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  • Green Police Becomes a Reality in Cleveland

    Remember Audi’s absurd “Green Police” Super Bowl commercial where green cops arrest citizens for using plastic bags, plastic water bottles and sort through the community’s trash cans to ensure they’re recycling? Well, the absurdity is about to hit the streets of Cleveland. Cleveland.com reports:

    It would be a stretch to say that Big Brother will hang out in Clevelanders’ trash cans, but the city plans to sort through curbside trash to make sure residents are recycling—and fine them $100 if they don’t. The move is part of a high-tech collection system the city will roll out next year with new trash and recycling carts embedded with radio frequency identification chips and bar codes.

    The chips will allow city workers to monitor how often residents roll carts to the curb for collection. If a chip show a recyclable cart hasn’t been brought to the curb in weeks, a trash supervisor will sort through the trash for recyclables.

    The high-tech collection system is an expansion of a 15,000-resident pilot program that commenced in 2007. Proponents of the program argue that not only is the $2.5 million program good for the environment, but because the city will collect revenue from the fines and from recycled goods, the trash police will eventually raise revenue. The article mentions that the city pays $30 per ton to place garbage in a landfill but would receive $26 per ton for recycling goods. We know that the city will pass the costs onto the consumer, but the article makes no mention of whether residents will reap any savings benefits.

    Much more problematic is the intrusion onto individual liberties. Like much of the “Green Police” commercial—and the environmentalist movement as a whole—the goal is to change human behavior. But a recent Rasmussen survey “shows that only 17% of adults believe most Americans would be willing to make major cutbacks in their lifestyle in order to help save the environment. Most (65%) say that’s not the case.”

    Skeptics of catastrophic temperature increases compare belief in global warming to a religion, saying that alarmists base their views on faith much more than concrete science. This could have significant consequences if Congress enacts cap-and-trade legislation or other policies that aim to increase Americans’ energy bills. The goal, of course, is to force consumers to use less energy.

    We should allow for choice and respect the choices of others. If someone chooses not to drink bottled water because they believe it is bad for the environment, so be it. (Interestingly, the environmentalist push that tap water is unsafe led to the rise of bottled water.) Those who choose to drink tap water should respect the preference of those who enjoy bottled. Conflicts will certainly arise among people with different preferences, but to advocate that one is morally right and one is morally wrong is objectionable.

    Posted in Energy [slideshow_deploy]

    9 Responses to Green Police Becomes a Reality in Cleveland

    1. Bobbie says:

      Is the commercial for real? Oh it is hilarious, but scary. What is Audi saying though? Are they being sarcastic but compliant?

      Let us live our lives, for pete's sake! I use plastic for fresh veggies/fruits and frozen products and paper for everything else! Big whoopi ding dong. Another area, government oversteps it's bounds to grow needlessly, intervening in our private lives.

    2. Bobbie says:

      Is the commercial for real? Oh it is hilarious, but scary. What is Audi saying though? Are they being sarcastic but compliant?

      Let us live our lives, for pete's sake! Plastic for fresh veggies/fruits and frozen products and paper for everything else! Big whoopi ding dong. Another area, government oversteps it's bounds to grow needlessly, intervening in our private lives.

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    5. Robert G says:

      This problem can be solved in November. Vote anybody that supports the global warming/climate change scam out of office.

    6. Nico, Massachusetts says:

      Take a moment to look at this from a different perspective — as if you're a Republican member of the committee responsible for Cleveland's garbage and are running out of money. This is capitalism — the city is offering a service to citizens. Citizens need to pay for that service. The city wants to make the service it is offering the citizens pay for itself. It should pay for itself. Are we "forced" to take the city's offer? No; we get to vote; that is how we make choices on a large scale. We cannot make small-scale choices in large cities, unless they are broken up into tiny neighborhoods. If you're interested in communes and communal living, that's great, but it's not perhaps practical in this densely populated area. Unfortunately, we cannot trust our neighbors to take their own garbage to the dump. (And it would be wasteful for all of us to drive our separate vehicles separately to the dump.) If the garbage collection were run by a corporation, presumably, this program or something similar would already be in effect (see, for example, private prisons).

    7. Geoff, New Jersey says:

      Cleveland residents should put out their recyclables as infrequently as possible, so that the trash police have to go through tons and tons of curbside trash looking for cans and bottles. After a few months of that, Big Brother Cleveland will re-think its flawed strategy. (The only problem is, they will probably become more, not less, oppressive.)

    8. Bastian, Berlin says:

      Regarding Nicos comment you would have to ask yourself, why the city is running garbage collection and does not leave it to private companies. The city would merely have to regulate and police the companies but let them run their business largely by themselves. The private companies would then in determining the rates for their customers take into account how well seperated the garbage is and thus how high the disposal costs are. That would mean that people would seperate until the marginal cost (in time and convenience lost) for aditional marginal degree of seperation is equal to the marginal increase in fee for garbage collection. The customers would maximise their utility. If somebody does not want to spend time on seperating the garbage, he will pay higher rates, that would be optimal (supposed the regulations have the companies internalize the total social cost of the carbage).

      The story here is completely different, the $100 are unrelated to aditional cost and termed "a fine", it is supposed to be punishment for bad behaviour and not reimbursement for higher cost. The city is trying to reeducate the citizens to the mindset of an ecoideology.

      Finally I wouldn't be sure if the citizens aren't forced to take the cities offer. At least where I live you cannot opt out.

    9. Billie says:

      I agree, Bastian. We have a recycling program where the government calls it "free service" which my family and I do not take part in as we recycle our own. The so-called "free service" comes out of our property taxes even though we aren't serviced!

      Whatever government services isn't "free" economics or capitalism.

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