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Alabama Trash VERNON, Ala. (WCBI) — In Alabama, if you don’t pay for trash pick up, you could spend time in jail.

“It’s the law. It was passed and it’s mandatory that people pay a door-to-door garbage pick up fee,” said Lamar County Solid Waste manager Sandy Perkins.

Waste management gives customers 30 days to make a payment arrangement. They also send out “show cause” letters by mail. You have to pay up, even if you’re not living in the home.

” The waste management says that if you have an active power meter, you’re responsible for that residence and we do have situations where people pay an annual fee if you’re not at that home full-time,” said Perkins.

The federal government does mandate that each state have its own waste management law. So, if you don’t pay your garbage bill on time, they can literally close the lid on you.

“The penalty provides you can pay a fine of not less than $50 or more than $200. The sheriff doesn’t run up, beat on the door and drag you in t he car with handcuffs. The garbage people can actually give you the notice, showing you’re not paying your bill. And the court will set up a hearing for that where you will have to appear. If you don’t show up, then basically you’re in contempt, they pick you up, put you in jail and make you come to court,” said Attorney Mose Lee Sudduth.

There are some exceptions.

“One of them being you can be exempt if you’re for instance on social security. There’s a provision in the law for that. You can ask for a certificate of exception where you can provide waste management or the garbage people with a plan showing that you want to burn your own garbage. You provide, homeowners $10 and then you give them a plan, they approve it,” said Sudduth.

At the end of the day, managers and attorneys say it’s worth the small costs.

“You don’t have access to a dump, it gets pretty doggone aggravating! Especially if you generate quite a bit of garbage. What are you doing to do with it! I mean  something’s got be done with it!” said Sudduth.

“90% of our customers say they appreciate having somebody pick their trash up, they don’t have to worry with disposing it so, the majority of people are happy with it,” said Perkins.

In Mississippi, waste management officials won’t send you to jail, but the tax collector will place it in the database and hold you from renewing your license.

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