This is What We Have Been Forced to Resort To?

Garbage can, originally uploaded by Prince of Petworth.

What ever happened to the idea of placing more garbage cans on main city streets? It looks to me like there are only garbage cans around us near metro stops. So this is a phenomenon I have noticed lately. Individual home owners have been forced to put up plastic bags on their fences in the hopes that people will put their garbage in the bag instead of on the street. From this picture it looks like it is working. But it seems very unfortunate that the onus to keep the street clean has fallen on the home owner. How hard could it be to get more garbage cans on the street? Wait, don’t answer that…

18 Comment

  • Does this phenomenon only exist in Petworth? Is it happening in other neighborhoods as well?

  • It’s pretty easy to make the request for the garbage cans. Go to One of the types of service requests you can make is for “Litter Can Service or Repair”. Choose that and request an installation.

    Actually getting the can installed may be a different story, but I got a quick response for a streetlight repair.

  • I requested a garbage can from the city at Kansas and Shepherd and the request was denied. I think it was because it was a residential street. In the meantime, the plastic bags on the fences keep getting filled up.

  • PoP: This is a good point, if there were more cans maybe it would make a difference.

  • Amanda: did they give you a reason or explain what the rules were? Why would it make a difference if it is a “residential” street if it has enough traffic to create a mess?

  • aside from the website…post the request on the petworth yahoo group to make some of the gov peeps aware.

  • They denied it because it’s a residential street?

    That’s ridiculous. As if only the residents of that street ever walk there. There are some seriously messed-up priorities going on there.

  • When I came to live here seven years ago, I suggested that we get a can for my block. I didn’t believe it, but people said no, residents will just put their regular garbage in it, leaving no space for anything else. And it is true. There are a couple on NHampshire Ave. near me and they are always stuffed to the gills with garbage bags. Sometimes I sit at my window and watch people bringing the bags out of their house to put in the can. Another view.

  • When I lived in Dupont, our apartment had 4 or 5 big supercans in the back. One night I spoke with a very well-dressed young woman from around the corner who was carrying her trash out there because “I slept too late to put out my kitchen trash on Friday, and I prefer not to look at it until Tuesday.” (Did she not notice how hard the DC Sanitation workers labor around the clock every day of the week so she can be a shop-a-holic who discards all the wrapping?) Now, this is a different phenomenon, but the thread made me think…

  • I live off of H St (not unlike Petworth) and getting trash cans can be very difficult. We tried, in vain, to get more trash cans, but it is not easy. There is a pretty complicated system for how the city determines where trash cans can be placed – based on foot traffic, location (near school, metro, etc) and other factors.

    The post about residents using the cans is absolutely true – that happens in my neighborhood all the time. And when the cans are full, you have bugs, rats, etc that just flock to that sort of thing.

    The trash bag on post is pretty common. When we do neighborhood clean ups, we always empty and replace those bags. While unsightly, it is better than the trash being on the street!

  • I have had very good results using that website that anonymous #1 posted. Surprisingly, requested work (including a streetlight repair) was completed in 48 hours. So it’s worth a shot.

    As for the problem of people using the cans for their big bags of trash: they can, and will, get tickets for that! I received two tickets in the mail several years back when I lived in Adams Morgan. One time, I walked out of Safeway and discarded a pharmacy bag, which I suppose had my address on it. I received a fine in the mail for throwing “personal trash” in a public can!!! Mind you, it wasn’t a bag of trash from my home. It was one envelope from a pharmacy prescription that I’d just bought in Safeway. So I actually think the city abuses the “no personal trash in public cans” rule. That said, what are the chances the city would ticket people in Petworth, or any other residential area, for such a “crime”?

  • I can tell you from personal experience that even if you had a garbage can outside your house, people wouldn’t bother to use it, they would just throw their trash on the ground around the can.

  • we’ve got the plastic bag phenomenon in bloomingdale as well.

    but, a bit of good news. the corner of 7th and rhode island is where there are two bus stops (the 70s on 7th and the G8 on rhode island). there has always been a TON of garbage on the sidewalk and street here. a new garbage can was just added this week (i think we have the ANC2C02 councilman kevin chapple to thank for this, since he adopted this bus stop recently), and it’s been an amazing transformation. people use the can (i know, what a shock, right?) and there is almost no trash on the ground now.

    the city needs to step the hell up and put more cans on the street, period.

  • The problem is that the city needs to empty the trash cans they install, because they are often full of household trash that attracts rats and bugs. I also used the website to request trash cans on my residential street, and they were denied because “we are not putting littercan in residential area (sic).” In the end, however, I was glad that the request was denied because of the state of the existing cans on Georgia Ave, Columbia Road etc.

    When I do have my trashcans out, though, people use them – and most people even sort their recyclables into the blue bin.

  • I have more withdrawls than deposits in my recycling bin. In fact, someone actually vaulted my back fence once to empty my recycling bin of its aluminum.

  • Yep, folks have been doing that up on Longfellow Street too. If the city can periodically send street sweepers down the road, why can’t the city put out trash cans as well?

  • Are these bags really necessary? Do you see bags on the fences in Georgetown?

    Throwing trash down in public spaces has more to do with values and pride in community than the accessibility of trash cans.

  • i agree with jmc, its all about pride… only people who are street trash would throw trash in the streets… i watched a guy on the X2 bus once, who got on with a CVS bag…pulled out a candy bar, and threw the candy wrapper out the back door as it opened at a stop… then he pulled out a bottled drink, finished it, and threw the bottle out at a different stop… then guess what he did with the CVS bag? yeah, threw it out.. i mean wtf is wrong with these people? ive seen the same crap in different areas too… a NICE little bmw threw out a fast food cup at a light in front of me once..i wanted to ram her… who the hell do they think they are, that the world is their landfill? i would rather see a bag of trash on every chainlink fence in the city, rather than a napkin, can, or cigarette box on the ground every 3 steps..

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