You Better Recycle or Else!

Should there be repercussions for not recycling?

The city of South Portland, Maine recently proposed fining residents $500 for not recycling to combat contamination issues. San Francisco, California levies a fine of $100 for not recycling or composting. If you don't recycle in Seattle, Washington there is a $50 fine with that decision. I know what you are thinking, these are East and West Coast cities. That can never happen in the Mid-West!

Well...Madison, Wisconsin fines residents $100 for failing to recycle. Wait, that's a hippie liberal college town-no way that happens here. Well...Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, similar to St. Louis, has a fine of $62.50 for mandated recycling.

Why, you ask, is Eco-Audrey writing about this, particularly on the Patch where local issues rule? Because, the city of Pagedale right here in North St. Louis County has started fining residents that do not recycle. Pagedale pays for trash and recycling collection for its residents. According to Mayor Carter, every time someone does not recycle in Pagedale, it costs the city money. The fine is minimal, and nothing close to those stated above, but still...

Eco-Audrey knows there are some people that recycle everything, and some people who refuse to recycle. However, most of us fall somewhere in between those two. Most of us will choose to recycle if it is readily available, doesn't cost too much, or isn't too inconvenient. I do feel CHOOSE is the key word here.

Let me know what you think, I would love to hear comments on how you feel on this subject.

Eco-Audrey is the fictional face of St. Louis County's Recycling Becomes Me campaign. Although Audrey is not real, the writer from St. Louis County most certainly is.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

JR March 10, 2012 at 04:56 PM
As a west coast transplant to the stl area, I've lived under these sorts of laws and it turns caring recycling into a draconian situation. Fines, stupid requirements for cutting cardboard to a particular size, removing labels off of cans, etc. It's ridiculous and oppressive. Better to support the community by making recycling EASY to do, which would encourage more participation, than by government strong arming. Because the people who do this end up creating ridiculous requirements, many abdicating all common sense. Once they get their foot in the door with telling you what to do, there is no end to what they will tell you that you have to do. Don't give them the power. Remember that although a community pays for straight waste, they actually make money on the recycling end, with any buffer paid for by that resident each month. They're not losing money on this deal. Again, just make it easier for all communities to do. When I first moved here, I used to have to drive 40 minutes to a recycling center. Now we have curbside pickup where you don't have to sort it. Spread that idea. Also have the community investigate companies that will take MORE items because the ones taken now are limited. That is what they should focus on, not slapping and controlling residents with fines..
Louise Belt March 11, 2012 at 04:17 AM
JR IS RIGHT. Remember that University City, MO was the FIRST city in the whole USA to have curbside recycling, in 1974. St. Louis beat New York City, where they have just within the last ten years, started to recycle. We have single stream recycling here, where all the recyclables go into the same bin, end up on the same movable belt where things are finally separated according to their markets. Not sure if the market for recyclables pays more than the trucks, gas and labor costs the pickup company pays, maybe that number often changes. Taking labels off cans is so past century, the cans get melted down into steel anyway, seems to me that labels are just fuel for the furnace. Fines are unnecessary and only irritate. Keep recycling voluntary. Louise
Jean Whitney March 11, 2012 at 06:38 AM
Very interesting, JR and Louise. When Chesterfield residents (several years ago) all received a free, brand new recycle bin on wheels—many complained they didn't have room for a container! I hope most have come to appreciate the reasons for recycling?
Jo Beck March 12, 2012 at 01:22 AM
I agree with Louise and JR. People should be financially encouraged to recycle, with those who recycle getting lower trash fees. Recyclers send far less to the landfill and that is good for everyone and the environment.


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