You make every effort you can to recycle, but did you know recycling can get you in trouble with the law — even arrested in some communities — if you aren’t familiar with your local and state ordinances? Here are three examples of recycling laws you may be breaking without even realizing it.
Ten states — California, Connecticut, Hawaii, Iowa, Massachusetts, Maine, Michigan, New York, Oregon and Vermont — have bottle deposit laws to encourage recycling. In these states, when you purchase a bottle, or in some cases an aluminum can, you pay a deposit of 5 to 15 cents; if you return the bottle, you receive your deposit back.
You can get in trouble, though, for trying to collect deposits on bottles purchased in other states since you never paid the deposit. Four states — Maine, Massachusetts, New York and Vermont — enforce monetary penalties, while California and Michigan not only enforce the fine but also make it a crime with possible prison time.
Don’t worry if you accidentally return a bottle you picked up while on vacation. Usually, law enforcement is only concerned when you are obviously trying to make a profit by returning thousands of bottles at once.
It’s actually legal to dumpster dive unless your city has a law against the practice. The dumpster or trash bin has to be in a public place, you can’t climb a fence or pick a lock to get to the trash, and you have to honor signs posted on the wall or sprayed on the can that read “no trespassing.” If you fail to do any of these things, you could be cited for trespassing or even theft.
Also, you can be cited for littering if you make a mess, so make sure to leave the area cleaner than it was before you arrived.
Some communities are looking at possibly issuing citations, though, if you are rummaging through the trash for recyclables. That’s because they are required to recycle a percentage of their waste, and if you get to it first, it makes it harder for them to meet that percentage. Check your local laws before dumpster diving for recyclables.
To read the full story, visit http://earth911.com/business-policy/recycling-arrested/.