John Brandon asks a couple of good questions in “Cities Increasingly Turn to 'Trash Police' to Enforce Recycling Laws.”
Beware the green police. They don't carry guns and there's no police academy to train them, but if you don't recycle your trash properly, they can walk up your driveway and give you a $100 ticket.
They know what's in your trash, they know what you eat, they know how often you bring your recycles to the curb -- and they may be coming to your town soon. That is, if they're not already there.
In a growing number of cities across the U.S., local governments are placing computer chips in recycling bins to collect data on refuse disposal, and then fining residents who don't participate in recycling efforts and forcing others into educational programs meant to instill respect for the environment.
From Charlotte, N.C., to Cleveland, Ohio, from Boise, Idaho, to Flint, Mich., the green police are spreading out. And that alarms some privacy advocates who are asking: Should local governments have the right to monitor how you divide your paper cups from your plastic forks? Is that really the role of government?
Rather than trying to police, fine and reeducate people into respecting the environment, local governments could hire people to sort trash. Specialization creates wealth. A sorting center would allow some workers to specialize in sorting trash, lowering the cost of sorting. With the time saved, household members would have more time to concentrate on their areas of expertise or better enjoy their leisure.