A group of privacy advocates is suing the city of Seattle, arguing that having garbage collectors look through people’s trash — to make sure food scraps aren’t going into the garbage — “violates privacy rights on a massive scale.”
“A person has a legitimate expectation that the contents of his or her garbage cans will remain private and free from government inspection,” argues the lawsuit filed [last] Thursday in King County Superior Court by the Pacific Legal Foundation.
“Starting Jan. 1, it will be illegal to throw food and food waste in the trash in Seattle, when a new ban takes effect to increase recycling and composting in the city.” [Seattle Post-Intelligencer] “Food waste” includes things like used napkins and pizza boxes with food residue clinging to them. Residents are subject to fines if more than ten percent of their trash flow consists of recyclables, defined as including food and its associated materials as well as glass, metal, and other items subject to recycling. So are ordinary businesses (Seattle restaurants already come under a separate regime of recycling rules) and apartment landlords, who notoriously have trouble monitoring and controlling what tenants throw in the bins.
Readers who live there: is it lawful in Seattle to engage a private garbage service that isn’t subject to the municipal service’s rules?
- California resists idea of charging market-clearing rate for water — too much like economics — and instead encourages tattling on neighbors [New York Times, Coyote]
- Academia smitten by notion of “climate reparations” [Peter Wood, Minding the Campus]
- Costly market intervention: “Minnesota doubles down on nation’s top biodiesel law” [Watchdog]
- Reusable grocery bags have their problems for sanitation and otherwise, but California contemplates banning the alternatives [Katherine Mangu-Ward, Steven Greenhut, Reason]
- Coming: film about Kelo v. City of New London eminent domain case [Nick Gillespie, Ilya Somin]
- 45 years later: the famous 1969 fire on the Cuyahoga became a fable for its age [Jonathan Adler on the Cuyahoga]
- Should beachfront owners have to open their land to all comers? [NY Times “Room for Debate”]
- Plus: “EPA has no business garnishing wages without due process” [Examiner editorial, earlier]
Joining Seattle and Brookline, Mass., the “Bloomberg administration is considering banning Styrofoam cups and containers — popular at thousands of delis and food carts across the city — as it prepares to roll out a major recycling announcement in the coming weeks, a Sanitation Department official said yesterday.” [NY Post] “At the end of 2006, the New York Post rounded up what is very likely a partial list of items the New York City Council banned or considered banning.” [Ed Driscoll, via]
- From attorney Bob Ambrogi, on Twitter: “This felt wrong: Shortly after heated call with lawyer saying he’d sue my client, he sent me invite to connect on LinkedIn.” Related: Amy Alkon.
- “Spot the lawsuit in this commercial” [Louis Vuitton vs. Hyundai; Trademark Blog]
- Video: “Community swimming pool closes due to lawsuit” [Hazleton, Pa.; U.S. Chamber Faces of Lawsuit Abuse series; plaintiff’s side of things]
- Recycling, found materials, and why so much “green building” won’t last [Sippican Cottage and followup]
- German ban on homeschooling not a compelling reason to grant asylum to affected family [Krikorian, NRO, Volokh]
- Ted’s Center for Class Action Fairness files objections to a Costco fuel class settlement; related reflections from the judge in the recent Honda case;
- “Photographing Public Art: A Legal Waltz in Seattle” [Citizen Media Law, earlier]
- “Big Bankruptcies’ Big Fees Raising Questions” [Asarco, Station Casinos; Baxter, AmLaw Daily]
Among the consequences of the District of Columbia’s ordinance meant to encourage recycling: a bookstore stops selling mints at the checkout counter to avoid being defined as a food store. [WSJ via Hodak Value] More: Washington Post on consumer reactions, via Katherine Mangu-Ward, Reason “Hit and Run”.
“Throwing orange peels, coffee grounds and grease-stained pizza boxes in the trash will be against the law in San Francisco, and could even lead to a fine.” [San Francisco Chronicle and “Thin Green Line” blog via Coyote] And a Coyote commenter reports from a Connecticut town where
they force us to separate everything. They pick up cans, glass, plastic and newspaper. However, all the other [mandatory recycling including catalogues] must be driven to the dump/recycling center – which conveniently closes by 3pm on weekdays and by noon on Saturday. We spend at least 1.5 hours every week sorting and delivering our recycling. EVERY week.
A tidbit from the Publisher’s Weekly coverage:
Several publishers said they test all of their titles, not just novelty books but also ink-on-paper formats. Most books came through the testing with flying colors, but there were a few incidences reported in which titles did not make the grade. With the increasing interest in all things “green,” it’s interesting to note that books made of recycled materials are more likely to contain some lead or phthalates and therefore less likely to make it through the testing process.