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DPW to Start Charging $62.50 for Supercans and $45 each for new 32-gallon trash carts and 32-gallon recycling carts

by Prince Of Petworth — April 24, 2011 at 10:04 pm 47 Comments

From a DPW press release:

The DC Department of Public Works has announced that effective Monday, April 25, 2011, it will begin charging residents $45 each for new 32-gallon trash carts and 32-gallon recycling carts. The new fee is necessary to allow the Department to restock the supply of trash carts used in twice-a-week collection neighborhoods and recycling carts used citywide. DPW will continue to charge $62.50 for Supercans, the trash containers used in once-a-week collection neighborhoods.

DPW is unable to continue providing a free Supercan to new homeowners. Seniors will be required to pay the full amount for a Supercan ($62.50).

“Demand for the 32-gallon carts outstripped our ability to replenish our inventory and stay within our budget,” said DPW Director William O. Howland, Jr. “During the previous administration, we met our budget mark for FY 2011 by eliminating $3.9 million, which included funds to replace trash and recycling containers.

“We could restore only $200,000 of that amount to purchase containers to meet the demand. No more funds are available for additional purchases.” This amount covers container requests that already are on hand.

Mr. Howland noted that requests for either of the 32-gallon containers made by midnight, Sunday, April 24, will be provided at no charge. “We also will honor senior citizens’ and new homeowners’ requests for a Supercan made before Monday, April 25.”

Requests for the containers may be made by calling 311 or placed through the DPW Web site – www.dpw.dc.gov. Residents may pay for their containers by check or money order, made payable to the “DC Treasurer,” and the address where the container is to be delivered should be written on the payment. Payments should be mailed to DPW, 2750 S. Capitol St., SW, WDC 20032. DPW advises residents that payment should be received within 10 business days of placing the request; otherwise, the request will not be filled. When that occurs, the resident should place a new request. Containers will be delivered within 10 business days after receiving payment. Once the container is delivered, residents should put their address on the side and top and record the container’s serial number to help deter theft and assist in identifying the container if it does go missing.

We recently spoke about the durability of Supercans here. Do you think the new prices seem reasonable given the budget crunch?

  • Annony

    I don’t mind paying – once.

    I really hope that these don’t start walking away more often than they do already. I feel like we’re going to need a lojack to keep track of them.

    • ah

      Since you already had to pay for Supercans, with some limited exceptions, why would thefts go up much?

  • anon

    i guess im going to have to mark mine

    • ess

      someone on here a couple weeks ago (jokingly?) said he had painted “I am Gay!!’ on his can to keep it from getting stolen. Perhaps if you put similarly unappealing-to-thieves messages on it that will help.

      • ah

        Makes it easy for the police to return if they find it.

  • 4nature

    I’m not too hopeful even in requesting a new one. I’ve requested a new lid for my SuperCan 3 times in the past year (the lid is missing), and each time I go in or call to check the status – there is no record of my request (even with my confirmation #s). If they can’t keep record of requests – how am I going to ever get a new lid? Or others a new can?

    • 4nature

      oops. Found one in the system finally. Says investigation (I guess into whether my lid is missing or not) pending. It has been for 4 months.

  • Crin

    Add value, create market, get theft. These things are going to get stolen all the time. This is a HUGE mistake. DPW would be better off just increasing everyone’s service fees.

    • Chris

      You said it!
      + 100000000000

      • Anonny

        I agree. I’d much rather pay another ~ $10 a year, along with the rest of DC, so create a funding stream to pay for these.

    • The Rickster

      But this is the Vincent Gray era. You can expect more of these bone-headed decisions for at least the next few years.

      • Anonymous

        thats like blaming obama for the bush tax cuts and the market collapse.

        • The Rickster

          You’re comparing apples and oranges.

        • Chris

          Nice try – but Vince was the “anything but Fenty” candidate and has proven to be just that – nothing more.

          We need a better balance in this city. I’m a lifelong Democrat but voting Patrick Mara tomorrow. Would be great to get some fresh faces in the council (sorry Orange – you had your turn…).

    • Tres

      You could be 100% wrong about that. Think about why people steal cans — because theirs is missing or broken. I really, really don’t see a thriving black market for cans. Is there really a syndicate of crooks running around the city in pickup trucks, taking cans and selling them on street corners?

      No. Cans disappear when a bad neighbor needs a new one.

      But I’ve digressed from my main point — that a shortage of cans (as evidenced by people’s comments here) is what’s creating demand for cans, prompting theft by people who don’t want to wait a year for supercan delivery, get fed up and pull one from a couple blocks away.

      Solution: eliminate the shortage by raising funds for the city to buy new cans.

  • Jim

    When I moved to Petworth 4 years ago, the house I bought had been unoccupied for several years. There were no cans. Called DPW to get cans; they told me that they could give me a recycling bin, but I would have to pay $50-60 (can’t recall exactly) for the trash cart because my house was not new construction. Although it seemed ridiculous, I didn’t argue with them, but told them to forget the trash cart. Went to Home Depot, bought a 35 gallon trash cart for about $20, painted my address on the front in white paint, and it’s served quite well ever since.

    • Rosie

      Now there’s a good solution.

  • Anonymous

    i’ve had 5 cans stolen in the past. if my most recent and badly damaged can gets stolen i’ll just put my trash in bags out in the alley.

    can’t wait for the sanitation issues that arise then.

    • ah

      Bet you can’t wait for the fines from DPW either.

      • Anonymous

        i’m actually hoping my can doesn’t get stolen.

  • Anonymous

    agree this is a terrible idea. i had been requesting a trash can since last november. asked 4 times and never got one. the last time, in march, i was told to ‘go to home depot and buy one’ because the city was out of money. after waiting six months (and being told specifically by city officials i was NOT allowed to buy one), i was told to buy one. insane.

    i have a really bad feeling that a lot of people will send in money and get nothing delivered.

    and i totally agee, these things are REALLY going to get stolen now. hell i feel stupid for not just stealing one.

  • Bdale Res

    I just hope the trash workers start respecting my can more. They toss that thing around like its a game. The lid is starting to tear off in fact because of their roughness. Any way, the moral of the story is Gray is a d-bag…

    • Anonymous

      I respect your can

  • fz

    We are going to end up with loose trash bags all over the alley.

  • SF

    Disaster in the making.

    If I were a kid in my neighborhood, I would print out this article, buy a set of stencils, and go house to house offering to tag cans with addresses for $5 a pop.

  • Herb

    I read this and was very smug since I had already ordered a new can before the 4/24 cut off date. However, I just checked my Service Request status and see that it has been closed…

  • Awesome. Now my cans will get stolen weekly instead of bi-weekly.

  • Complete bullshit on the notion that this “deters theft” — Paint house numbers all over the bloody thing, note serial number, whatever. It’ll vanish tomorrow just like it vanished yesterday.

    So if the city does this, the city must not bitch when I secure the thing to my property with a 60lb logging chain to actually “deter theft”. Just empty it, city. Don’t fret about the chain. I’ve given you six feet of link. You can deal with that.

  • dcgirl53

    Wow…Considering the garbage men keep breaking our cans, this seems like a bad idea to me. Are they going to pay when they break them?

  • Truxton Circle Resident

    I moved into my house last April. I have spoken to DPW several times about getting a supercan. Each time they say that they are still waiting for a new shipment.

    It’s been 1 year now and no supercan. To make matters worse the trash collectors in my hood refuse to empty trashcans UNLESS they are the city trashcans. Hell, I’ll pay for a new/ used/ stolen supercan so long as my trash is taken away.

  • Ike

    Pretty sure this will just lead to additional thefts. I got my recycling can stolen in January, and for 45 dollars hardly want to just see it get stolen again.

  • Paul

    Who wold willingly shell out $45 for that top-heavy, blows-over-in-a-stiff-breeze POS twice-a-week container?

  • Rosie

    I live in a condo so don’t have to worry about this… but considering how many people have had their cans stolen, I’m wondering, who is buying all of these trash cans from the theives in the trash can black market?? Do people all over MD and VA now have trash cans stolen from DC?

    • ah

      The people buying them are the ones who had their cans stolen a few weeks earlier by the sellers.

    • Brad

      I don’t think people are stealing and selling… they’re stealing and keeping. You move into a new house and realize that the previous occupants took their cans with them, so you just grab one from someone else. Or someone steals yours and you do the same. If DPW wasn’t so terrible at distributing them, there would be almost zero theft.

      I used to try to keep two blue cans, because I was in a large group house, but people were always stealing the 2nd one. Curious fact: I only had them stolen when I had two, and they only took one. I was never left with zero. Made me assume it was a neighbor who just saw my “extra” as surplus.

      I hate the idea of charging for the blue cans — it just discourages recycling. There are definitely people who will choose not to get a blue can because of the cost, and just put their recyclables in the trash.

      • Anonymous

        people who i have seen steal cans are contractors, drug dealers, neighborhood handymen, and homeless.

        • Tres

          So what you do is add up the number of contractors/homeless, and compare that with the number of home owners in DC who live in > 4 unit buildings (i.e., eligible for DPW trash pickup).

          Which number do you think is higher — the pool of potential thieves in the contractor/homeless demographic or that in the owner/renter demographic? I’d say owners/renters outnumber contractors by a factor of at least 1000. (Drug dealers would still fit in the category of owners/renters, because presumably they use the cans for trash removal like anyone else).

          In other words, the group that steals the most cans by far is “your neighbors”.

          The solution is still to increase the number of cans so that homeowners stop stealing from each other.

  • mtp

    Oh wow this makes me mad. The trash collectors smashed the lid to our recycle can in November. I have been trying to get a replacement ever since. I’m trying to replace it so it does not become mosquito heaven this summer, and since I didn’t break it, why should I pay for it?

  • LisaT

    Well that’s just PEACHY KEEN. We’ve been waiting since mid-January for a supercan and a recycle bin. We have double the garbage we normally would since we’re not recycling. With summer coming, and us putting our once-a-week pickup garbage in the alley, it’s going to be EVEN MORE LOVELY.

    I just called them again today and was told “you’re on the list.” Whatever that means. Was also told they’re still trying to fill recycle bin orders from last year. DC is WINNING.

  • Tres

    Has anyone ever stopped to think that maybe the reason people aren’t getting their cans is because the money isn’t there, and a steady stream of revenue -starting today- would solve that problem?

    • LisaT

      I don’t mind paying for one–but they should have TOLD me that. All I’ve gotten, ever time (until my last call, when I was informed there was no money to purchase any), was “we’re on backorder, you’ll get them soon.” Just tell people the truth instead of building up our lofty dreams of garbage collection.

  • Salty

    kwame brown’s SUV lease = 43 regular trash cans/month (nevermind the expediting fee which would’ve provided an additional 35 cans).

    of course, the SUV lease was covered with tax dollars, and since these trash cans are repeatedly referred to as “free,” maybe I’m silly to think that our taxes should pay for them.

  • Heather

    When we bought our house it came with three of these. I certainly don’t need three. Let me know if you need one.

    • Heather

      caveat, I think one is missing a lid.

  • Anonymous

    when I moved in, we had no cans. so i contacted the city, and my council member. they both acted quickly but without talking to each other, and now I have two cans each (recycling/trash). i painted my address on them in big numbers and they’ve stuck around for some time now.

  • Marcus Aurelius

    Here’s a radical idea – how about DC gets out of the business of selling people trash cans and just let people choose and buy their own? Green or black for regular trash; white or grey for recycling.

    • Tres

      Because then people who aren’t eligible for trash pickup could freeload by buying their own can.


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