Dirty Harriet, the Recycling Cop


Rhywun sends along news of a tough new breed of NY city cop: The recycling enforcer. She's a maverick with a summons-book and she plays by her own rules. Or something like that:

"It feels good when I see everybody recycling," said Sergeant Pascall, a 47-year-old former fashion designer who came to New York from Trinidad 20 years ago. "But they're just not recycling correctly."

And so it is her job, and the job of 45 other recycling inspectors, to make sure that New Yorkers are doing what they are supposed to do. In the year after the city decided to get tough on recycling violators, inspectors issued 10,276 summonses throughout the city, collecting more than a quarter of a million dollars in fines….

In one stretch of three-story houses, Sergeant Pascall found a belt with metal inserts (not recyclable), an automobile hubcap (not recyclable), and an old plastic recycling wastebasket (not recyclable).

"There's a lot happening in here," Sergeant Pascall said, looking through another bag. Shallow plastic deli containers and clear plastic boxes, which are not accepted, were mixed with water bottles and a few tin cans, which can be recycled. But then her attention turned to a large white department store bag sitting by itself at the curb.

Sergeant Pascall put on a pair of mismatched rubber-coated gloves and untied the bag. Inside, plastic jugs were mixed with greasy food trays and toilet paper rolls, wet newspapers and coffee grounds.

She will let a few violations slide, she said, but once she counts five or more it is time to open her summons book.

"Oh, my god," she said after counting up well over five recycling sins. "This is another ticket."

Whole NY Times account here.

Quick question: Are the summonses recyclable?