Black Markets

Ok, so Raleigh, NC has banned garbage disposals.

Why?  Because houses with disposals put 20% more grease into the sewage system.  That grease can lead to sewage backups.  Then the city has to spend money unclogging the grease or putting chemicals in the sewage system. 

People caught installing or replacing garbage disposals face fines of $25,000 PER DAY. 

Appropriate use of law?  Will a black market in in-sink-erators emerge?  You decide.  And discuss. 

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4 Responses to Black Markets

  1. lbsmom says:

    When we lived in Canada, they were called “garberators.” I’m not sure how to spell that, but when you say sound it out, there’s no doubt.

    A fine of $25,000 per day should be a great deterrent in new construction where inspections might catch the garbage criminals, but how will the city know: 1. If I’m using a previously installed one or, 2. If I install one after I already own the house?

    This reminds me of laws that can only be enforced by catching someone in the act. Without a search warrant, how can the city govt prove I have one &/or I’m using it?

  2. nobamakoolaid says:

    It would be interesting to see the study that determined people dump more grease if they have a garbage disposal. Disposals are designed to liquefy solids, so how does that help with grease? That’s the first premise I would challenge.
    Accepting the premise, I would say that it is not unlike arguing that people who live in homes equipped with alarm systems contribute to more false alarms, resulting in a loss of manpower by the police. So, is the answer to ban home alarms? Of course not; the answer is to find a way to internalize the cost back to the people who are causing the problem. If that is either not possible or is too cost prohibitive, then start by educating the public. Most people will take at least some level of precaution even given an exception to moral hazard.
    My basic point is that we don’t simply give up on technological innovations because they have some side effect. We improve on the technology and we adjust our behavior. Otherwise, how far do you take this argument? Should we ban the use of all internal combustion engines? Certainly, we would have a cleaner environment. We would also have a complete shutdown of the entire country. We can start to get into a much larger discussion of what roles government should play in these matters. However, my belief is that the answer to the question posed is, “No. This is not an appropriate use of law.”

  3. nobamakoolaid says:

    Another interesting point on this; I have a friend who owns an AAMCO Transmission shop. It has seven bays with big garage doors. With doors constantly opening and closing, it has always been a challenge to keep the shop reasonably warm for his technicians during the winter. Large electric heaters were costing him a fortune. Two years ago he purchased heaters that are fueled by used grease that has been discarded by restaurants. Most restaurants pay good money to have used grease hauled off. The truly unique feature of these heaters is that they are equipped with scrubbers on their exhaust. My friend is now able to afford to keep the shop at a much more comfortable temperature for his workers (improving productivity) while leaving a much smaller carbon footprint than if he used either gas or electric heaters.
    Perhaps the city could start its own recycling program and use this grease to heat its own facilities. This would not only stop the clogging problem, but would also save the taxpayers money on heating bills.

  4. lbsmom says:

    LB has a cousin whose VW camper is fueled by restaurant grease, & he says the best fuel comes from Chinese restaurants.

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