St. Louis County government mandates its residents to partake of a private service so it can negotiate better rates for the service:
The county’s Waste Management Code, approved last year by the St. Louis County Council, provides for the county to establish “trash districts” throughout the unincorporated areas.
The code establishes a minimum level of service that must include once-a-week trash pick up, once-a-week recycling pick up and at least twice-a-year bulk waste pick up. The minimum level of service requirement applies to both unincorporated area and municipalities in the county.
However, recycling pick ups will not be required for municipalities that operate a drop-off recycling center.
Creating the trash districts would mean St. Louis County would negotiate a contract — hopefully at a price lower than what residents pay now — with a single waste hauling company.
It’s one thing to mandate some sort of minimum accummulation of detritus around one’s domicile for public health reasons, but it’s another to mandate a monopoly and to make all residents customers of the monopoly at the risk of breaking the law.
Conceptually, there’s no reason this is any different from the county council making cellular phones required and then ordering citizens to use Cingular because the county council members will get a better rate.