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Fighting recycling tickets pays in Philadelphia

Monday, September 6th, 2010

Drivers are used to the anger of receiving a ticket, and now plenty of area recyclers are feeling the same sting. Officers in Philadelphia have recently come under fire for the fifty dollar tickets they dish out to people who break laws about recycling and trash.

Paula Weiss is Executive Director of the office of administrative review in Philadelphia’s finance department. That’s where people go to appeal tickets they get for violating rules by putting trash out on the wrong day – or sticking recycling in it – or for using a cell phone while driving.

Weiss says from January 2010 through last month more than 45,000 tickets were paid, for a total of just over $3 million.

“Although yes, there is money attached to it most of it covers just the cost of actually running the whole program. The real purpose is to help to keep Philadelphia a clean and better city. So these are behavioral infractions that we really don’t want people to engage in, and we’re trying to get their attention.”

Weiss says 10 to 15 percent of tickets are appealed each year. She says in most of those cases the penalties are reduced or the tickets are dismissed.

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