Seattle Bans Throwing Food Away in Trash

Seattle, Wash. / AP

Seattle residents can no longer throw food away in their garbage due to a new law that went into effect Jan. 1.

Families can be fined $1 on their garbage bill for putting "food-contaminated cardboard" in their trashcan, as a result of the compost mandate.

The Seattle Post-Intelligencer reports:

Starting Jan. 1, it will be illegal to throw food and food waste in the trash in Seattle, when a new ban takes effect to increase recycling and composting in the city.

Currently, Seattle residents are allowed to throw food and food waste – pizza boxes, dirty napkins, soiled paper towels – in the garbage. Residents are required to have a food and yard waste collection service, but they don't have to use it for food. (Backyard composters are exempt from that requirement.)

Similarly, multi-family building owners are required to provide a compost collection service for residents, but residents don't have to use it.

But on Jan. 1, Seattle will ban food and food waste in trash.

Seattle Public Utilities (SPU) will begin issuing $1 fines when enforcement begins in July if more than 10 percent of a family’s trash is food. Property managers and businesses will face $50 fines.

The "composting requirement ordinance" will not just prohibit food from the garbage, but also "food-contaminated cardboard, paper napkins, and paper towels."

The city joined Vancouver, Portland, San Francisco, and New York City, which already have food waste laws.

Seattle residents are on board with the nanny state as 74 percent supported the measure, and only 11 percent opposed.