, other than items with deposits, which has the separations as part of the processing to give you back deposits.

As most Leftists, it’s all about CONTROL, you will do as the collective says, if you don’t like it, we will tax you into submission. No other choices. Just sit back and watch for the unintended consequences. Think it through.

If someone is willing to pay you for it- it’s worth recycling.

If you have to pay someone to take, whether it ultimately gets recycled or not- it’s trash.

    nordic_prince in reply to gospace. | May 9, 2018 at 8:39 pm

    Exactly. There’s no money in recycling, except for aluminum, copper, and similar metals. That’s why you see the bums going through trash cans for scrap metal, and not for plastic detergent bottles.

Good way to get back at a neighbor.

Does anyone remember the phrase “due process”? How will the garbage company prove who put the wrong trash into the “wrong” barrel? Could the can/bottle scavengers have put stuff into the wrong can as they scavenged? Or, as Petrushka suggests, evil neighbor!

I assume that the company imposing the fine has the burden of proof. Preponderance or beyond reasonable doubt? If I were a juror, I’d apply beyond the shadow of a doubt!

    Milhouse in reply to Geologist. | May 10, 2018 at 3:29 am

    Nope. The presence of the offending refuse is the violation, not the act of putting it there, so it doesn’t matter who did that. It’s just like your car being parked where it shouldn’t be is a violation, regardless of how it got there. And it’s a civil violation, so there’s no need for due process.

nordic_prince | May 9, 2018 at 8:44 pm

Just today we got a note from the recycling guys bellyaching about plastic bags in the recycling bin. Fine – I’ll just skip recycling altogether and put everything in the trash.

Recycling is a waste of time to begin with, and the harder they make it for people to go along, the less compliance there will be. Want greater compliance? Get rid of all the stupid hoops you’re asking people to jump through. But no, leftists can’t do that, so they have to resort to fines and coercion. They can stick it.

What difference does it make? Except for aluminum, the rest of the recycling is for show.It has no value and is more expensive to recycle then make anew. A case can be made for Plastics 1 and 2 that are usefully refashioned into lumber and it is beneficial to remove them from landfills (they also make a good fuel). As for most of the rest, the wood/paper products are usually quietly buried as is the glass and iron. The latter has no real value, but when ground and given for free, makes a useful addition to asphalt roads. It can also be turned into sand, the larger size is useful for beach replenishment.

    puhiawa in reply to puhiawa. | May 9, 2018 at 10:19 pm

    I meant “glass” as the latter. Disqus has a edit feature, I wish it was adopted here.

    DaveGinOly in reply to puhiawa. | May 10, 2018 at 12:29 am

    China just stopped buying recyclable materials from western nations because the materials aren’t adequately separated. This is, in fact, a big deal. The situation has caused a huge uproar in the international recyclable market. Google it. There are scads of stories out there about it.

      elle in reply to DaveGinOly. | May 10, 2018 at 11:13 am

      “response to China’s decision, effective Jan. 1, to stop taking most recyclables from the Western world.”

      Typical leftist NIMBY. Why do I suspect that China didn’t really care about sorting because they only took what was profitable and threw the rest away.

      Liberalism in a nutshell: the ability to feel better than others without any meaningful effort or having any meaningful impact.

What bin does soros put the obamas in?

Wow! Trash pick up. What will they think of next. We don’t have trash pick up here. I take stuff I can compost and throw it outside in the composter, burn what I want in a burn barrel and then take the rest to the dump. I just fill up the back of my pick with busted up concrete, kitchen trash, maybe an old broken down lawn chair, or whatever and drive to the dump just outside of town about 15 miles away. It’s open six days a week and no one ever asks about what I am hauling. I drive into a large open building and back up to a cement berm and then just throw everything over the edge. No separating stuff, no weighing, nothing. When I get done I go home and that’s it. People there are real friendly.
But then again we have other issues we think are more important. A few weeks ago we had to kill some ferrel pigs that were tearing up the place (a sow and several young [we only cooked and ate the sow in a pig roast and she was fine tasting, had a good time with the neighbors too]), last year our neighbor about two miles away had to shoot an adult black bear that was trying to get in through his front door, and I had to shoot several coyotes that were bothering the critters over the last month or so. Hopefully I’ll finish the electric fence today to keep the skunks and raccoons out of the corn, and I still have to finishing processing four trees that I fell last week, but I guess most of ya’ll just don’t know what I am talking about or can identify with these problems.
But you guys have trash pick up and actually worry about separating recyclable stuff apart? Wow, must be a first world problem.

    tom_swift in reply to Cleetus. | May 10, 2018 at 10:43 am

    Wow, they really run you through the wringer. In most of the world you don’t have to do any of that crap—just throw your garbage out into the street. And it’s a particularly big saver when it comes to sewage. After all, that’s just garbage which happens to be a bit juicy. No pipes, septic tanks, none of that silliness. The street takes it all. And it’s great for business—loads of foreign manufacturers appreciate the cost savings of being to dump their industrial waste so cheaply.

I was shocked to see that the first 5 pages of the phone directory in Vancouver, WA was dedicated to instructions of how to dispose of your trash for curbside pickups and recyclables. They specified how far from the curb the trash can had to be, the time it can be set out, what goes in what can and the penalty’s involved for not complying. There was a lot more, too much to go into. The dems turn even the simplest thing into a huge ordeal.

“We’re going to monitor everybody a lot more closely”

If leftism had a slogan, that would be it.

Recycling is a HUGE waste of money.

Far cheaper to simply create a new product.

Does create a make-work “industry” for Democrat constituents though. And, that’s what’s really important.

That and acting smug and superior for passing ‘feel good’ legislation that actually does harm to society.

Never any consequences for forcing people to waste money for nothing though.

Bucky Barkingham | May 10, 2018 at 7:35 am

I believe that the Brits have been doing this for a while. They also fine subjects for putting bins at the curb on the wrong day.

The folks in Oregon need a recycling program for their politicians.

    Oregon Mike in reply to MSO. | May 10, 2018 at 11:48 am

    Unfortunately, whether you live in Blue Northwest Oregon or you’re “down state,” you can vote all you want for new politicians, and it won’t do you any good. The vast majority of the state is so “underpopulated” it can never muster the power to recycle the majority.

No due process? Fine. Get the home addresses of your local officials and “unsort” their recylables. After a few hundred dollars in “fines” they’ll see the light. As all marxists do once they are subjected to their own rules.

    Another Voice in reply to Fen. | May 10, 2018 at 7:34 pm

    Of all of the possibilities put forth to “curb and/or recycle”; this has to be the best and give the back the most satisfaction.

Well, if the residents want to put up with this type of nonsense, that is their choice. of course, they could either elect legislators who refuse to indulge in this stupidity or they can move to a more benign local.

Years ago there was a news report out of DC . When the recycle center filled up and there were no buyers , the excess was just hauled to the landfill , This was after considerable expense in separating the items to begin with.
Out in the hills of West Virginia , the only recycling we did if we took a bike trip, we recycled home.

They’ve been doing that in Formerly Great Britain, where they put RFID chips in the bins (called over there “wheelie bins”)