Monday, March 31, 2014

Opt Out of the Garbage Snooping Fee

If you're like most, you probably don't like the idea of the government eavesdropping on your phone conversations or scanning through your e-mail. But how do you feel about the government snooping through your garbage? That's what's happening right now all across Alameda County under a program called Benchmark Service. It's a program of the Waste Management Authority, where random inspections of people's garbage containers (and those of businesses as well) are documented and reported.

The supposed purpose of this program is to measure the amount of garbage, recyclable, and compostable materials being discarded as garbage. It's promoted as anonymous, but the audits take place at the point of collection (your home or business) rather than at a transfer station. Why? Apparently the Authority is not merely interested in the general proportioning or total amount of collected materials, but rather the specifics of what and where it was collected. Can you say Green Police?

If this is something you support, then move your welcome mat out to the curb on collection days. If it's something you oppose, opt out of paying the fee that funds the program (today is the last day).

Opting out won't save you enough money to buy a new environmentally friendly car, but at least it'll give you the satisfaction of knowing you're not supporting more government snooping.


  1. Homer J says: The ad is funny, 'cause it's true!

  2. Done! The one-party political system we live under in Alameda County has established too many fees (un-voted upon taxes). Enough is enough.

  3. Hi Larry - Thanks for bringing this to our attention. I missed the deadline to opt-out, but I have a question; is this LEGAL? I thought your garbage was your personal property until it was off of your land/property and on the curb (public property) or on the collection truck? Any ideas on this? - Jack X. McCallum

    1. I've been told by someone who works for another agency (so I can't vouch for its accuracy) that the Waste Management Authority, not to be confused with Waste Management Incorporated, actually utilizes a special collection truck for the inspections. I got the impression that the audit occurs on or within this special truck. I do not believe a public agency representative, other than a law enforcement officer with a warrant, would enter private property to rummage through anyone's garbage.