have unleashed their Garbagestappo. Henceforth, Seattleistas who fail to
sort their trash up to the high standards of the garbage man who serves
their street will have a red flag attached to their rubbish bin. This
scarlet letter of shame is meant to alert all of the neighbors that here
lives a scallywag, a desperado and a ne'er-do-well. The owner of that
garbage will be known in all the land as an environmental despoiler of
the worst order. It's a bit like circulating those notices that warn
that a sex offender has moved into the area. Although in some Seattle
neighborhoods, the sex offender would probably be more welcome.
"I'm sure neighbors
are going to see these on their other neighbors' cans," says Rodney
Watkins, one of the moral enforcers who drives a garbage truck for one
of Seattle's waste contractors, Recology Clean
Scapes. They don't slut shame in
Seattle. They scrap shame. If you throw into your trash bin leftover
food that the garbage man deems better suited to the compost heap, he
can hang the red tag on you.
All your neighbors will start
whispering: "Did you hear? John and Jane were caught tossing out an old
Jello salad in their trash. And with a perfectly good compost bin nearby
Suddenly, those invitations to
backyard barbecues that you used to take for granted will dry up. Your
social standing will suffer. Your kids will get laughed at on the
playground. You'll lose your country club membership. You'll probably
have to move somewhere else, change your name and start over.
But that's just the warning phase
of the new law. In a few months, the garbage man can write you a ticket
that comes with a fine. The fine's not much, only $1 per offense. But
you know about camels that manage to sneak their nose under the tent
I have often wondered how the
left reconciles its hatred of the police with its love of the police
state. In a police state, there are government enforcers for just about
everything. In Washington, not even cake decorators or florists are left
alone. And in Seattle, the police state has gained a new division - the
refuse technician. If you offend his environmentalist sensibilities,
then he has the authority to mete out punishment.
"Right now, I'm tagging probably
every fifth can," Watkins told Seattle public radio station KUOW. "I
don't know if that's just the holidays, or the fact that I'm actually
paying a lot more attention."
After raising the lid on one
garbage can, he lamented to the reporter, "You can see all the oranges
and coffee grounds. All that makes great compost. You can put that in
your compost bin and buy it back next year in a bag and put it in your
For some reason, I'm reminded of a
classic scene from the movie, "Fight Club." Brad Pitt rummages through
dumpsters behind liposuction clinics to retrieve plastic bags filled
with discarded human blubber that he processes into boutique soaps. He
then markets those soaps to high-priced bath stores for $20 per bar and
marvels at what the customer must be paying.
"We were selling rich women their own fat [rear ends] back to them."
Watkins was especially offended
when he found an entire red velvet cake in one waste container. KUOW
described him as "disheartened" at the discovery.
Oh the heartbreak of the professional environmental moral exhibitionist!
Frankly, I'd be a little
disheartened myself if it were my job to inspect everyone's garbage can
for half-eaten hamburgers, banana peels and that forgotten pizza slice
that shuffled its way to the back of the refrigerator where it remained
for weeks until it molded over.
Pressuring citizens to sort their
garbage is nothing new in the Meccas of liberalism. San Francisco has
been mulling over similar laws for years. Last year, Massachusetts
banned unsorted garbage from large institutions from its landfills.
Henceforth, cafeterias, hospitals and grocery stores must divert their
food waste to composting facilities, animal feed or, if it is still
wholesome, to human consumption.
Americans do throw away an awful
lot of food. In fact, of all the food harvested in this country, only
about 60 percent is actually consumed. The rest is discarded or spoils.
And we should look for a solution.
But leftists never let an opportunity to expand the police state go to waste.