57 Comment

  • Are they moving them? Are they putting trash in them? What does that mean?

  • I’m thrilled when people put trash in our cans instead of just throwing it on the ground.

    • Me too. Maybe we’re the only ones. Lol

      • I don’t know what your trash collection people do, but the people who collect trash in my alley will take only trash that’s bagged. Any individual items just get left sitting in the bottom.
        So yeah, I don’t want other people putting their trash in my trash cans — especially if it’s unbagged, greasy, liquid-y, etc. (To that end, I put my trash cans out in the alley only during the time window for collection.)

        • textdoc–same here. Stuff in the bottom (and paticularly little bags of dog poo) don’t leave my trash bin in less I reach all the way in and take it out. Ewwwwww.

          • Occasionally a bag of dog poop gets stuck, but I regularly see them get collected from my bin. I do use public cans for this purpose, but see my rant below…they’re usually full with huge bags of trash, so I have to put it in my own can. I’ve never reached into a used trash bin….Why wouldn’t you just leave it?

          • Because when you don’t notice it there and then put something heavy on top of it, you can wind up with dog crap all over the inside of your trash can. It happened to me twice in one summer.

          • Ok. Maybe it’s happened to me, I’ve never noticed, but ok your trash bin has dog poop in it…So what? I’m just not seeing the issue with a dirty trash bin. Are you getting packages delivered there? The ups guy does that at times, but it’s on my extra, never used set of cans.
            General grossness aside, of course.

          • I only put tied bags of trash in mine, so, no, it doesn’t get too dirty. Also, I spray it out a couple times a year. I don’t want a dirty, unsanitary bin in my yard and to handle every week.

          • Anon Spock, you don’t see a problem with dogsh!t lining the inside of your trashcan? Where do you live? I got two dogs who love to poo!

          • And rats loooove dog poo.

        • You’re not touching the inside of the can, so why is it’s cleanliness of any concern?
          All of my trash is collected from the can not simply bags being pulled out which I gather may be the case with your collection.
          I’d rather people use my can than fill up public trash cans with what is obviously household items. Those things are typically bagged though, so they would pass matter with your collectors.

          • Per your comment below, I guess I’m not throwing enough out! What am I supposed to do? Generate more trash?

            But seriously, if you are reaching into the bottom of the can, you are likely to touch the sides and the (often gross) trash you are removing. Or struggle with flipping them over and then picking up the trash. Maybe if you are tall and fit this is easy enough.

            As for just leaving it in there. Ummmmmmm…. Gross stuff just gets grosser. And grosser. And wetter. And grosser.

            I guess reasonable minds can disagree, but keep in mind when using other’s bins, you may be creating a gross hassle for them.

          • I’m super easy going and understand the “fun” of living in an urban environement, but I do have some trash can issues. The bags of poo get put into the bin, then trash goes on top, the poo gets crushed and doesn’t fall out of the bin even when inverted. So on the extremely rare occassion that my can gets inverted (hehe) I still have a dog poo filled bin with grabage stuck to the bottem with dog poo. The problem here is that it stinks like dog poo and my can is right next to my front door under my only first floor window (I’ve got a wierd access situation so that’s the only place for the bin). You would be surprised at how much a hot can a dog crap smells like dog crap. If I want to not smell dog poo I have to actually climb into the can to reach the bottom with a scrub brush and bucket of water or just smash at it with a broom, thus rewarding myself with a broom that smells like dog crap. So after a few dozen times of trying this, I own an entire set tools and equipment that smells like dog crap. I do not own a dog. I should have no tools whatsoever to deal with dog poo.

        • You’re not throwing enough out. If your cans were heavy, and or had several bags in them, they would hoist it up and dump it out.

          I love when people throw stuff in my cans. I dont like a dirty alley. It attracts rats. I’d rather things sit in the bottom of my can than in far reaches of my alley where it attracts rats. loose trash in can < Rats

          • Not necessarily. They’ve been better about it lately, but DPW’s standard procedure for years on my block was to have someone running ahead of the truck, pulling all the bags out of each can and piling them up in a few locations along the block. This was regardless of how many bags were in each can.

          • That’s weird. I’ve only seen the guys dump cans. No prebussing. Is that really more efficient?

          • I can’t imagine that it is, but that’s what they did for a long time. They recently started actually dumping each container now, so maybe they’ve been re-trained. If they did it consistently, and I mean each and every collection, I wouldn’t have such a problem with the loose bags of dog poop.

        • I absolutely hate it when people walking by throw trash into my trash can – between the time the city has picked it up but i have to gotten home yet to bring them back from the sidewalk. It’s just so damn rude and inconsiderate. This sign is on the money – use the public trash cans (usually barely a block away), and stop making other residents clean up your own bloody mess. And of course, usually its always things like open food containers, plastic and paper cups with gooey liquid dripping out – ugh!

        • I think the problem here is that the trash cans are too large to dump, so that they have to use the system of reaching in and lifting out individual bags. Ideally, our recycling bins would be large and our trash bins would be smaller.

          A typical household who recycles most of the things they can recycle should really be producing far more recyclables than trash. I know that my recycling bin fills up far faster than my trash bin.

          If the trash bin was the size of the recycling bin, then it could be dumped just like the recycling bin. Then we wouldn’t be having this whole discussion about dog poop bags in other people’s bins.

      • emvee

        No no no no don’t encourage people to use your trashcan! The building next to my house has a dumpster out back that none of the residents like to use, so instead they quite literally throw their household trash out their front window and then put it in my bins. It’s awful. Dirty adult-diapers, leaky containers of god-only-knows-what, collections of used condoms. Oh what I would give for just a bag of dog turds. And when the trashcan gets full, they start piling onto my recycling bin, which leads the pick up folks to just leave it since they think I haven’t sorted. No, no to using other people’s trashcans. Keep your trash to yourself or the public trashcans that are there for everyone. No one wants to touch what you deemed too gross to keep. Separate trashcans for all!

        • Certainly you realize that someone throwing their soda can/hamburger wrapper into a random trash can instead of the ground is not the same as dropping bags of trash out the window and then using your trash container instead of their own.

  • This sign is confusing. I also toss recyclables I find as I walk into blue bins I pass, figuring it helps clean up the hood. But I’m always bracing myself for a homeowner to holler at me :^0 (Or maybe I have been videotaped doing such! Eeeks!)

    • Recycling is different. It’s not expected to be bagged in the first place, and the collection people don’t just reach into the recycling bins and pull out bags. So, like textdoc and Anonymous above, I mind when people put loose trash in my garbage can (especially dog waste bags), but loose items in my recycling bin don’t bother me.

      • It’s also not my garbage but rather stuff I find near the bin left by someone else. But I have been hollered at before (“Take it to your own house!”) — also for taking pictures of houses, but that’s another post.

    • Then there are the people that throw loose trash in the recycling bin, even though there’s a trash can right next to it.

  • How does one “molest” a garbage can? Are they humping it, touching it inappropriately, groping, what are the boundaries surrounding trash receptacles? How does one know the can has been molested? Does the can keep a diary? Are they filming it? Is this a new fetish? I am ultra curious…. Slow Monday.

    • I wonder if they had to register on the Trashcan Molester registry.

    • Allison

      Heh, I suspect the note writer is a native spanish speaker. The verb “molestar” in spanish generally means to bother or disturb, and doesn’t have any sexual connotations. I can see how a spanish speaker translating into english would just write “molest” thinking it means the same thing.

      • Blithe

        Long, long ago, the zoo had signs up that said something like “Do Not Molest the Animals”. People might understand those signs a little differently these days.

  • justinbc

    Wouldn’t be surprised if this is from a house near me. There’s one house where I regularly see people digging through their recycle / trash looking for stuff. The problem (that other posters seem to be missing) is that those people just leave whatever trash they don’t want scattered all over the place.

    • I’m not sure if anyone above you considered people searching for stuff rather than using the can for trash. Obviously if you’re digging through trash put it back when you’re done.
      What do these people throw away though? Must be a gold mine.

      • Notice that the sign is on a blue can. Someone is obviously fishing through the recyclables and taking them out. And probably causing a huge mess with the stuff that’s not valuable.
        Tl;dr: there’s poor people in the District.

        • justinbc

          Yep. You can always hear them rattling through the bins and bottles, plastic containers, etc rolling all around. As soon as you hear those glass beer / wine bottles rattling you know someone is digging through House X’s trash. My guess about the note has to do with the phrase “molesting”, as I can’t imagine someone using this term to refer to trash tossed in, rather than items taken out.

  • This may inflame some people, but when you put cans on public property, you lose the right to tell someone what they can or cannot do. Someone can use the can or even search through your trash.
    It’s a bin for trash for goodness sake. The idea that you’d rather someone litter than God forbid use a proper receptacle that happens to belong to you is insane. The same people complaining about this situation will also complain when sidewalks are littered with trash. Yes, bags break, poop happens, and bins occasionally become gross.

    • Your assumption is faulty. In my case, both my recycling bin and my trash can are on my property but can be reached by passers-by. And the idea that I should have to clean up dog crap when I don’t even own a dog is — to use your own word — insane.
      And, by the way, this discussion has happened before on Popville, and DC law says you’re wrong. It’s littering to dispose of waste in any receptacle that someone else has dominion and control over without permission from that person — regardless of its placement and regardless of technical ownership.

      • houseintherear

        DC Law prohibits the storage of private trash/recycling containers on private property.

        • Say that again? What you’re saying makes no sense. Of course your supposed to be storing your private trash cans on your private property. Did you mean storing on public property? Like I wrote, my trans cans are on my private property when they’re not out for collection — they can just be reached by people walking by. And, again, that has nothing to do with the littering concept.

    • Personally, I put my cans out into the alley after 6 p.m. on trash day and bring them in the next morning if trash has been picked before I leave to work and when I get home that evening if it hasn’t. As the city instructs. I would prefer if my neighbors refrained from using my bin in that 12-24 hour period. They have or should have their own trash cans, and there are public trash cans on the street provided for litter.

      • Some houses don’t have trash collection or people are too lazy to deal with the bins. I say this because a day or 2 before trash pickup I see what appears to be household bags of trash completely filling the city cans. I can’t imagine someone is walking to the city cans rather placing a bin on the curb and removing it. From every house the distance to the city can is farther. Cans are full all along my walk.
        At the end of day, it’s trash all going to the same place. This city has lots more issues then who is moving or using your trash bin.

    • IIRC, we don’t even own the trash cans. Technically, I believe they are city property.

      • We’ve been through this before. Formal ownership of the cans is irrelevant for littering purposes.

        • But it is relevant to the issue of folks getting territorial about blue bins and who uses them.

          • Residents (or homeowners) are the ones held responsible for the contents of the cans and for that reason are justified in being “territorial” about who uses them.

          • The point is that every time one of these conversations comes up, someone brings up the old saw that the cans belong the city and implies that this somehow gives strangers the right to put things in them. It doesn’t, and the law says it doesn’t. You can call it territorial all you want, but you’re the one being rude if you keep doing it after people have told you to stop. They’re not communal cans.

    • Another issue is that the collectors will often not take trash that is not inside the can. So when my neighbor fills their can and decides that they can take liberties and fill my can. What am I supposed to do with my garbage. Put it on the ground, right. Yea, then I get fined.

      For me it is the single overarching balance of living in a city. We all have to put up with some issues, but more importanly everyone should be trying to do things properly and respectfully. This means that my neighbor’s overflowing trash situation is solved by their ordering an extra can not by dumping their problem on me.

      This is from the new Super Can FAQ
      Will the District issue tickets for trash that is in bags and not containers?
      Yes. District regulations require that all trash and recyclables are containerized. Rats, raccoons,foxes and other animals easily get into bags and eat the trash. Please see the response to Question 15 for more details.

      • I don’t think anyone here said someone had a right to fill your bin thereby forcing you to place trash on the ground. We all agree thats douchey, right?

        • That was more of a vehicle for my point, kind of echoing your 4:37 comment. I a touch more on the side of everyone should deal with their own trash in their own can. Minor deviations are part of the city, we’ve all got to get along, but it sucks when people just dump their problem expecting someone else to deal with it. It’s also a bit of a degree, candy wrapper – sure, dog poo- meh, car battery- not so cool. We might be reasonable people, but people do dumb things all the time. The city says it’s my responsibilty even if it’s someone else doing the deed.

  • Its an oddly phrased note, but the emphasis on the sidewalk not being private property would seem to suggest the issue is trash can placement and not someone opportunistically using the can as most have assumed. It seems to me like someone is – for whatever reason – placing their cans out for collection in front of the neighbor’s property and finding that they are being moved away from the curb or otherwise interfered with (i.e. molested) in protest. I can’t see any other explanation for insisting that the sidewalk is public property.

  • Allison

    I think readers may be missing the message. It says “the sidewalk is not private property” — meaning the note writer was emphasizing that the sidewalk is public property. I think this dispute is less about someone putting trash in another person’s trashcan, and more about a neighbor moving someone’s trashcans after they’ve been put out for collection (ostensibly because the trashcans were placed on “their” private property) thus causing the trash to not be collected.

    • Yeah, the “private property” part of the note was confusing to me — I was having trouble figuring out what scenario would address someone 1) treating the sidewalk as private rather than public space and 2) messing with the OP’s trash cans.

  • In Spanish the verb “molestar” means “to bother.” What we may be looking at is just a sentiment that’s been muddled in translation from someone whose primary or original language isn’t English.

    • “Please refrain from molesting” sounds like a Brit wrote it or someone who spent a lot of time in the uk.

  • I used to live on the Hill, trash was only picked up on the other side of the street. (Pickup for my side was in the alley, but I had no access to the alley). So I had to schlep my trash across the street and put it on the opposite sidewalk. It occasionally led to challenges from neighbors but once I explained the situation they were cool with it.

    My guess is that is what’s going on here. A neighbor is affronted that this person has put their trash cans in front of someone else’s house and “molested” it in some way (moving, dumping, yelling, who knows). So they wrote a note saying that the sidewalk isn’t private property, it’s for everyone’s trash cans.

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