The city plans to sort through curbside trash to make sure residents are recycling and fine them $100 if they don't. The move is part of a high-tech collection system the city with new trash and recycling carts embedded with radio frequency identification chips and bar codes.
The chips will allow city workers to monitor how often residents roll carts to the curb for collection. If a chip show a recyclable cart hasn't been brought to the curb in weeks, a trash supervisor will sort through the trash for recyclables.
Trash carts containing more than 10 percent recyclable material could lead to a $100 fine. It plans to roll out to nearly all of the city's 150,000 residences.
The city stepped up enforcement of ordinances governing trash collection last year by issuing 2,900 tickets, nearly five times more tickets than in 2008. Those infractions include citations for people who put out their trash too early or fail to bring in their garbage cans from the curb in a timely manner. The Division of Waste Collection is on track to meet its goal of issuing 4,000 citations this year. Fines for excessive trash will range from $250 to $500 depending on the amount.
The Washington, D.C. suburb of Alexandria, Va., earlier this year announced it would issue carts to check whether people are recycling.