Dump trash at a recyclable drop-off box and you might spend a year behind bars

A public service announcement will soon be shown on Antietam Cable informing Washington County residents that the county’s recyclable drop-off boxes are for recyclables, not trash. Residents will be warned in the PSA that if they are caught dumping trash at one of the 11 unmanned recycling drop-off sites, they may face up to $12,500 in fines and a possible year in jail.

For improperly dumping your trash.

From the Herald-Mail:

Over a recent six-month period, the county collected almost 19 tons of trash from its 11 unmanned recycling drop-off sites, which equated to $937 in lost revenue, Washington County Recycling Coordinator Anthony Drury told the Washington County Commissioners at a meeting in February.

My feelings about this are mixed. On one hand, a recyclable bin is for recyclables, not trash. People should only be dumping their trash in its proper place. On the other hand, it’s better to dump trash at a recycling drop-off site than almost anywhere else. Show me 19 tons of trash dumped at 11 unmanned recycling sites and I’ll show you 19 tons of trash that didn’t get dumped at a civil war battlefield or behind a vacant building. Other than the county landfill, I can think of no better place to dump trash. If you are going to improperly dump trash, it might as well be somewhere it can be properly taken care of by the same people who are tasked with dealing with trash.

About the only thing more absurd than going to jail for dumping trash at a recycling bin is how much Washington County is spending for this PSA. The Herald-Mail reports that the PSA is costing somewhere between $1,000 to $2,000 to make. That’s more than they supposedly spent taking care of all that improperly disposed of trash. Instead of spending up to $2,000 on the PSA, it would have made more sense economically to just dispose of the trash.

Then again, it’s just government money. Why should it make sense?

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