"I think the idea behind making it a mandate was to raise the awareness and to get people to do it," Dreckmann said. He pointed to the city law mandating residents put recyclables in green curbside containers -- for which the city has never issued a ticket -- as a model for how the department will carry out the new program.So if you were thinking of keeping a little jar of mud on the counter to pre-dirty your plastic bags so you're still allowed to toss them in the trash, it's quite unnecessary. Here in Madison, power is wielded not with fines, though fines are threatened. It is applied directly to you subservient conscience. You could smudge your bags and throw them away, but the law can smudge your brain with a guilt that never ends. If you've got that kind of brain, and you know you do, you Madisonians.
(And, by the way, isn't Dreckmann a great name for a trash guy?)
Brandon Scholz, president and chief executive of the Wisconsin Grocers Association and an early critic of the program, said Thursday the program was an ineffective use of city resources because many private companies in the city already offer the same service. He also predicted the city's outdoor bins would be hard to keep clean and difficult to monitor for misuse.Ah, the tawdry little things we do to make ourselves feel good up here in Wisconsin.
"I think when you have these bins out in parking lots or who knows where ... they're going to become trash bins," he said. "It's a feel-good (program), that's what it is."
Ald. Judy Compton, 16th District, who co-authored the law, called the program "a good step in the right direction" but said it still needs to "evolve." She said the city's goal should be to see 90 percent of residents recycling their bags. Current estimates put the level of participation in existing programs below 10 percent, she said....
Compton also questioned the effectiveness of store bag-recycling programs, questioning whether all the bags get recycled. She did not discourage residents from recycling their bags at stores but said with the city's program people would know where their bags were going.Private recycling programs weren't good enough because the city wants to monitor our compliance. If there are all sorts of different recycling bins, placed where shopkeepers want them, how will the people — AKA the government — know if the mandate is boosting our bag-related virtue over the 10% level? The unenforced mandate, mind you. Now, not only will the people know how many bags are recycled, the people will know how much the mere idea of being supposed to do something produces the intended result. Think there will be a decline from the current 10%? You don't know Madison.