I have attached the article describing the latest dumpster diving hub-bub...I found it to be quite entertaining.
Assembly dumps ban on dumpster diving
By Chris Eshleman
Published November 16, 2007
A vocal mob trashed a proposed ban on dumpster diving in Fairbanks before the Fairbanks North Star Borough Assembly unanimously rejected the measure Thursday night. Instead of pitchforks and torches, residents carried a combined five hours' worth of objections to a public hearing on the proposed ban. The overwhelming opposition led resident Paolo Greer to suggest Fairbanksans must fall into one of two categories: "People that brag about what they take out of the dumpsters and people who just don't admit it." The measure aimed to prohibit anyone from removing items from trash bins at the 14 public garbage-collection transfer sites around Fairbanks. Comments made Thursday echoed those from so-called dumpster divers around the world, who cite the practice as a constructive way to put discarded items back to good use. Resident Scott Allen said he suspects waste recyclers salvage a notable percentage of the waste stream before it hits the landfill. "This is the most effective, and the only, recycling program we have.And it's cost-effective," he said. Borough officials highlighted concerns linked to safety and liability at the sites, offering early support for a revised version of sponsor Charlie Rex's ordinance that would have become effective next summer. But of the scores of residents who commented - 79 signed up to speak,with more arriving after the meeting began - all but a handful opposed the measure. Many hinted at a strong public desire to see more recycling options, and one resident noted that the Thursday hearing fell on the nationally recognized America Recycles Day. "I think we should be building a road toward recycling," Ritchie Musick said. "This ordinance is at the wrong time. We're putting a gate across the road before we build it." Karen Austen ticked off a number of items she's picked up at the sites:a Porter Cable belt sander; a new computer printer, still in its box;leather gloves. She urged people to take advantage of designated recycling stations set up at five of the sites. "We should have one constructed at every site," she said. A few people thanked Rex for challenging the way the sites are operated, suggesting the community's waste-management structure needs improvement. Some critiqued a consumption-driven culture that they view as encouraging the marketplace to produce and purchase more goods than society needs. "Buy and trash, buy and trash. That's what we're about," Ron Kovalik said. Jean Battig suggested a better idea would be to fine people for indiscriminately throwing away usable items. "I know we can't do that,but I'd sure like to see it." Rex said he and other public officials discussed the proposed ban for months after the borough's contracted trash-hauler reported safety concerns at the sites. "People were actually intimidated to go dump their refuse," he said,adding that he feels the borough needs to rethink how it manages the public waste stream. "We need to change what we do, how we do it, our total approach." Prior to the vote, borough Mayor Jim Whitaker pledged to work with the assembly to create a commission that will review operations at the transfer sites. Rex, who eventually joined others in voting against his initial proposal, thanked residents for carrying positive suggestions to the meeting and called on the borough to keep discussing liability and junkyard concerns. Borough officials have drawn links between heavy action at the transfer sites and the proliferation of private "junkyards" - private properties filled with unstored items. Resident Elijah Shoults suggested if that connection is real, the assembly deal with it through means other than banning access to trash bins. "This ban punishes everyone because of the actions of a few, and that is unjust, it is unrighteous," he said. Bob Sawyer said low-income residents view access to the waste stream as an income or lifestyle supplement, a practice that "helps the environment and the economy and encourages self-sufficiency. "There are more pressing issues that we should be looking at" including low-income housing options, Sawyer said. Scott Calder suggested the measure amounted to an effort to aggravate class distinctions and widen wealth gaps in Fairbanks. Abe Camp adopted a quote from Thomas Jefferson. "If it doesn't break my leg and it doesn't pick my pocket, then we shouldn't make a law against it," he said. Frank Turney suggested the borough should simply post signs at the sites if it wants to relieve itself of legal liability connected to people climbing into trash bins. "It makes no sense to levy a $100 fine for someone retrieving some wood to heat his home," he said. "I suggest this sounds like something out of George Orwell." Orion Lawlor suggested much of the Fairbanks population has done what other communities might not - accepted the practice of recycling discarded goods as productive. "There's only one Fairbanks. And I for one wouldn't change it," he said.