“Do I have the right to file a complaint with the city?”


“Dear PoPville,

As I made my way to my car this morning, I unpleasantly discovered that the trash collectors had spilled material from the recycle bin and left the mess all over our alley. Have you ever seen anything like this?? Do I have the right to file a complaint with the city? Any recourse?? This is obviously pure carelessness on the part of the trash collectors, and now it is my problem to clean up!”

Ed. Note: Well I certainly wouldn’t leave a tip come Christmas time…

32 Comment

  • Let me know how that goes…

  • You are lucky….the other day someone dumped my recycling bin in the alley and stole the can….

  • Should have taken care of them at Chirstmas…

  • OP, you could try making a complaint via 311.
    The trash and recycling collectors in my alley sometimes leave debris scattered through the alley after collection time, but usually not as bad as this.

    • I’d file a complaint with accompanying pictures just to have it on record. But I wouldn’t expect anyone to come clean it up.
      I’m also wondering if someone was rummaging through the recycling before it got collected, and that’s why it’s all over the place. You might want to be on watch for identity theft if it seems like someone was going through your discarded mail.

    • Of course you can complain. I don’t understand “right to complain.”

  • Yes, of course you have the right to complain. Just keep your expectations appropriate.

    Provide feedback for DPW here: http://grade.dc.gov/page/tell-us-what-you-think

  • Heheh…yeah, go right ahead and file a complaint.

    My alley looks 10 times worse than that EVERY week. It seems that the trash and recycling collectors have a contest in my alley to see who can leave the most refuse in the alley.

    My question to you is, where in the city do you live where that level of spillage is rare? I want to move there.

  • I’ve never seen anything that wasn’t like this.

  • If this is a common occurrence then I guess complaining would be good to put it on record…. I’m not sure what else they could do other than that. For all they know it could have been a raccoon who threw trash around before it was picked up.

  • Sure, file a complaint. But don’t leave the trash there while you wait for the city to come clean it up (I suspect they won’t), because it’s just going to blow around, and then the problem is not just yours but all of your neighbors’ as well. Just spend a couple minutes and clean it up. Technically you are responsible for maintaining the area around your house – that means occasionally you’ll have to pick up a mess that someone else made.

  • I know the recycling collectors on our alley and they started dropping lots of recycling, which means tons of broken glass. I went to talk to them about it and their truck lift was malfunctioning. They showed me how it worked and it was definitely broken, but their only option was to manually lift every can up to almost head height and turn it upside down, which I don’t think they should be required to do.
    Bottom line, they had put in a request to fix the truck, but nothing had happened. Your complaint may help get a known problem fixed faster.

  • Just rake the leaves and ignore that the trash is there.

  • You can complain, I doubt anything will come of it.
    (This seems to be a recurring theme in DC… trash, WMATA, crime…)

  • ah

    Yes – email Kevin Twine (kevin.twine @ dc dot gov )

    Send a picture and your address. He will likely apologize and probably send out a crew to clean it up.

    • don’t count on it. DPW wouldn’t take properly bagged yard waste on the scheduled day, likely because they mistook the finer dried out mulch for construction material. they did this on a weekend where I happened to be travelling and it rained over that time making a giant mess for me to clean up. After re-bagging and labeling “YARD WASTE NOT CONSTRUCTION MATERIAL” they took it the next time.

      I give up on DC

    • Hey folks, Kevin here… I’m currently out on an extended leave. Whenever there is excess spillage, call 673-6833 and ask to be connected to Kevin Bryant or Johnny Gaither.

  • Sadly this is very common on my street. They also leave small piles of glass throughout the city, often times in the bike lane.

    It’s annoying to you and I but this is not a detail oriented job and the city DNGAF about it.

    • Ashy Oldlady

      Of course not. This city DNGAF about anything they do, unless it involves collecting fines, fees or taxes. They’re extremely good at those things. I recently dealt with the Department of Taxation, and I was absolutely floored at how professional, courteous, intelligent and expedient they were.

  • I’ve found tweeting at DPW with photos to successful. Our guys used to leave the cans all in the middle of the alley, making it impassible for cars until the homeowners came home to put their cans away. One or two tweets and problem was solved.

  • Just pick it up? Garbage is supposed to be placed in bags anyway. If this happens every time they pick up your trash, then you may want to contact DPW.

    I really don’t understand why people complain about such little things, and take far more time to complain, than it would take to just fix the situation themselves.

    • “Garbage is supposed to be placed in bags anyway.”
      OP stated pretty clearly that this is material from the recycling bin. Agree with the rest of your comment though.

  • Jesus H. Christ.

  • Under the Vincent Gray administration there was an outside watchdog group
    dcgray.com a friend of mine works for the DC gov and he said it went to the
    supervisors of the dept. Their performance rating was based on results.

  • I’m late to this party, but “wow” to the entitled nature of all but one commenter above.

    No. This is not a “DPW fail.” The city does not need to be “tweet shamed” with photos of your garbage.

    Please bag your trash. Tie the bag shut before placing it in the can. Do not put loose items in the can. When the trash hauler comes, he will either lift the whole can and dump it into the truck or take the bags individually from the can and toss them into the truck. Trash haulers are not magicians. If you leave your garbage loose, some may come out when it is transferred from your can to the truck.

    It takes a village. DPW is not your personal maid.

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