KATU is reporting that *some of you* are putting garbage, INCLUDING ADULT DIAPERS, in the recycle bin, possibly because you are upset about the once-every two weeks garbage pickup. Please don't take it out on the garbage man just because you are mad at the mayor. The garbage man didn't do anything to you besides haul away your stinky trash.
Throwing dirty diapers out with the recycling may become illegal
PORTLAND, Ore. – Each time Dan Dempsey goes to open the lid on a recycling container on his Northeast Portland route he never knows what he'll find.
"The diapers are gross man," he says. "Yeah, the adult diapers are bad."
Most of the time Dempsey thinks folks don't realize what they're doing is wrong. But sometimes they do. Cutting back trash pickup to every other week has led to less garbage and more recycling, but it also has critics who want the old schedule back and perhaps a few are trying to make a point.
In any case, Mayor Sam Adams wants a new city code prohibiting people from tossing trash in with recycling and composting.
His proposal prohibits plastic bags, diapers, pet waste, Styrofoam and solid waste from compost bins. And then adds wood, food and yard debris to the recycling bin restriction list.
But the proposal doesn't spell out a punishment for violating the code.
So why doesn't it?
"This is just the way city government works," says sustainability manager Michael Armstrong.
Armstrong says the city wants to protect workers like Dempsey from health risks and to keep contaminants away from valuable recyclables. But details, such as how to enforce the law, are still months away.
Without any specific punishment or even rules to enforce proper recycling, for the time being, the city code really won’t do much of anything to stop somebody from throwing their trash in the recycling containers.
It turns out Dempsey's OK with that as long as the dirty diapers are rare.
"I'm surprised at actually how well it's turned out," he says. "I thought it would be worse."
Dempsey says he sees diapers in about one out of every 100 bins.
The City Council will take testimony on this Wednesday and could vote as early as next week. According to city staff, they're only interested in fining repeat violators.
<:figcaption style="padding-bottom: 6px; background-color: #2a2a2a; margin-top: 1px; padding-left: 8px; padding-right: 8px; display: block; color: #ffffff; font-size: 0.75em; padding-top: 6px;" class="caption" data-mce-style="padding-bottom: 6px; background-color: #2a2a2a; margin-top: 1px; padding-left: 8px; padding-right: 8px; display: block; color: #ffffff; font-size: 0.75em; padding-top: 6px;">Dan Dempsey empties a container of recycling into his truck on his Northeast Portland route Tuesday. He says he sometimes finds dirty diapers in the recycling. Mayor Sam Adams is proposing a city code making it illegal to throw trash in with the recycling.