City Sues to Force Alleged Recycler to Keep Trash Service

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No_recyclingthumbEddie House of San Carlos, California, was sued on January 22 by the city of San Carlos, California, for municipal code violations related to garbage.  The problem is apparently that Mr. House doesn’t generate any.  Garbage, that is.

House, who claims to "care" about the so-called "environment," says he recycles virtually everything he uses and disposes of what little is left over in ways that makes it unnecessary for him to have his garbage picked up by the city.  So he canceled that service about a year ago.  "It’s just me and my dog," he said, "so I don’t have a whole lot of garbage to begin with and I recycle everything."

As a result, the city is suing House to force him to maintain trash service, whether he needs it or not.

According to the report, the lawsuit alleges that House’s failure to pay for the pickup of trash he doesn’t generate is a violation of the municipal code, which requires everyone to contract with the Allied Waste company for pickup at least once a week, or more, possibly, if you don’t need it more often than that.  The city is seeking a permanent injunction that would force House to follow that requirement.

"I don’t understand a city ordinance that requires you to fill up a can," said House.  "That’s downright foolishness."

A city manager told the Examiner that the lawsuit was prompted by complaints from neighbors that House was burning some of the garbage, causing a bad smell.  (If that’s true, seems like the remedy should be an order forbidding him to burn things.)  House admits the fire department has been to his home several times, but says that each time he was only burning (evil-smelling?) firewood.  He believes the lawsuit is retaliation for his own complaints about the building next door, a charge the city manager denies.

"We don’t go out looking for these things," he said.