Do not dump trash in public bins – an economic & regulatory instrument at work

In the US town of Northampton, residents and business owners in the habit of using the city’s trash receptacles for their own garbage must beware. The City Council has stepped up the penalty for dumping trash into public bins. The measure also increases oversight and enforcement of the law. The Hampshire Gazette in Massachusetts reports that the policy change, according to Karen Bouquillon, the city’s waste-management coordinator, was a direct response to people abusing the city’s trash barrels. “The wrong people are filling them up and in some cases, they’re overflowing and litter is blowing all the way down the street,” she said.



A first offence for using public recycling or trash receptacles for household or business garbage is now US$25, a second offence is US$50 and a third offence is US$100. Scavenging through public bins is also prohibited and subject to the fines.



The City Council also voted to make the charges non-criminal, rather than criminal. That way, Bouquillon says, they will be easier to impose. Previously, people caught putting household garbage into a public barrel could be fined, Bouquillon said. But because the charge was considered a criminal one, ironically, it was harder to enforce, she said. “If someone didn’t pay the fine, we could take them to court, but we might not get a trial date for three to four years,” Bouquillon said. “It was too much trouble, and it was silly because people knew it was difficult to pursue.”



Under the new penalty system, the Board of Health, the Department of Public Works, the Parking Commission and the Police Department are authorized to issue fines.

Ano da Publicação: 2002
Fonte: Warmer Bulletin Enews #46-2002
Autor: Kit Strange, Warmer Bulletin
Email do Autor: kit@residua.com

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