Dear PoPville – Getting Public Garbage Cans with ANC Help

“Dear PoPville,

In continuation of the dialogue around litter control, in attempts to curb ongoing littering in our neighborhood (Fort Totten Metro), my boyfriend and I have tried to contact our ANC commissioner re: installation of more garbage cans. We have been thus far, unsuccessful in reaching her. I was curious if PoPville had any insight as to:

a) how one to reach their ANC commissioner
b) enacting change without the assistance of an ANC Commissioner
c) could a private citizen, in theory set up trash cans on their property for community use?

Thank you!”

You can find your ANC Rep here.

12 Comment

  • Talk to neighborhood businesses and a BID (if your neighborhood has one). They also have a vested interest in keeping trash off the streets and sidewalks.

  • I applaud your efforts! I would also recommend trying to get a recycle bin installed.

    • Do you know if public works actually sorts what comes out of public recycling cans? I ask because routinely I see people who are indiscriminate in what they throw in which can when there’s a recycling can and trash can paired together. It drives me nuts to see empty glass and aluminum go into a trash can that literally sits next to a recycling can, but I worry that a bunch of non-recylcable trash in a recycling can leads to the behind-the-scenes result of it all just being trashed. Would love some comfort about DC’s system for sorting the contents of these cans.

  • Post about it on your local listserv and mention the ANC’s lack of response/s. They usual read them or have a staff member follow them and seem to react quickly when “exposed” in public.

    And…thank you for doing this…I second the recycling idea too..

  • On a similar note, I actually had a good experience with Jim Graham’s office in Ward 1. I often take my kids to the Girard Street playground but lately, it was so overrun with trash, empty fireworks boxes, condom wrappers, etc. I called the main line and they connected my with the apporpriate person. Within 10 minutes of my phone call, people were outside surveying the problem and hauling off broken playground equipment. I know that garbage cans won’t necessarily force people to throw away their garbage, but the person in charge of cleaning up after the animals wasn’t doing their job. Kudos to wilson Reynolds and Jim Graham’s office!

  • You can request a street trash can from the D.C. Department of Public Works, but you’ll probably get a better/faster response if you contact your Councilmember (and then he/she contacts DPW on your behalf).

    The D.C. government website says:


    To help maintain the beauty of our commercial corridors with high-volume pedestrian traffic, DPW installs litter cans for pedestrians and motorists to use rather than leaving their trash on the streets. Litter cans are emptied at night anywhere from daily to three times per week, based on how much trash they receive. The partnership between DPW and the business improvement districts (BIDs) creates a cleaner DC. When the litter cans in the BID areas are full, the BID personnel empty the cans and DPW collects the bags. Residents may request installation of a new litter can by calling the Mayor’s Citywide Call Center at 311. Bus stops and locations in commercial areas on major streets are the best locations for new cans. Because of the nighttime collection schedule (between 10 pm and 4 am), cans usually are not placed in residential neighborhoods so residents are not awakened.

    A friend of mine who lives in NE contacted DPW about getting a street trash can (because her property adjoins a bus stop and people were always leaving litter there). DPW installed one about two weeks later.

  • Is that a new design for the standard DC trash receptacle? Never seen one like that.

    • saf


      The city will not place one at 10th and Quincy, so one of the residents has placed that can.

      He empties it too.

  • I’ve used the online request form and cans appeared a few weeks later.

  • I’ve tried to reach the ANC rep for that area too and she has never once responded. I think she needs some opposition in the next election…

  • Email your D.C. Ward Councilmember. Many citizens don’t know their ANC Commissioner or what an ANC is. Once you get cans installed, people will still litter in your neighborhood. Sad, but very true.

  • Thanks SO much for your insight. It was greatly appreciated!

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