Coldplay lead singerfounder and frontman of the CleanScapes waste removal agency, is bidding for a piece of Seattle's garbage collection contract.
Martin is allowed to implement what he calls "my best idea, my
get-people-riled-up thing," we could all soon be subject to a kind of
garbage audit, too. He wants to bring the equivalent of the red-light
camera to your front curb. Just as the traffic camera captures you
running through a stoplight, CleanScapes' incriminating photos would
catch you improperly disposing of a milk carton. (It belongs in the
"We could do it the nice way," he says, meaning
his company would e-mail you pictures of your detritus, along with
helpful information about separating out recyclables. Or, he says,
CleanScapes could send the pictures on to municipal inspectors, and
"the city could enforce its own laws." (While the city has sent warning
letters, no fines have ever been issued, according to Seattle Public
The vast majority of recycling is a net loss, both in dollars and in energy. Only a few items (scrap iron, aluminum cans, bulk news print) make any sense at all in curbside recycling programs. Milk cartons are not one of them. The rest of the curbside recycling we do is merely symbolism actions that demonstrate our commitment to the cause, much like reciting a liturgy in church (Interestingly, the more honest environmentalists have admitted this, but still support the program because they believe the symbolic action is an important source of public commitment to the environment).
I guess it is not surprising to see folks like Mr. Martin bring the full power of the state to bear to make sure you are sorting your milk cartons correctly. After all, in previous generations, the powers-that-be in small towns would employ people to watch for folks skipping out on church, and nations like Cuba still use neighborhood watches to spy out political heresy. It's just a sign of the times that now such tactics are being used to smoke out environmental heresy.