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Forget the Snow – Garbage is the Big Issue Now

by Prince Of Petworth February 15, 2010 at 9:58 pm 27 Comments


It was very disturbing to see how many garbage cans are overflowing around town. I heard a quote a while ago. I’m gonna butcher it but it was something along the lines of the second most important city service after the fire department is sanitation. I can see why. I mean nearly every garbage can I passed around town was either filled to the top or overflowing. If these public cans aren’t emptied soon this will get very very ugly.

Another troubling note is that because the alleys are blocked the few garbage trucks I did see were stopping right in the middle of the road. The one below stopped on Park Road before 16th Street for a good 5 minutes snarling traffic.



    How soon before we start to see rodents and other creatures roaming the alleys and D.C. streets looking for food? I live close to Rock Creek Park on 16th Street, NW and there’s no telling what animals or creatures the trash will attract.

    • victoria

      I’m guessing it will attract fewer than the usual hordes that roam the streets and alleys every day, since it is much harder for the rats to climb all over the snow banks than it is to just scurry up to the usual luscious dumpster buffets.

      (Plus, judging from this blog, half the after-storm trash in the city is just empty liquor bottles anyway.)

  • ontarioroader

    I think a lot of the problem is the guys who normally drive the trash trucks are the ones who are currently driving the snowplows.

  • We’ve been told by DPW on all of our neighborhood listservs that we’ll have pick up tomorrow and then again Friday (normal days are Monday and Thursday). They told us to put the trash in black plastic bags on the curb (I live in a part of the Hill that has street pick up twice a week normally, so we’re on a normal “holiday slide” schedule this week, but no recycling pick up). Since I live on a snow emergency route, I expect my trash to be picked up, but we’ll see. (Not that the parking lane was cleared today, which is what we were told the purpose of today’s snow emergency was.) My cans aren’t really accessible right now, so I’m going to see what happens tomorrow with the two bags currently in my kitchen, and if that goes okay, I’ll work on getting to the cans outside and rebag the contents for Friday’s pick up.

  • Kalorini

    The Public Works asked DC residents to hold off using the public trash cans until they could resume service. The DC Wire (part of the Post, so I’m sure it is accurate–sarcasm included) states that the public litter cans should have resumed service by Feb 10th: http://voices.washingtonpost.com/dc/2010/02/big_changes_to_dc_trash_collec.html

    That clearly hasn’t happened–and it is getting disgusting! I live on a side street and the public trash cans are in bad shape; the ones around the metro are worse!

  • garbage

    Looks like there are a lot of large garbage bags there that people brought from home. That is illegal.

  • Tina

    Lots of people are just piling their household trash around the public garbage cans,and yes, it is really disgusting. People don’t even try to tie up their bags, so the contents spill out onto the sidewalk and street. The can near my house is surrounded by a lovely heap of egg shells, dirty baby diapers and maxi pads. Tasty!

    • ah

      Nice. Maybe DPW will start ticketing people for misuse of a public trashcan.

      • Kamantha

        They do ticket people. My neighbor last year threw his trash in the can at the bus stop on the way to work. Apparently there was identifying mail in the can and a few months later he received a fine from DPW with a picture of his mail (with his address) attached to the fine.

  • My trash was taken this morning, pretty much on schedule. At least that’s one thing that’s (sort of) back to normal.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe condo fees aren’t the devil. Not only were my sidewalks cleared every time it stopped snowing (almost instantly, I might add), but my garbage has been picked up multiple times!

  • J.Con.

    To “ah”–DPw does ticket individuals for using a public trash can for household trash. It’s a $35 fine. The ticket-writer looks for any identifying information in the trash bag and then mails a citation to the responsible household.

    • ah

      I know — this would be a much more appropriate circumstance than the guy a few years ago (profiled in the WaPo) who got such a ticket for discarding his utility bill (or whatever) in the trash on the way to work.

  • RD

    So where are we getting trash collection this week? My alley is probably pretty damn hard to get through. Will they still be collecting back there, or are they taking black bags out front?

    • Prince Of Petworth

      From DC:

      Trash Collections: Trash will not be collected Presidents Day, Monday, February 15. Collections in once-a-week collection neighborhoods will “slide” to the next day. For example, Monday trash collections will be made Tuesday, Tuesday collections will be made Wednesday, and so on. In neighborhoods with twice-weekly trash collections, Monday and Thursday collections will be made Tuesday and Friday, and Tuesday and Friday collections will be made Wednesday and Saturday. The alleys remain impassable because about three feet of snow fell between Friday, February 5, and Wednesday, February 10, so DPW asks residents to put their trash in dark plastic bags and place them at the curb no earlier than 6:30 pm the night before collection and removed from public space by 8 pm on the day(s) of collection. Bleach may be added to the bags to repel rodents.

      Recycling Collections: Recycling collections will be suspended this week and residents are asked to hold onto their recyclables until the following week.

      Bulk Collections: Bulk collections scheduled for Tuesday, February 16, through Friday, February 19, will be rescheduled. DPW bulk collection drivers continue on snow duty.

      • Dog walker

        Hold the recycling for another week?! But that is where all of my stored trash is! Bottles of wine, beer, seltzer, tonic and even the 1/2 gallons of hooch. How dry I am, how dry I am…

        • I know exactly how you feel. They haven’t collected my recycling in four weeks. I barely produce any garbage, but produce a lot of recycling. Generally overfill the blue container every week. Now, there’s more than a month worth of recycling just chilling out in my apartment. It’s getting a little ridiculous.

  • Steph

    So if your trash is normally picked up in an alley you should put it on the curb this week? That would be a good thing to post a seperate entry about so people get the message.

    • Prince Of Petworth

      Will add a sep. post at 12:30!

  • anon

    I’ve actually been seeing dead rats on the sidewalk – in one case actually dying, just sitting there shaking, I felt bad for it. It was dead when I walked back a couple of hours later.

    Rave for the city’s trash collection along 18th St. I live in Adams Morgan and the public cans have been cleared out on schedule. Wish I could say the same for our private trash pickup in the back alley…

  • Bitter Elitist

    14th is disgusting. People are routinely dumping their personal trash. Damn near tripped over a Mazola bottle. A smooshed dog poop bag is on the sidewalk too :(

    • anon

      ugh its so gross. i have a pile of dog poop bags on the side of my porch b/c there’s nowhere to put them on the street! all the street cans are overflowing with snow and trash, and they’re certainly not picking up trash in my alley.
      its getting gross/frustrating.

  • victoria

    Bleach to repel rodents? The ones around here would just use it to make daiquiris!

  • Bill

    This may sound crazy, but has anyone thought of bringing your own trash to the DC Dump? It’s located at 4900 Bates St, NW and open every day after 1pm.

    • RD

      Not a lot of city dwellers own pickup trucks. putting trash in my car? ehhh…

    • DC Dump has actually been closed during much of the last couple of weeks.

  • JenDC

    I pay condo fees, and all of my neighbors – who get free trash pick up by the city – are now dumping all of their garbage into our bin so there is no room for those of us who do pay. Nice.


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