Wisconsin State Statute 287.07 subsection 4 is as follows:
(4) General disposal restrictions. Beginning on January 1, 1995, no person may dispose of in a solid waste disposal facility, convert into fuel, or burn at a solid waste treatment facility in this state any of the following:
(a) An aluminum container.
(b) Corrugated paper or other container board.
(c) Foam polystyrene packaging.
(d) A glass container.
(f) A magazine or other material printed on similar paper.
(g) A newspaper or other material printed on newsprint.
(h) Office paper.
(i) A plastic container.
(j) A steel container.
(k) A container for carbonated or malt beverages that is primarily made of a combination of steel and aluminum.
In this statute, “dispose of in a solid waste disposal facility” is to mix these items in with regular trash for collection by a municipal or private waste management concern. Thus it is illegal to throw an aluminum can into a garbage can and then set that garbage out next to the street for pick up, and it is illegal to throw an aluminum can into a managed dumpster.
Under my proposed bill of rights, wanting to throw an aluminum can into the trash would fall under one’s right to the pursuit of happiness. In accordance with my bill of rights, an individuals right to the pursuit of happiness shall not be superceded by any other individual’s right to the pursuit of happiness, but can be superceded by another individual’s right to life or right to liberty. This matters because of the 14th amendment, which states that no state can make any law which abridges the rights and priveleges granted by the federal constitution. Thus, in order for Wisconsin statute 287.07 to be constitutional, the ban on throwing aluminum cans into the trash would have to somehow protect against some unwitting violation (or superceding) of an individual’s right to life, right to liberty, or right to the pursuit of happiness.
However, there is no logical way in which the singular act of throwing an aluminum can into the trash could result in an unwitting violation of another individual’s right to life, right to liberty, or right to pursuit of happiness. I suspect that some would argue that by not recycling, one is costing the State or municipality extra money, which must inevitably be passed on to the taxpayers as new taxes which results in a violation of many individuals’ rights to the pursuit of happiness if one individual decides to throw away a large number of aluminum cans. However, that argument does not stand up to scrutiny because it assumes that it is necessary for the State or any municipality to provide waste managment, and that it must pay for the service of waste managment with taxes rather than actual service charges. If the State or municpality were to charge individuals for the actual waste managment services that it provides, then there could be no violation of the rights of others when throwing an aluminum can into the trash, the can thrower would simply be charged more for not recycling, or more accurately, the can thrower would save less by not recycling.
The ban on burning of some of these items, specifically polystyrene and plastics would be constitutional under my proposal, because the burning of such items can produce toxic fumes which could unwittingly violate the right to life of other individuals.