Trashing Privacy

TitleTrashing Privacy
Publication TypeCase Study
Year of Publication2016
AuthorsBoxall, SF, Funke, MB, Myers, GA, Watson, J
Date Published2016
PublisherAssociation for Practical and Professional Ethics
Publication Languageeng
AbstractIn an effort to improve trash sorting, Seattle has become the first city to penalize its residents for throwing away food and recyclables in the trash bin destined for a landfill. Violators whose trashcans contain 10% or more of recyclable or compostable substances will be fined. When the ordinance was first passed, one trash collector said he was putting red warning tags on about every fifth can. The ordinance states that, “[a]fter 2 warnings, properties may receive a $50 fee on their waste bill for recyclables in the garbage.” The red tag is no afterthought. The city explicitly intends “shame” as a means of encouraging participation in the program. Supporters say that this will help the environment, while some Seattle residents see this as a violation of their privacy.
NotesCase from the 2016 Regional Intercollegiate Ethics Bowl. Copyright Association for Practical and Professional Ethics, 2016