We shouldn’t penalize people who pick trash

I was distressed to learn from the Discount Diva that some local communities have criminalized thrift and resourcefulness by making trash picking illegal. In an increasingly disposable economy, trash disposal is becoming more problematic and expensive everywhere. When there are folks who see some value in the discards of others, they should be encouraged, not penalized.

Fear of identity theft is a bogus argument in favor of such laws. Everyone should be shredding personal information, and there isn’t likely to be a name, social security number or bank information on old appliances, boots or a broken chair. As for leaving your lawn chair or mower at the curb, use some common sense and don’t do it.

It should go without saying that pickers should be sure items have been discarded and avoid making a mess, as I think most do. Those who deliberately ignore those cautions are probably chargeable under trespass, vandalism or theft statutes. Additional laws that penalize the resourceful and economy-minded are bad public policy and I would urge communities to rethink such short-sighted and heavy-handed legislation.

Lucy Ryan