Trash Cops?

It’s a bit of a leap from ‘Recycling Ambassadors’ to ‘Trash Cops,’ but that’s the very jump made in this AOL column.

At issue here are the Los Angeles city employees–whatever you want to call them–who make sure Angelinos are recycling correctly, including mixing food scraps in with the yard waste.

The ‘Trash Cop’ outrage seems a bit much, given this paragraph near the end of the piece.

Offenders are first picked up on the sanitation department’s radar by trash collectors, who note when blue and green bins don’t contain proper waste. Next, an ambassador is dispatched to look in the bins on a future date, and if a wrong mix of trash is found, the resident will be counseled. Further noncompliance results in the above notice and then bin confiscation.

This piece focuses on the potential waste of taxpayer dollars–a supposed $1 million–to pay 8 recycling cops/ambassadors. That amount seemed a bit steep and indeed clicking on the link in the article shows it to be about half that. Still, that’s real money in this economic climate.

But the other issues embedded here are privacy and big government. And certainly they’re worth discussing.If they create cleaner recycling streams, are these employees warranted? Is better recycling justification enough to pay workers to dig through people’s trash?

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