D.C.’s Department of Public Works is cracking down on improper trash sorting, and some say the fines are garbage.
DPW is issuing tickets for waste items mixed into recycling bins or vice versa.
“The inspector went through our trash dumpster and pulled out one single can that he or she took a picture of, and issued us a $200 fine,” said Logan Hardware owner Gina Schaefer. She said it’s unfair for DPW to impose the steep fines, especially on businesses that have no control over others who indiscriminately throw things into their trash or recycling bins.
And that’s not the only thing being called unfair. The Washington Examiner is reporting that some businesses have gotten fines of up to $1,000 -- apparently, mostly in the city’s wealthier neighborhoods.
Ward 2 Councilmember Jack Evans thinks his constituents are being targeted, but he’s been told that’s not the case by DPW director Bill Howland, according the Examiner.
In response to the citation given to Logan Hardware, DPW Recycling Program Officer William Easley said inspectors are concerned with much more than a single recyclable item in the wrong bin.
“There were probably other items in there,” Easley said. “[Businesses and residents are] not going to get a notice for violation for just one or two cans in the dumpster, it has to be more than that.” He also said inspectors are checking to see whether there is proper signage and marked bins that make it clear where trash and recyclables need to go.