Brickbat: Rubbish


Bag of chips
Vladimir Voronin /

Officials in London, England, fined roofing contractor Stewart Gosling £300 ($380) because he'd tossed some empty water bottles, sandwich wrappers and chips bags in the back of his van. He was fined for hauling waste without a license. "They were talking about a plastic bag around two feet high, which was filled with rubbish from my lunch," he said.

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  1. Little Eichmanns.

  2. Maybe not such a bad thing they left the EU after all. We’ve got enough regulations in Germany already, don’t need someone to tell me I’m not allowed to transport some empty chips bags in my car without a license.

    Who eats chips in his car anyway. Barbarians.

    1. Yeah, I’m looking at the reaction of the village and…this is no bureaucratic hiccup or loophole or curiosity. This is a deliberate message being sent. Small business owners, you will apply for every license you might remotely imagine might someday be relevant; and you will consider it normal and expected that no matter how many you do, we will come up with another one to hit you with a fine all the same. Just consider it the normal course of things, the normal cost of doing business. Budget for it. And surely you laugh to think you can shame us to the press by “exposing” our alleged silliness and unfairness. What can you do to us? You hold no cards; we will call your bluff

      1. …Oh, and I wouldn’t go getting any ideas that Brexit is going to save the Brits. At some point David Attenborough is going to do a documentary on how the toxic human race is killing the planet with its unlicensed personal rubbish hauling; every chips wrapper in London ends up choking two baby manatees to death in Cuba. And so head Tory Euroskeptic Michael Gove will go on telly to crow that Brexit will free the UK to lead the way in imposing the planet’s strictest regulations on such activity–perhaps tripling the license fee and fines, banning chips wrappers (and perhaps chips–they are so fatty and salty for you you know), and making Britons take out their rubbish henceforth in earth-friendly paper bags not plastic. There is a curious presence of hardline environmentalism on the mainstream nationalist Right (see Zac Goldsmith) in the UK.

        1. I have a sad but strong suspicion that Brexit will mean little more than replacing faceless, unaccountable bureaucrats in Brussels with faceless, unaccountable bureaucrats in London (and probably Edinburgh, Belfast and Cardiff, for good measure). Given the outrages the once-proud people of the UK have meekly submitted to over the last few decades, I fear it’s far too late to hope they might regrow any sort of backbone now.

          1. Oh most certainly so. There were even, if we’re being honest, some number of “the EU infringes on our national freedom to block, regulate, subsidize, etc. this or that” arguments being explicitly paraded about by the Leavers in the referendum. This of course was more than enough fig leaf to give the Europhile “libertarians” and “classical liberals” (including many Americans) excuse to cluck their cosmo neoliberal tongues at us populist protectionist nationalist racist troglodyte paleos. (I am probably the weakest subsidiarist out there among libertarians, and even I loathe these people.)

            1. …In any case, I always used the Churchillian slogan that Brexit was merely “the end of the beginning”–the thing that would enable the liberation of the British people but by no means guaranteed it (or even made it particularly likely). But I had no idea it would really be this bad. It isn’t Brussels that proudly imposed (and is proudly entrenching with ever more cartoonish zeal) the absurdist nanny state, surveillance state, PC police state, butterknife-grabbing state, speech-gag state, multicultural-identity state, child-grabbing state, etc., authoritarianism on that escalating joke of a country. It’s their own legitimate sovereign Crown. It’s not just for the bungling of the process itself that enthusiasm for the promise of Brexit has since fermented into a broad, unfocused malaise of cynicism and bitterness. The profound, hope-sapping banefulness of their entire ruling system and political culture puts ours to shame. It’s one of the saddest stories in the recent history of civilization.

              1. In matters of personal freedoms, Germany is a libertarian utopia, compared to the UK. (We even get to have swastikas in video games now!)

                1. I hear that in many towns and cities in Germany, you may not cut down your own tree(s) without special permission… Unless the tree has died (while still standing). So people knock a bunch of copper nails in the base of the tree, and the copper kills the tree in a year or so… THEN you may cut it down! … De Facto: You must TORTURE your unwanted tree to death, before you may cut it down! (If you want to hide the nails, just sink them deep and cover the nail-heads with dirt or mud).

                  Have you heard of this?

                  1. Yes, it depends on state- and/or municipality-law though. Also, there are, amidst others, limits to age and size of the tree. So you’ll end up requesting a permission anyway, unless you’re an environmental lawyer.

                    Fun fact: A large part of the German environmental mentality (especially concerning trees) originated with the Third Reich.

                    1. The gift that keeps on giving.

              2. While we in the USA pat ourselves on the back, saying, “Thank Government Almighty that we here in the USA have more common sense than those crazy self-over-regulating Limeys, please beware that we need the permission (prescription from) a Government Almighty-licensed doctor to blow on a cheap plastic flute! Only in the USA do we “need” such things for our own good; even crazy Limeys need NOT ask for permission to blow on a cheap plastic flute!


                1. Ah, I had forgotten about your lung flute situation. Hmm, you can have one in Cuba or North Korea but not in the USA. I admit I put it out of mind because it makes me very ashamed and sad. I hope your health has been good lately btw.

                  1. Hi Diego, my health is fine lately, thanks! I got me one of these (WITH permission from a doctor!) 5 or 6 years ago by now, and it didn’t work for me anywyay. $55 some dollars down the crapper, for what I as an engineer would estimate to be $3, maybe $5 at the most, in manufacturing costs. It had to pre-tested & approved by the FDA, of course.

  3. Sounds like some “officials in London” just asked to have a giant load of garbage funnelled in through their living room windows.

  4. “Your papers are not in order.”

  5. “Oi, you got a loicense for that trash?”

  6. I can’t get too worked up over this officious nonsense, it’s England. You had your chance in 1776, you didn’t take it, now you’re suffering the consequences.

    And someday some commenter from Libertopia will be saying the same thing about some incident in the USA. You had your chance in 2016, you didn’t take it, now you’re suffering the consequences.

  7. The bag in the picture is showing “crisps”, not “chips”. Chips usually just come in waxed paper… crisps come in bags.


    1. Whatever you say biscuits boy

      1. I like chips and fish, so Arthur Treacher’s uber alles.

  8. What’s the fine for tossing it out the window? If it’s less, there’s your solution.

    1. Or tell them that you aren’t throwing then away. You are just saving them for later consumption once the total leftovers of the bags become sufficient to make a meal. Now they aren’t rubbish. Then prove he isn’t doing just that.

      1. You were saving them to recycle them into clothing for orphans.

    2. The fixed fine for hauling garbage without a license in the UK is 300 pounds. But for littering, the fixed fine is only 80 pounds.

      1. + many litterbugs

  9. This is the sort of story you need to bookmark when arguing with statists.

    There obvious are no limits to what this city council can do. This man is actually damn lucky he did not have a headache or some knee pain that and taken an Advil for it. “Ah, I see you’re practicing medicine without a license. That will get you some prison time!”

    What? He congratulated his child’s good report card by telling them that if they keep it up, they’ll have a bright future? That’s fortune telling without clearly indicating it’s strictly for entertainment, which constitutes deceptive business practices and willful fraud! His jail sentence just doubled.

    1. Also driving under influence without having completed the mandatory Advil Driving Capability test, after which you can apply for the Advil Driving Permit, class 1/c (for 4-wheeled motorized vehicles with a total weight of not more than 1t, and a maximum speed of less than 80mph), IF you can list at least three certified reasons why you should get the permit, and defend them in front of a licenced Advil Expert Adviser.

  10. Well, rules are rules.
    Cost benefit analysis; what is the fine for littering? What is the fine for assaulting officious assholes? What are the dues to join a right wing radical group?

    1. What are the dues to join a right wing radical group?

      You mean a neo-Nazi group; enough with the apologist code words. If you must, there are several plans available.

      1. I don’t get it. Being opposed to ridiculous overreach by government makes one Nazi or right wing? I’m pretty sure you can find authoritarianism on both left and right.

        1. He doesn’t think it is authoritarianism when government imposes force for something he likes.

        2. Being opposed to ridiculous overreach by government makes one Nazi or right wing?

          Yep. Remember that if you don’t want something to be done by government, you don’t want it to be done at all. If you don’t like socialized medicine then you want all hospitals to shut down. If you don’t like welfare then you oppose all charity. If you don’t like public schools then you don’t like any schools at all. In short, if you don’t like ridiculous government overreach, then you want people to die. That makes you a Nazi.

        3. Pretty much. The Left generally considers rights to be collective, and less important than government programs. There is no such thing as government overreach unless it violates the rights of a protected class or a LOT of people at once.

    2. The fine for littering is only 80 pounds. And that’s if you get caught.

  11. There seems to be more to this story than they are describing.

    ‘The waste in this case was being transported in commercial refuse bag in the trader’s vehicle.

    So apparently you have to use special bags for commercial refuse, presumably as opposed to residential refuse.

    And he had at least one of those commercial refuse bags in his truck.

    The question would be, why? Why are you tossing your lunch in a commercial bag if you are just policing up lunch? Why not the bag it came in, or a grocery bag, or any other small bag? The bag they used for the supporting photo is the size of a small grocery bag and has some sort of logo on it. It does not appear to be a “commercial refuse bag”. If so, he staged a much more innocent bag for the press. (If that is a “commercial refuse bag” I have to ask, why in the world do the make them in 2.5 gallon sizes?) It could be that he had the commercial bag because he uses a commercial service on the jobsite and just happened to have them around…. but why stage it like that wasn’t an issue?

    Roofers have to haul away a lot of waste. It probably costs quite a bit in merry ol’ England to dispose of that type of refuse, particularly if they have that sort of protectionism in place. It makes one wonder if the fine isn’t about making him either use a commercial garbage hauler or get a license for himself that ensures he’s complying with their codes on dumping waste.

    1. Ok, that question about commercial refuse bags was bugging me, so I asked google. It appears that there’s something you’d just know if you were from England. They handle charging businesses for their garbage by selling pre-paid sacks for commercial garbage. In this case it costs 240 pounds for 100 bags. So somewhere in the vicinity of 3 bucks for a bag at current exchange rates.

      And this guy has them just laying around in his van and uses them to toss out his lunch? But he doesn’t haul commercial refuse himself?

      Nah, not buying it. He’s trying to skate on the licensing fee and just got caught. His story makes no sense when you see how they handle commercial refuse in merry ol’ England.

      Side note…. holy crap! $3 per bag to toss your garbage?

      1. Good eye. Haven’t checked out the story myself–and probably will not, to be honest–but it’s always good to be skeptical of things that reaffirm what you want to hear. Looking back, there were a few eyebrow raisers for me too but I couldn’t be bovvered to make anything further of them.

      2. Don’t know how they do it elsewhere, but up my way most cities sell special bags for trash pickup. They cost a lot of money, and the quality is shit. Bags rip all the time so you end up using a lot more than you need. But you can’t use regular trash bags and double bag when the trash man comes. You have to use their bags for two reasons. One is that the extra cost is supposed to pay for the service, but also so the trash man can inspect your garbage through the clear bag to be sure you’re not tossing anything that can be recycled. If they see recyclable material, or if it is double bagged, they won’t pick it up. It’s a racket.

        1. Sounds like the government officials up near your way are asking to have a dumptruck full of garbage funnelled in through their living room windows.

      3. A few questions for you: How do you take out the garbage to the curb for pickup without transporting it? Are you required to haul the garbage out without a bag, and fill the bag at the curb? If you opt to take the garbage to a collection center instead of waiting for it to be picked up, are you required to only fill the trash bag with the trash at the collection center?

  12. I might just be steeped in the traditions of the South, but am annoyed no one, even the driver himself, is asking the obvious:
    ? Why the hell are they stopping and searching a private car anyway?
    ? Why are they searching a car for garbage?
    ? Why are they punishing a guy who is picking up garbage, instead of throwing it out the window?
    ? Why does the guy think a warning would have been okay?
    ? Why does anyone think anything in someone’s non-public vehicle, if it isn’t contraband, is anyone’s business at all?
    When the gov’t can pull you over, and fine you, with the threat of imprisonment and/or violence if you fail to pay, for having garbage in your car … you are very far past the time for necessary revolution.

    1. Yup. Brits are 99% statist cucks.

    2. It’s especially silly when you consider that the fine for being caught littering would have saved him 220 pounds — the fixed fine for littering is only 80 pounds.

  13. Cor blimey guvnah toodle pip threpenny bits apples and pairs there are some limeys popping up in the Reason comments. Damp, mildewy, grubby little bastards that spawn on a rain-soaked, muddy little rock the other side of the north Atlantic. It’s taken the best part of 250 years but I think some of them might finally be evolving an appreciation for individual liberties and limiting the power of government. Too bad it’s too late for them.

    1. *pears

      1. I wouldn’t have been entirely shocked to find that “pairs” was some kind of archaic spelling of “pears” still in use across the pond.

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