CleanScapes Cleans Up

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Remember that small Seattle sanitation company that was bidding for a huge city contract? The one whose founder/CEO dreams of tiny cameras to monitor whether or not people recycle their garbage?

If [CEO Chris] Martin is allowed to implement what he calls "my best idea, my get-people-riled-up thing," we could all soon be subject to a kind of garbage audit, too. He wants to bring the equivalent of the red-light camera to your front curb. Just as the traffic camera captures you running through a stoplight, CleanScapes' incriminating photos would catch you improperly disposing of a milk carton. (It belongs in the recycling bin.)

Yeah, keep laughing. They just won the contract.

Seattle hasn't determined what collection practices it might change, Martin said. CleanScapes has made some unorthodox proposals, though, including mandatory waste audits and mounting cameras on garbage trucks to monitor the improper disposal of hazardous wastes. It also proposed garbage trucks downtown running on compressed natural gas, to cut noise.

Woohoo!

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  1. What’s the opposite of secession? Expulsion? There’s got to be some way we can sell Seattle to Canada.

  2. Warren, the PNW would happily be expulsed…you get to keep Bush and Alabama…

    Have fun with that.

  3. What’s the problem? If you aren’t doing anything wrong, you have nothing to fear.

    Everybody drink!

  4. Used to live in Seattle. They so, so deserve this.

    That said, if the Pacific Northwest was expelled, I’d probably go live there (not Seattle though).

    And Warren, I’m pretty sure the opposite of secession is unification.

  5. I do think the camera thing is a hare-brained idea…btw.

    But really, don’t most people put their garbage in plastic bags that are closed? How do you audit something that’s closed. Maybe Seattle doesn’t do that and the garbage is open, but seems like there’d be a lot od pictures of garbage bags.

    I love the recycling though, it’s cut my garbage down so low I only get pick up once a month. The recycling container is huge, the garbage one a third of the size. They don’t take glass, but I haul that somewhere once in a while. What’s happened is I tend to not buy products in glass.

  6. mandatory see through bags

  7. In Seattle, garbage throws you out.

  8. appropriate?

    I’d like to thank these nitwits for reminding me that I hate fascist liberals even more than Republicans.

  9. Good lord.

    Anything…ANYTHING to collect more $$ from everyday people.

    I’ve realized recently that alternate-side parking in the NY bouroughs is based mainly around revenue generation, not actual management of space/traffic. Seriously. I live in a warehouse neighborhood. There are whole blocks with no residential space at all. Still, I end up paying probably $100 a month in tickets if im out of town for more than 2 days.

  10. This will be priceless. I’m sure a ton of douchebags in Seattle think this is a great, save-the-earth idea. And then they will start getting pinched for idiotic infractions and the wailing and gnashing of teeth will start.

    I will look on with anticipation as they get the type of eco-fanatic garbage collection they think they want, but actually just want for other people.

  11. I did not know that Seattle was run by a bunch of Republican big-brother types! Wow, they are everyplace! Even in the bedroom trying to register homosexual marriages!

    Just you wait, the Seattle Republicans who rammed this garbage down the throats of the people will be prosecuting homosexuals for having sex without a license any day now.

  12. Episiarch….keep in mind that recycling has been going on around these parts for decades. Even in Podunk Oregon (I live in a pretty rural area) there’s benn voluntary recycling since the early 80’s..for cardboard and metal then. And you had to do it yourself.

    Plus we had the bottle bill long before that (the 5 cent thing..from a Republican no less).

    The plastics have only kicked in recently, in the past decade.

    So for most people, it’s already a habit around these parts. And it does save on garbage bills…

    Again, I think the cameras are hare-brained. The financial incentive should be enough..not to mention I have a conservative streak (in the REAL sense) to not waste things.

    People want to throw gargabe willy nilly into landfills can forgo the garbage servie and haul the garbage somewhere else unsorted to their heart’s content.

    I just wish the millions of people who showed up in the PNW over the last few decades would go back to where they came from. Maybe tickets for milk cartons in the garbage will do it…praying for permanant rain hasn’t worked.

    Seattle in particular, hell, all of Puget Sound and PDX, too wasn’t ready for the influx. I remember a time when the weren’t traffic jams on I-5…you want to crowd into an urban area you don’t get to play “rugged individualist”..that’s what Idaho is for.

  13. THE URKOBOLD HAS THIS TO SAY TO SEATTLE AND THE REST OF THE PACIFIC-NORTHWEST.

  14. I don’t understand why recycling companies are allowed to exploit my labor without paying me. If they want to resell my glass, plastic, paper, etc. for profit, they can damn well mine my garbage themselves at their own cost.

    Here’s a good solution: grind up the solid waste, combine it with a suitable amount of yard waste, and allow it to compost. Then, one could separate the solids (glass shards, plastic shreds, etc.), recycle them for a profit, and sell the remaining compost as fertilizer. All without me having to donate my time and effort to some politically well-connected company with an incentive to monitor my behavior for their own personal gain.

    Mandatory recycling is worse than a tax: it is a transfer by government to a private concern akin to eminent domain being used to make space for a shopping mall.

  15. Actually, the folks in Seattle are pretty good about recycling already…at home. Where the issue comes in is at the workplace.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but didn’t these guys pull a Freegan and go dumpster diving (in shorts, no less) to find evidence, only to come up with a pile of newspaper (wrapped in a plastic bag) that should have been recycled?

    See, in Seattle, if the container has “food” waste on it, it is garbage and can’t be recycled. So my idea is to take fresh dog poo, smear it on newspaper, and wrap it tight in plastic. Then I’ll throw it in a dumpster and call in to the tip line to report it. Since it has “food” waste, the dumpster owner is off the hook, and hopefully the CleanScapes idiots get what they deserve.

  16. Oh capelza, the eternal cry of “I was here first! You can’t come in!” or, “I moved here, but no one else should!” So I take it you’re anti-immigration, right? Or just anti-PNW immigration?

    I’ve only been to Seattle once – LOVED it, but it was in July-August so I don’t think I made a fair judgment. People seemed lovely, but I didn’t tell anyone that I own guns, send my kid to a parochial school and sometimes vote for Republicans so, again, I don’t think I had an opportunity for a realistic assessment of the place. But I dug the weather and the water.

  17. And it does save on garbage bills…

    And it creates new bills, too!

  18. So my idea is to take fresh dog poo, smear it on newspaper, and wrap it tight in plastic.

    Why dog poo? Why not cat poo? Or if you want to be real nasty …people poo?

  19. mandatory see through bags

    This will run afoul of the plan to mandate that all Hefty bags be made of paper.

  20. What’s happened is I tend to not buy products in glass.

    Lol. Glass is probably the most eco-friendly packaging material.

  21. Yeah..you busted me. A girl can dream, though. Hell, I supported a Republican who told people to not move here..Tom McCall (I wasn’t old enough to vote yet). It’s in the blood here.

    It isn’t like the PNW suddenly got “hippies” and has gone to hell..it’s had this “environmental” streak for a long time from some Republicans even. Anyone who didn’t know this wasn’t paying attention.

    As for “liberals” owning guns in PNW…you’d be suprised how many do here. We also have the least church-going population if I remember correctly.

    Seattle is still a great city…but it is hard to take when you are at a dead stop, literally on 1-5. And as I said, if you want to move to the PNW and be your libertarian bad self…move to Idaho or eastern Oregon…if you want to live in a huge city…crammed to the gills…then instead of bitching find one that doesn’t have rules.

    If folks don’t like it here..they can excerise that very American choice and stay the hell away. I hear Atlanta is big on growth.

  22. Living in seattle, I’m super excited for big brother to get busy. He’s already out and about (http://pics.livejournal.com/cigarette_pizza/pic/000cg2x9) now it’s time to get to work!

  23. “will be prosecuting homosexuals for having sex without a license any day now”

    The only possible outcome of what you are talking about is a “non-liscencee” fetish.

  24. Mandatory recycling is worse than a tax:

    Mandatory recycling is slavery.

  25. AND SLAVERY IS BAD. AND WRONG.

    WE NEED A STRONGER WORD. BADONG. YES. SLAVERY IS BADONG.

  26. smartass,
    “Why dog poo? Why not cat poo? Or if you want to be real nasty …people poo?”

    Well, I have a dog…and my shit don’t stink.

  27. Capelza – It’s not like I don’t sympathize. I live in a city of 5 million and traffic is a constant and constantly growing worry, and as this city (Houston) will never have an adequate public transit system (and I’m a part of the problem) it’s only going to get worse cos people keep showing up. And we’re not even pretty or hip, like the PNW. We’re just cheap, employed and business friendly. And I don’t think our recyling habits are all that great – I haven’t seen statistics on it.

    But we are somewhat – only somewhat, mind you -a little more resistant to Big Brother and the Monitoring Company.

  28. “People want to throw gargabe willy nilly into landfills can forgo the garbage servie and haul the garbage somewhere else unsorted to their heart’s content.”

    They haul their garbage into the mountains on weekends. I live in the Sierras and piles of garbage, tires and appliances have filled many small canyons. As garbage regulations increase in the cities so do the garbage piles in the country.

  29. I’ve realized recently that alternate-side parking in the NY bouroughs is based mainly around revenue generation, not actual management of space/traffic.

    Actually, it’s based around street cleaning.

  30. stubby…

    Believe me..I am not fond of the “we know what’s best for you crowd”…

    But the ones I tend to owrry about are the chrisitanists who move here and want to go all Southern on us with THEIR invasions of privacy.

    We fought for years with one yahoo and his group who used the “OMGZ the Gays!!1” to get his foot in the door. He also opposed choice and contrception, he just never stressed that or that women should be in submission to men. Ballot intiative after ballot iniative…

    Recycling is kind of part of the region so this doesn’t freak me out like the religious wackos do. So while Houston may not, I don’t know, have that problem..I find Texas amongst others to be not that Libertarian on social issues…I’d be happy to sort my milk cartons from my garbage (I already do anyway when i don’t reuse them) as long as I don’t have some religious jerk telling me that my daughter can’t make choices for her own body.

  31. “Well, I have a dog…and my shit don’t stink.”

    but your fucking knowledge of geography certainly does. Bulgaria. wow.

  32. “Joe Naborz | October 24, 2007, 1:31pm | #

    “People want to throw gargabe willy nilly into landfills can forgo the garbage servie and haul the garbage somewhere else unsorted to their heart’s content.”

    They haul their garbage into the mountains on weekends. I live in the Sierras and piles of garbage, tires and appliances have filled many small canyons. As garbage regulations increase in the cities so do the garbage piles in the country.

    Hell, people have been doing that forever…it was/is easier to dump it in the woods than pay a fee at the landfill. I honestly don’t think you can blame “regulation” for that but rather some people don’t want to pay for garabge service.

    And you will see more and more..because..wait for it..there are more and more people. Since the year of my birth, the population in this country has nearly doubled…there’s going to be more garbage. And more people choosing to dump it in the woods rather than pay.

  33. URK,
    “but your fucking knowledge of geography certainly does. Bulgaria. wow.”

    Yeah, but it’s better now. Besides, I have other skills…

  34. Hey capelza. Get the fuck out of our land. We were here before all y’all white fucks.

  35. Hey Yakima native…Huron and Wynadotte here..bite me.

  36. Oh hey, I know something about this guy. His process is to leave trash bags in the alleys. He claims he picks them up regularly and they’re safter than dumpsters (which attract crime). Except many residents complain that the bags get torn open by seagulls and create a rat problem. He counters this by saying that his trash pickup service is more regular and therefore the bags don’t stay around long.

    There is an alley downtown where the dumpster ‘crime’ problem has been solved, and several cop acquaintences I have claim it’s the safest alley in the downtown core and that’s WITH dupsters. They bathe the alley in the “light of god” by placing electric lights throughout, and they pipe “it’s a small world” (very quietly) on a looping track. This is enough to drive even sane people crazy and the alley is absolutely clear. I walked by it the other night. I would hold a cub-scout meeting in that alley at 3am and never be worried one bit about it.

  37. I’ve never understood why people move someplace very different from their home, and then proceed to try to turn it into a place just like home. I understand not wanting to have to leave one place for another, but sometimes you gotta do it. Expecting to remake the new neighbors in your image is stupid. Religious conservatives who can’t coexist with non-religious non-conservatives should stay off the left coast and out of the PNW. PNW and left coast lefties should avoid the South, even the urban and econmically vibrant South. Don’t move to Houston if you are offended by God, guns, or greed (gays are quite happy here – we’re very purple). Don’t move from Pakistan to Amsterdam and get pissed off cos people do drugs and let women run around loose. Much of the world’s problems could be solved if the changephobic would stay the hell home.

  38. stubby..I agree with that 100%.

    On either and all sides of the spectrum.

  39. But really, don’t most people put their garbage in plastic bags that are closed? How do you audit something that’s closed. Maybe Seattle doesn’t do that and the garbage is open, but seems like there’d be a lot od pictures of garbage bags.

    Capelza, currently trash pickup is already audited, just not to the extent that this guy wants. The current system works like thus:

    Pickup crews open the lid to your can, if they see obviously recylable materials at the top of the can (stack of newspapers, filled with free aluminum cans) then they give you a “warning”. If this continues to occur, eventually they stop pickup up your garbage and you have to appeal to the city to have your pickup reinstated.

    I wanted to make a bumper sticker with Greg Nickels’ photo on it (mayor of Seattle) and have written: “I just saw this man going through your garbage!”

    Much of the world’s problems could be solved if the changephobic would stay the hell home.

    Stubby:

    to quote one of my favorite libertarians: “Doin’ right ain’t got no end.”

  40. Paul,
    “I would hold a cub-scout meeting in that alley at 3am and never be worried one bit about it.”

    The parents might wonder, though… 😛

  41. stubby,
    “Much of the world’s problems could be solved if the changephobic would stay the hell home.”

    World fuckin’ peace in one sentence. Best thing I’ve read in a while.

  42. The parents might wonder, though… 😛

    Ok, then a Brownie meeting. Nno, wait, that’s not right either…

  43. CAREFUL! EDDIE MIGHT CRASH THIS! HE’S A THIRD DEGREE WHITE BELT (HIGHEST CLASSIFICATION) IN DONDER-KWAN-OOOOOOO

  44. Paul..that’s interesting, thanks.

    My little burg is all automated now..the garbage guy never gets out of his rig..some big mechanical arm picks up the container and dumps it.

    I think it’s the same for the recycling bin, though they must be more up on that, because my neighbour kept putting glass in it and the guy came by his house to explain to him that broken glass really sucked for the sorters…

  45. What’s so funny about this, is that it’s Seattle “liberals” who want government agencies to have the authority to search through your trash… *pause for irony*

  46. My little burg is all automated now..the garbage guy never gets out of his rig..some big mechanical arm picks up the container and dumps it.

    Hmm, must not have a union. I believe that Seattle has to have 24 people on each truck. You know, for…safety or something.

  47. Paul…yeah, it’s a one man operation. Used to be two when it was manual. but I talked to the driver who is a friend and he said they weren’t having to lay anyone off…more trucks maybe, separate for the recycling bins?

  48. What’s so funny about this, is that it’s Seattle “liberals” who want government agencies to have the authority to search through your trash… *pause for irony*

    Nothing funny at all. The only difference between modern liberals and modern conservatives is which excuse they’ll use to take your freedom away. Liberals steal freedom in order to Save The Earth, Protect Your Health, or For The Children (post-birth); conservatives steal freedom to Make America Strong, Protect American Morality, or For The Children (pre-birth).

  49. Hey, it’s a private company. The market will take care of everything.

    And other than the Orwellian trash-cams, most of what they offer is pretty sensible if you take recycling seriously. And quieter garbage trucks aren’t crazy at all.

    Or is it that “…in Seattle!” is the new laugh-line? As in, “That could only happen… in Seattle! Now here’s Tom with the weather.”

  50. And other than the Orwellian trash-cams, most of what they offer is pretty sensible if you take recycling seriously.

    Isn’t most recycling still economically unviable? Doesn’t that mean that it consumes more resources to recycle than to do it new? Which leads me to ask – why should I take it seriously if it doesn’t achieve its sole justification for being?

  51. I blame Lewis and Clark.

  52. R C Dean

    As the price of petroleum goes up, the viability of plastics recycling gets cheaper in comparison.

    The big money, lest round here is paper..one of the pulp mills has converted to paper recycling.

    The local sanitation service used to make a bundle on paper..took a hit on the plastics. Not so sure now..about the plastics being so expensive to recycle. Volume and business opportunities and new techniques are there waiting for the enterprising business person.

  53. Jennifer-

    That’s really good! Can I use that?

    Please forward your address to me so I know where to send the royalty checks…

  54. Seattle is pretty good about recycling

    Oh, that’s cute. And since when was being “pretty good about recycling” good enough?

    This is about the PLANET – “Pretty good?” Pretty fucking good?

    PRETTY MOTHERFUCKING GOOD IS NOT GOOD ENOUGH– YOU MUST RECYCLE EVERYTHING PROPERLY. IN ITS PROPER CONTAINER. CLEANED AND READY TO BE RETURNED TO MOTHER GAIA – MOTHER GAIA WHOM YOU WILL NOT OFFEND.

  55. Hey, it’s a private company. The market will take care of everything.

    DannyK, when the government awards you a monopoly contract, you’re no longer private.

  56. Isn’t most recycling still economically unviable?

    A lot of it is. If recycling were a slam-dunk, then recycling would probably start spontaneously by private companies specializing in recycled goods. Since government controls, mandates and executes most recycling (yes, often with a government awarded monopoly) then it’s hard to gauge if it’s working and saving the planet as opposed to just causing more pollution somewhere else.

  57. I know the person who runs the Seattle recycling program and its compliance. The individual is what I would call Libertarian. It’s my understanding that they never issue fines even when it’s obvious folks aren’t complying. Instead they opt for education and it works more often than not because people appreciate the fact that they weren’t forced. Seattle once led the country in recycling. Now it’s down behind places like San Francisco. It’s a good thing to do and not all folks stuck in government drone jobs are drones. Some actively work on improving things from all possible angles.

    Also, the story mentions unorthodox practices like cameras on the trucks. The old trucks all have cameras so don’t take the rest of the info at face value.

  58. Most municipalities charge for waste removal either as a part of property taxes or an annual fee. My college town, possibly to shift costs as much as possible to non-voting college residents, used a trash-tag system (one tag per bag, two tags for a trash can; sold by the sheet, maybe $.75 or $1 per tag, though that was years ago… quite a scam on 13 gal “kitchen” bags, btw). However, recycling was free.

    There you have it, a market based solution that appropriately captures some of the environmental externalities of consumption, and also creates value for the end-user for recycling. And, if you don’t want to play along with trash tags, you can hire a dumpster service (as some collegetown landlords would do) without being double-charged for waste removal via taxes.

    More cities should do this.

  59. CleanScapes here – appreciate the comments. The camera idea actually will save businesses tons of money by ensuring that their vendors (janitors etc) are actually using the right containers. And yes recycle goes in clear bags. There is no plan to monitor residential recycle since Seattle residents already recycle most of their material. Finally our trucks already have the cameras for safety and risk management reasons. This use provides some return on the investment.

  60. Coldplay sucks!

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