Reporters scolded by Democratic garbage police

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Politics,Paul Bedard,Washington Secrets,Columnists

CHARLOTTE, N.C. - The Democratic National Convention takes its mission to be green so seriously that reporters, delegates and others are being scolded for dumping their garbage in the wrong recycle bins.

Throughout Charlotte's Time Warner Cable Arena are special garbage cans marked "Compost," "Recycle," and "Landfill." Each come with signs showing what is to go into them, though most of the errant garbage tossers seem to be using the "Recycle" bins since they don't have special covers.

At many garbage stations there are "environmental consultants" to help people choose the right bin, or, if need be, reach in and move the garbage to the right one. For example, one of the consultants repeatedly stopped kitchen help at the trash cans to advise which cans to use: cardboard in "Recycle," food in "Compost," styrofoam cups in "Landfill."

One reporter said that a consultant scolded her for not paying attention and using the wrong bins. Another said that one of the consultants -- who were barred from talking to the media -- pulled his plastic cup out of "Recycle" to place in the "Compost" bin, explaining that the cup was biodegradable. "How am I supposed to know that? It's plastic," he said.

In fact not all of the plastic cups used at the convention are biodegradable, prompting some of the consultants to look for the biodegradable stamp before choosing the right bin.

But for a party that prides itself for being green, garbage is a big deal. (The GOP convention did not have garbage police.) One of the environmental consultants said that she protects her compost bin "with my life."