Dear PoPville – What do we do with our new Garbage Cans if we don’t want them?


“Dear PoPville,

The garbage can fairies have carpet bombed our neighborhood. Everybody got two cans – whether we need them or not.

What does one do if we don’t need them, have our own trash service (Tenleytown Trash) and want to return them?”

Ed. Note: Seems like a shame to have them recycled with the yellow “Take Me!” signs – anyone know if there is a way to opt out of getting the new cans?

40 Comment

  • Follow-up question: does anyone know when the city is planning on picking up the old cans? Our alley is littered with cans, new and old.

    • Prince Of Petworth

      For the old cans you have to put the yellow “take me!” stickers and call 311 to schedule a pick up.

      • laduvet

        I called, turned the old cans over, placed the stick, and they were gone within 10 business day. I even got a real voice message from the city confirming the pick-up time frame (amazing).

      • Thanks! I conveniently forgot about the calling 311 part – for some reason I thought that they would just do a drive-by in the alley and collect all the cans with yellow stickers.

      • My new cans didn’t come with “take me” stickers. I’ll have to make my own and hope for the best.

  • janie4

    I will happily take one off your hands. I’m redoing my basement into an apartment, and could use a second can for their garbage.

    • I will happily give you mine-just delivered yesterday! Get my info from POP and you are welcome to pick them up anytime. I am in Columbia Heights (11th St).

  • I think OP is talking about what to do when 2 new sets (4 wheelie bins total) were dropped off – which was the case if you have a legal basement apt. or if they were dropped off to addresses that don’t have city pick-up but pay a private company.

    I was lucky to be home when they were dropping them off, caught the supervisor and asked her to take back one set, which they did. (Just no room in a tiny back yard for 4 bins!) She seemed a little befuddled, but they did take them back.

  • I’ll take them! The city has yet to give us ours, and our neighbors often fill our current cans with their own trash before I get home from work to take them out of the alley. It’d also be nice to have a spare when my neighbors “accidentally” take our trash can for a week (despite our house number spray-painted on all sides of the can).

    • Sounds like some of the trash-day shenanigans in my neighborhood.

    • Anybody who wants a can and a recycle bin new come get it!!!!! Bloomingdale Neighborhood, first come first serve. Hit me up at yahoo, lifemine9

      We are the same, we have to use a trash service as per DC law, one would think the idiots would not deliver cans (or buy cans) to those locations.

  • I’ll take them! Literally everyone in my neighborhood got new cans except for me and my immediate neighbor. However, one of the neighbors put out one of the brand-new recycling bins with a “take me” sticker, which I then took, so I suspect some residents took more than their share.

  • It seems wasteful that D.C. is apparently planning on recycling ALL unwanted cans, regardless of condition. Seems like they ought to save the ones that are in good shape and make them available for people who request them. Some households don’t need/want additional bins, but there have to be ones that do — it seems like many of the trash cans in my alley are in a constant state of overflow.

    • Are you assuming that “recycle” means “destroy and use for some other purpose”? When they say recycle they could mean re-use, re-distribute, or save for future replacements. I haven’t actually heard any details about what the city plans to do with the old cans, have you?

      • I suspect if they meant “re-use,” they would have said so. And there would be some kind of system for people to request usable cans that other people didn’t want — there isn’t.
        From the FAQ:
        10. What will happen to the old Supercans, trash cans and recycling cans that are taken away?
        They will be collected by DPW and recycled.

        • Yeah, I’ve read all the information too. You are guessing though, and then wishing they would do something different. It’s quite possible that they are doing what you are assuming they aren’t.

          • If you want to persist in the optimistic belief that DPW is reusing the cans despite no indication whatsoever that they’re actually doing so, fine. Is today Contrary Day or something?

          • textdoc, you spend half your time on thing site explaining other people’s posts for them – I’m trying to repay the “favor”. I have no idea what they’re doing with the cans; neither do you, yet you say you wish they were doing something else. You shouldn’t gripe about what’s happening if you don’t know what’s happening. That is all.

          • austindc

            Textdoc is right (as usual). Recycling is not the same thing as reusing, and those of us who have work in the “green” industries draw a distinct line between the two. Recycling involves a process of breaking something down (usually into a cruddier state). Reusing actually means reusing the item as is (though I count repurposing in there, like if you were to outfit the trash cans with levers so they could be used as puppets to put on a musical called “what a waste!”). I am sure that if the city were reusing them, they would say so and brag about it, because it would be good PR.

          • Ahh, I see it is Contrary Day. Enjoy!

    • ah

      8 years from now, when the city has no money for new cans, you’ll be glad to have a can that’s only 8 years old rather than 18 years old.

      • I am. I just wish they’d set up a system for unwanted-but-usable cans to go to people who need additional cans — I’m tired of the overflowing trash cans in my alley providing a feast for the rats.

    • clevelanddave

      This was, and is, such a waste of money, not to mention environmentally unfriendly. What a political boondoggle. Reason number 231 why Gray gots to go.

      The way to do this was to have people pay a subsidized amount, maybe 15-20.00 per can and order them. This would have reduced by what, 50% the number of cans needed and cost of the project by 2/3rds or more.

  • Any good reuse ideas?

  • For the old ones, I don’t understand why they didn’t just do it like leaf collection – and take on sections all in one day. They were in our alley the other day taking some old trash cans, but only ones on their list. For each one, they had to stop, open up the truck, let down the ramp, lift the cans up, then close up and drive off. Seems pretty darn inefficient. Just get one whole alley in one swoop and save yourselves time and effort!

    Can I take over the logistics for the city, please?

    • ah

      They hired a contractor to do it – sent out a large Ryder truck with cans to drop off. Can’t exactly fill that one up with more cans while they’re dropping off.

      Plus, unless they went precisely after DPW emptied the existing cans, they’d be collecting cans that are already full of trash. Not to mention collecting extra cans that some people may actually want.

      So, you’re exactly the kind of person DC is looking for to handle logistics.

  • We got ours yesterday afternoon – I was happy to get a large recycling bin, but our trash can just barely fills each week as it is, so no need for one. I asked my neighbors if they wanted one, and they were happy to take the trash can off my hands. I would ask around at some neighbors’ houses to see if they want one – it’s a nice thing to do, and a nice reason to talk to people you may not talk with enough anyway!

  • A little off topic, but why doesn’t DC offer a choice on trash/recycling can size? Most cities I’ve lived in charge for trash pickup and bigger cans cost more. With composting and “reducing” we barely have any trash, now I’m getting “upgraded” to an even bigger can.

  • What’s your address? I’ll GLADLY come get them! My neighbors keep stealing mine!

    • Shaw Guy-You are welcome to mine, which were just delivered yesterday! I am in southern Columbia Heights (11th St). Have POP give you my info and I’ll email you my address!

  • What a colossal waste of money. I don’t need new trash cans/didn’t ask for new trash cans and now have to get rid of them because they don’t fit in my garage.

    • Thanks much Kevin, just shot you an e-mail. I think a bunch of small condos, like mine, got these in error as we use private contractors for trash/recycling pickup.

  • I need a new one, if you have an extra and live around H St NE please email me:
    ts DOT werwath AT gmail DOT com

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