City of Seattle’s compost rule thrown out by judge

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SEATTLE (AP) — A judge has stopped enforcement of a Seattle ordinance barring people from throwing compost in the trash.

King County Superior Court Judge Beth M. Andrus voided the ordinance in a written ruling on Wednesday, declaring it unconstitutional.

The now-defunct rule went into effect early last year, and it required trash collectors to tag garbage cans that contain more than 10 percent compostable material with education information.

A group of homeowners sued the city over the ordinance, saying it violated privacy protections provided by the state Constitution.

Pacific Legal Foundation lawyer Ethan Blevins issued this statement in response to the ruling:

“Today’s ruling is a victory for common sense and constitutional rights. A clear message has been sent to Seattle public officials: Recycling and other environmental initiatives can’t be pursued in a way that treats people’s freedoms as disposable.  Seattle can’t place its composting goals over the privacy rights of its residents.   By authorizing garbage collectors to pry through people’s garbage without a warrant, the city has promoted a policy of massive and persistent snooping.  That’s not just wrong as a matter of policy, as the judge has correctly ruled, it is wrong as a matter of law.”

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