Dear PoP – Trash Cans Shortage

“Dear PoP,

I’ve been trying to get trash and recycling bins from the District for the past two months without much luck (our recently-purchased house did not have them). I’ve been calling the 311 folks every few weeks to check in. On my most recent call, I was transferred to the Dept of Solid Waste where they told me that the bins have been back-ordered for months and that they have requests from March 2010 that have yet to be filled. Are other folks having this problem? How difficult is it for the District to order enough trash cans?”

Have other folks heard of this Trash Can shortage?

47 Comment

  • I haven’t heard of the shortage, but I can believe it. Someone stole our trashcans when we were out of town for Christmas in December 08. :-/

    • and how like did it take to replace them? We’re having the same problem. We moved about a month ago and are making no progress getting a trash can and recycling bin.

      • sorry typo. meant to say ‘how long did it take to replace them’?

        • we’re renting and our landlord is no good, so we’re still waiting. We’re probably just going to purchase some on our own, unfortunately. Our neighbors did that.

  • My house is having the exact same problem. We have a serious shortage of trash cans, and our landlord ordered an extra one weeks ago — still nothing.

  • YES!!! Three is a shortage (or at least that’s what Dept of Solid Waste told me)
    My wife and I moved into our new house a month ago, w/o a grbage can. We were told they are back ordered and our can will arrice sometim in the next three weeks.

    Where do I put my trash till then?

  • And let me guess – they will not pick up your trash if it’s not in one of the city trash cans. I had the same problem when I bought my house (missing trash cans). I was able to get new cans but had to report the old ones stolen (at that time I was told you can report your cans stolen once). Otherwise you have to pay for new ones and they’re not cheap.

    Ours are now falling apart, but after reading this post I just decided not to try to order new ones yet.

    • hm, i dunno. the house we purchased a few months ago came w/ a non-city provided trash can and the city def picked up our trash with that trash can.

      that trash can was pretty dead though, so we ordered a new one through the city. took a few weeks, but a new trash can finally showed up for us. *however*, we have twice weekly trash pick-up, so perhaps we were lucky b/c we only needed one of the small trash can – not the gigundo super-cans for the once weekly trash pick-up houses.

    • yeah they are expennnnnsive. Our trashcan was stolen more than once, so we just use a nearby dumpster. Oh well.

  • We ordered ours mid-July. Apparently there was supposed to be a shipment last week, but it didn’t come in. They are hoping it will come this week. This is ridiculous. We’ve had to resort to dumping our trash in other people’s bins and I’ve seriously considered stealing one of our neighbors. They have three and I’d give it back…

  • Our end of the block has too many, most without house numbers on them. I’ll provide the address to the highest bidder. Cash only, please.

  • ours is stolen every few months. somewhere in dc is a trash can kingdom…

  • It took us almost 2 months to get trash and recycling cans after moving into our new home. The recycling can arrived first, unannounced, on our front porch. The garbage can showed up a few weeks later. My suggestion is to make yourself a polite nuisance by calling 311 frequently. i finally was connected to someone with a little compassion who connected me to a supervisor at DPW. The garbage can showed up shortly thereafter. I was informed that there is a backlog on garbage cans and that DPW has specific delivery dates to specific neighborhoods. Also, as a theft deterrent be sure to paint your house number on the can in BIG print as soon as you do get it.

    • Ditto. My recycling bin came much earlier than my super can. We dealt with the lack of a super can by going to the Ft Totten Transfer Station on Saturday mornings. It’s not ideal, but it got us through until our can arrived.

  • Our lid was broken when we moved in, and it took 5 months to get the replacement lid. They ended up replacing the whole trash can, although now that one is gone and we have an old, nasty, beat up trash bin. Do people really go around and steal these things?!?!

  • Our recycle bin was stolen a couple months ago and i called to have it replaced about a month ago. A new one was delivered in a week.

  • Ours was taken this week, sometime on Tuesday afternoon in Columbia Heights. I actually had 2 trash and 1 recycle bin for 2 years. There were always extra bins hanging out in the alley.

    We have neighbors in the alley who use green, round plastic cans from the hardware store. Their trash is always collected.

  • If you can navigate biting shoplifters shooting security guards/cops with their own guns, buying a new can yourself at Home Depot may set your trash bin situation straight.

    • Exactly. I think it’s about $60, but it may be worth it to not have to deal with the frustration of repeat 311 calls.

  • I’ve been trying to get a trash can for my house since I started renting six months ago. Whenever I call I’m told that my landlord has to pay some outlandish price to have a “Super Can” delivered and that the garbage men will only empty the official “Super Can” because our trash is only picked up once a week.

    Doesn’t make any sense to me either.

    • I don’t have a supercan, but a regular trash can that I bought at Home Depot, after my trash can was stolen. It is emptied every week, no problem at all.

  • Those things are expensive. Price a similar quality can at Home Depot and you’ll see. My best guess is that budget restrictions come into play at some point, and you’re more likely to get a can at the beginning of the fiscal year than the end.

  • Yes, we have been trying to get trash/recycling bins from the City for over a month. Each time we call, they tell us there is a shortage of cans and they will deliver them as soon as they become available.

    Note: The City continues to pick up our trash and recycling even without our having the official bins.

  • This shortage has been going on for a long time. When we moved into our house in 2008 it took 3.5 months for us to get a trash can, with me calling and checking every week or two. I was so excited when it came I took a picture!

  • Hmm. . . I wonder if Snowmageddon and Snowpocalypse killed a particularly large number of supercans, causing the current shortage. You know, super cold buried plastic cans can freeze and crack, lids came off with the weight, etc etc. Just an idea.

    Captcha: yellow-bellied lecemed

  • bfinpetworth

    Ordered ours in late June and it arrived a few weeks later. We keep it inside our fence to prevent theft. So far so good.

  • i called two weeks after i moved in, spring 09. I just got mine last month.

  • wow…we often leave ours for a whole week (I know, shame on us) in the alley, and have never had to go looking for it.

  • i’ve had about five stolen over the years. and one recycling bin.

  • Mine had rat holes in the bottom and a missing lid (ie, mosquito breeding ground). I asked the city via phone and email for a new one They said I could buy one for $65, or they could repair the lid. I chose the latter, but they never did anything. I eventually got one from a neighbor who had an extra.

  • if you are in Ward 1, the councilmember is pretty good about putting pressure on the city to get you your cans if you go through him.

  • @StubsDC – Thanks for the warning on the lid – I’ve been waiting for a new lid for 3 months now… Another two to go!

  • Weird, I’ve received a new can in July. It was no problem at all. It took them 3 weeks to deliver it after I called them.

  • The squatter living in an empty house behind me uses supercans to keep his feces/piss in and then he empties them into the storm sewer at night. I’ve called the Dept of Health, WASA and the police but everyone keeps telling me that it’s not in their jurisdiction.

  • I can’t get them to pick up the cans that don’t get used! I bought a place about year ago and there were (no exaggeration) five city trash cans and three recycle cans behind my little row house. I called 311, who said to turn them upside down on trash day and they would be picked up, however there they stayed. I’ve found a few takers but I’d really like to get them out of there.

  • Always use PERMANENT MARKER and LABEL your BINS. They have much less value as stolen goods then.

  • I spray paint the house number and also dremel engrave the cans. Haven’t had one go missing since I started marking them.

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