Brit Liggett

High-Tech Bins Will Fine People for Not Recycling

by , 08/23/10

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Hey Cleveland, you better brush up on your recycling game or you might have a fine coming your way. The city’s officials plan to implement a smart recycling bin program city-wide that will fine residents up to $100 for not recycling. The smart bins will eventually cover all 150,000 households and will monitor how many times residents take their recycling bins to the curb. If it is noted that a household isn’t bringing their recyclables out, their regular trash will be sorted through and if more than 10% recyclables are found, they’ll be fined.

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The city will be spending $2.5 million a year for 25,000 households to be outfitted with the high-tech bins until the entire city is equipped with them. In England similar bins are used to measure the amount of garbage people throw out, and if you’re throwing out too much you will be fined for your waste problem. The city is on its way to automating all parts of the garbage collection process. They say they earn $26 a ton for recyclables but have to pay $30 a ton to dispose of waste in landfills,so  the program will end up helping the city’s bottom line.

Last year Cleveland sent 220,000 tons of garbage to the landfill but collected only 5,800 tons of recyclables. “We’re trying to make sure Cleveland stays clean and residents are properly informed on how these things should be set out,” Waste Collection Commissioner Ronnie Owens told Cleveland.com. “By issuing these tickets, it’s helping us change the attitude or perception on how things should be set out.” It all starts with a little attitude change and these smart bins are a great way to get everyone on track. The fines will be slapped on the owners of the buildings, not individual tenants, so landlords are charged with making sure the occupants of their apartments are following the rules.

Via Gizmodo

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1 Comment

  1. fossiliferous_g August 23, 2010 at 11:19 am

    The idea is ideal, but is it realistic? Who is going to be paid to come out and go through resident trash when their recycling cans say they’re not putting out enough recyclables? And where does that leave the community in terms of privacy?
    What about people like me who don’t necessarily recycle everything, but actually wash and reuse items like coffee cans, plastic bags and bottles? I also hang on to a lot of items for crafts and activities with my son…do I get penalized because I don’t recycle enough? Even if I don’t get charged, people would still be wasting time going through my trash to be sure that there’s less than 10% recyclables. And final question, what about those times when people are moving or spring cleaning and there is a lot of garbage that needs to be disposed of all at once? Do those loads trigger the “you-have-too-much-garbage” sensors?
    I’d love to see this work, but I might be a bit hesitant in supporting it if I come out in the morning and see some guy digging through my coffee grinds and used tampons…I mean, really. I think it would be better to offer more ways to recycle – Canada has a compost program…maybe we should look into that.

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