Posted on 28 October 2020
No One Wants to Be The First One to Drop a 50,000 Dollar Wrapper
Many people as well as states are confused on what the difference truly is between littering and illegal dumping, aside from the ten times increased fine.
As the price of garbage disposal increases along with a steady
Littering in Stockholm 2009
uptick in the amount of garbage produced some turn to illegally dumping their waste into rivers, dumpsters, or wooded areas. This practice has spawned a new, vague classification of crime: illegal dumping. The question running through the minds of many is where the line between a misdemeanor of littering and a potential felony of illegal dumping is drawn.
In order to understand the differences between these two offenses the definitions of the actions must be known. Illegal dumping can occur in any of three ways. First, dumping waste into public or private property not approved for the waste classification is an offense. Second, even if the area is approved if the one who is dumping has no permission to deposit waste it is an offense. Third, giving permission to deposit waste in an unauthorized area is an offense. There are clearly many ways to fall within these relatively strict definitions of illegal dumping.
Yet this seems easy enough, simply do not empty a trash can where it should not be emptied. But this is where the common man makes a mistake, there are few specifications on how much waste is considered dumping. What is worse is that these volume-based thresholds dividing littering and illegal dumping vary state to state while some states make no distinction at all. To enhance these issues, fines only seem to rise as population density rises, and in these more urban areas the cost of legal disposal is higher and there is simply more trash to dispose of. The result is legal chaos.
Some casual observer who has never been charged still might wonder what all the fuss is about and question who cares whether it is a littering fine or an illegal dumping fine. However, the difference is massive. A littering fine is nearly never more than five thousand dollars while an illegal dumping fee can be ten times that. Additionally littering is considered only a small offense while illegal dumping can maul any reputation with a felony. Just imagine being considered a convicted felon after missing a the trashcan while playing soda-can basketball. The only true way to stay immune from these charges is to be careful with garbage no matter the size. No one wants to be the first one to drop a 50,000 dollar wrapper.