More Unintended Trash Consequences

Well-meaning policies can often have unintended consequences: trash taxes, for example, have been associated with backyard burning of trash in Ireland, trash dumped in the woods (in Virginia), and rat-infested sewers in Germany (thanks to flushed trash). Now, a family in Sharon Township, Ohio (where residents are charged for their trash), left behind a big mess when they moved out of their home. “When I opened the garage door, there was a year’s worth of garbage stacked in the garage, and on top of that garbage was a rat that looked like a small cat to me,” said a neighbor. (HT: Joe Haugen)[%comments]

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  1. Mr. Shiny & New says:

    It seems that there is no good way to handle garbage. If you take it away for free people produce too much garbage. If you charge them to take it away they do stuff like this. However this is an extreme example of people unable to behave responsibly and is probably symptomatic of some other major issues. It wouldn’t surprise me if this property ended up the same way even if there was free garbage pickup.

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  2. Richard Tonsing says:

    Are you proposing that we have no policies regarding trash?

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  3. Quill says:

    Or maybe they were compulsive hoarders?

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  4. E. Nowak says:

    This isn’t a problem of taxation, this is a problem of irresponsibility. Which, if you ask me, is a far greater problem in the United States than our rates of taxation.

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  5. Art says:

    Perhaps all goods should be taxed at a rate commensurate with the cost of disposing. The revenues from this tax could then be used to haul trash away (at no marginal cost) to the disposer.

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  6. kip says:

    They were just composting. We’re supposed to be encouraging that, right?? (That was sarcasm.)

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  7. Caitlyn says:

    did they not have a house inspection? Did the inspector miss it? I’m not terribly surprised that they decided to store garbage in the garage, but I am surprised that the new owners didn’t know about it. It’s not like a year’s worth of trash is easily overlooked.

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  8. nobody.really says:

    I vividly recall perhaps my first introduction to economics.

    The summer before I entered college I joined my wise and worldly older brother, who had begun studying this field, on trip to Europe. Needing a bathroom in Paris, I fumed and searched my pockets for change to pay the “dragon lady” that barred my entry. My brother calmly remarked that I should not be surprised to have to pay for a service. I remarked, less calmly, that he should not be surprised if I choose not to patronize these restrooms and instead chose to pee in the street!

    My brother then suggested that I had the appropriate qualities for the study of economics: a firm grasp of incentives combined with utter indifference to decorum.

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