Digging through Seattle garbage is ‘downright un-American’

Jul 17, 2015, 12:07 PM | Updated: 1:22 pm
The city began issuing compost warnings this year, but won’t actually start fining people unt...
The city began issuing compost warnings this year, but won't actually start fining people until Jan. 1 2016. (AP)

Privacy advocates are suing the City of Seattle over its new composting law. The complaint isn’t so much about composting, but about privacy.

Seattle Public Utilities staff are looking at our garbage to figure out who is putting coffee grounds and banana peels in the garbage and not in the required compost bin.

A Libertarian public interest group, the Pacific Legal Foundation, filed the lawsuit Thursday.

They found their eight plaintiffs by asking for volunteers. Seattleite Greg Moon was happy to join the cause.

“The idea of a systematic program for the government to go through our trash is kind of offensive to me. It’s downright un-American,” Moon said.

The city began issuing warnings this year but won’t actually start fining people until Jan. 1, 2016 to give residents a chance to get used to the law. Fines were originally supposed to begin on July 1, 2015, but the city suspended them on Earth Day, April 22, after finding there was a 71-percent awareness of the composting ordinance.

Moon says he’s all for composting and definitely recycling, which he’s passionate about. He’s been doing it since he was 8 years old.

But enforcing the city’s composting regulation in this way, Moon argues, is not OK and is illegal.

Moon said he posted his concerns to Facebook and got quite a response.

“I happen to be more of a Libertarian, conservative, but one of my lefty friends was real excited about it, so I think this particular topic kind of transcends political labels,” Moon said. “I think a lot of Americans just have this intrinsic desire for privacy.”

The City of Seattle says it received the composting complaint Thursday and is reviewing it. Officials won’t comment on the case.

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Digging through Seattle garbage is ‘downright un-American’