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$500 Fine for Not Recycling

[Image Credit: Creative Commons photo by Incase Designs]

The state of Georgia has asked county and city governments to reduce their solid waste by 25%. Most counties offer curbside recycling programs, and there are facilities throughout the state for recycling drop off. Gwinnett County, though, is taking things a step further with their “Greener Tomorrow” program. A new ordinance passed last week and taking full effect next July, includes fines of up to $500 for recyclables in the trash or for trash mixed in with recyclables.

Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful is administering the program. They have compiled a list of items of items for compulsory recycling, including paper bags, aluminum food containers, and discarded mail. The plan is to more than double the amount of waste that the county recycles from around 10% now to 23%.

As with any new ordinance, some residents are skeptical. According to the program’s website, their “goal is to reduce waste, not to go through people’s garbage.” They say that fines will be reserved for “excessive abuses.”

Is this a necessary step to get folks recycling or a little over the top? What do you think?