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The California bill’s sponsors were met with a storm of resistance from retailer lobbying groups, so they’ve put the issue to a statewide voter referendum this November. All three of these vanguard, environmentally conscious cities (Portland, San Francisco and Seattle) have some form of City-sponsored curbside recycling pickups, not just for paper and plastic but also for organic waste. In Seattle and San Francisco, things have gotten so extreme that they now have “Garbage Inspectors” who issue warning tickets and even fines if they find too much organic waste getting dumped into your trash bin instead of your compost bin.

This may be taking the PC thing a little to the extreme, but they give it teeth. Garbage is picked up only twice or in some cases once a month, whereas they’ll pick up your recycling every week.

 

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You may be laughing and shaking your head, but consider this: landfills serving these cities have already seen a 30% reduction in size since the programs began; in Portland we’re on track to see a 50% landfill reduction by 2017. And we don’t see plastic bags floating around like “trash fairies” any more. So yes, it would be good to have a lot less trash to talk about in the future.