The result of last weeks City Council Agenda item L.6 regarding the Ordinance to Restrict Scavenging of Garbage was:
Reno Councilman Dave Aiazzi says he wants to get a report from the city attorney before considering any proposed ordinance dealing with dumpster divers.
On December 19th the report from the city attorney was released, Reno City Attorney Memorandum regarding Laws Regarding Household Waste Ownership stating the following:
Complaints regarding individuals rummaging through household garbage and recycling containers have been brought to the attention of the Reno City Council and the Reno City Attorney. The following is an open opinion providing a summary of the Nevada Revised Statues (NRS), Reno Municipal Code (RMC) sections and Washoe County District Health Department (WCDHD) regulations relevant to the subject.
NRS 268.081 gives the City of Reno the authority to displace and limit competition regarding the collection and disposal of garbage and other waste within the city through the grant of a franchise. RMC §5.90.020 (franchise rights). The franchise agreement to collect all garbage is held by Waste Management of Nevada. Garbage is broadly defined in the Reno Municipal Code to include both household waste and recyclables. RMC §5.90.010; see RMC §5.90.030 (ownership of the solid waste stream is granted to the franchise holder).
Ownership of the household waste stream transfers from the residential customer to Waste Management of Nevada at the time waste is placed by the residential customer in containers and left curbside for collection by the franchise holder. RMC §5.90.030. Transfer of ownership of recyclables to the franchise holder also takes place pursuant to NRS 444.585 at the time the recyclables are placed in the franchise holder’s containers at the curbside.[i]
Individuals that rummage through and remove items from household waste placed at the curb for pick-up are potentially violating:
WCDHD Regulation 050.135, and may be reported to the District Health Department.[ii]
NRS 444.585 (if they are removing recyclables), and may be reported to Waste Management of Nevada and the Reno Police Department.[iii]
RMC §8.10.040 (removing any property of another), and may be reported to Waste Management and the Reno Police Department.[iv]
RMC §10.8.020 and WCDHD Regulation 050.145 (if they are dumping garbage or waste), and may be reported to the District Health Department and the Reno Police Department.[v]
While customers may change their minds and retrieve items prior to pick-up by Waste Management, individuals rummaging (without consent) through household garbage and recyclables prior to placement on the curbside for pick-up by Waste Management are potentially violating the residential customer’s property rights:
RMC §8.10.040 (removing any property of another), and may be reported to the Reno Police Department. See endnote No.4.
RMC §8.10.010 (Trespass- unlawful act or prior notice), and may be reported to the Reno Police Department.[vi]
RMC §10.8.020 and WCDHD Regulation 050.145 (if they are dumping garbage or waste), and may be reported to the District Health Department and the Reno Police Department. See endnote No.5.
Each of the above listed potential violations will depend upon the particular facts of each circumstance. As with all law enforcement and prosecution, proper discretion may be exercised relevant to each individual case.
[i]It should be noted that even though legal title to garbage and recyclables passes upon placement at the curb, the ultimate public health responsibility for the waste remains with the residential owner until it is picked-up by the franchise holder. See WCDHD Regulation 050.110.
[ii] “No person shall remove waste placed for collection, other than the person generating the waste, or the authorized collector/processor.” WCDHD Regulation 050.135. “Whenever the Health Authority determines that any of these regulations have been violated, he may issue a notice of violation. The Health Authority may also issue a citation into court of appropriate jurisdiction, and may be served by any peace officer of the court or other authorized person. WCDHD Regulation 020.115. “Violation of any provision of these regulations constitutes a misdemeanor.” WCDHD Regulation 020.145.
[iii]NRS 444.585. Ownership of recyclable materials; unauthorized collection of recyclable materials prohibited; penalty; civil remedy.
1. From the time recyclable materials are placed in a container provided by a private recycling business or the person designated by the county or other municipality to collect recyclable materials:
(a) At curbside for collection; or
(b) At any other appropriate site designated for collection,
the recyclable materials are the property of the private recycling business or person designated by the county or other municipality to collect them, as appropriate.
2. Any person engaged in the unauthorized collection of recyclable materials is guilty of a misdemeanor. Each such unauthorized collection constitutes a separate and distinct offense.
3. As an alternative to the criminal penalty set forth in subsection 2, the county or other municipality, the private recycling business and the person designated to collect the recyclable materials may independently enforce the provisions of this section in a civil action. Except as otherwise provided in NRS 445C.010 to 445C.120, inclusive, a person who engages in the unauthorized collection of recyclable materials is liable to the private recycling business or the person designated to make such collections, as appropriate, for three times the damages caused by the unauthorized collection.
[iv] RMC §8.10.040. Petit larceny.
It is unlawful for any person to take or carry away the property of another with the intent to deprive the owner of his property therein, in any value less than $250.00, and for his conviction therefor, he shall be fined in an amount not more than $1,000.00 and/or be incarcerated not more than six months. In addition to any other penalty, the court shall order the person to pay restitution.
[v] RMC §10.08.020. Unlawful dumping of garbage, rubbish and waste matter.
It shall be unlawful for any person to dump, spill, throw, place or bury in any parcel of land, lot, street, highway, gutter, or in any alley or in any water or stream or in any canal or ditch within the limits of the city any garbage, rubbish, or waste matter, or any deleterious or offensive substances.
Any person violating any of the provisions of this chapter:
(1) Upon conviction, shall be guilty of a misdemeanor and punished as provided in section 1.04.010; or
(2) Shall be subject to provisions of Chapter 1.05 of the Code.
WCDHD Regulation 050.145: “It is unlawful, in the Health District, for any person, public or private, to place, deposit or dump, or cause to be placed, deposited, or dumped, any solid waste in, or upon, any public or private highway, street, alley, or road, or any lot or parcel of land, whether public or private, other than approved land deposal sites, exclusive of NRS 444.620.”
[vi] RMC §8.10.010. Trespassing.
(a) Every person who goes upon the land or into any building of another with intent to vex or annoy the owner or occupant thereof, or to commit any unlawful act, or willfully goes or remains upon any land or in any building after having been warned by the owner or occupant thereof not to trespass, is guilty of a misdemeanor. If the premises were at the time open to the public, the warning must have been given within the previous six months. The meaning of this subsection is not limited by subsections (b), (c), (d) and (e) of this section.
(b) Every owner or other occupant of any land shall be deemed to have given a sufficient warning against trespassing, within the meaning of this section, who posts in a conspicuous manner on each side thereof, upon or near the boundary at intervals of not more than 700 feet, signs, legibly printed or painted in the English language, warning persons not to trespass, or who fences the area.
(c) It is prima facie evidence of trespass for any person to be found on private or public property which is posted or fenced as provided in subsection (b) without lawful business with the owner or occupant of the property.
(d) An entryman on land under the laws of the United States is an owner within the meaning of this section.
(e) As used in this section, "fence" means a barrier sufficient to indicate an intent to restrict the area to human ingress, including, but not limited to, a wall, hedge or chain link or wire mesh fence.
Save Reno Dumpster Diving is going to put their daily blog feed on hiatus--reporting only odd dumpster related stories and any other items associated with the proposed trash scavenging ban in Reno that seems to have been a convoluted effort in the absurd; if I read the above pasted Memo correctly, there have always been legal instruments available to deal with nuisance trash scavengers, dumpster divers, etc.
Therefore, the blog will be running on random scatter. But, rest assured, Save Reno Dumpster Diving won't let its guard down--our eyes and ears are on full alert for all trashy news in the Reno vicinity and beyond.
During this pause in our daily posts, Save Reno Dumpster Diving is moving ahead full force and putting all its effort into the documentary Dumpster Wars, which we plan to premiere in Reno about February 1, 2009. Stay tuned.