Black and Blue

The City of San Diego announced new refuse-collection schedules on July 7. According to a press release, “The redesigned routes require drivers to work four 10-hour shifts each week, which will save the City $4.4 million and reduce the workforce by 40 positions.” The new schedule went into effect on July 12.

Monday is trash day on my block in Loma Portal. Blue recycling bins on wheels and their black counterparts that hold household waste were picked up this week. As I walked my dog on our morning route, we greeted some neighbors putting out their trash and others leaving for work.

One man was putting out a blue recycling container that was split horizontally across the front; he said he found it that way when he got home from work the previous week. Another man was rolling out a black bin with no lid. He said that the trash collectors had broken the lid off the previous week.

One neighbor had the garbage-can lid’s hinge pins knocked out one week, so he replaced them with corks. The next week, the lid was broken off by the trash men and taken away. After calling the City’s Collection Services department and being informed there was a $70 fee for a new trash can — plus a $25 delivery fee — he built a wood veneer lid that was broken off two weeks later.

On my eight-block walk, I counted five trash cans with missing lids, three cans with cracked or repaired lids, four cans with large impact cracks (presumably from where they bang against the truck to shake out the trash), three cans with homeowner-modified hinge pins, and four cans with broken front handles.

Mayor Jerry Sanders is quoted in the July 7 press release as saying the new schedule will have “minimal public impact.” With the new refuse-collection schedule — as personnel hurry to cover their larger, redesigned routes on longer work days — is it safe to assume that more garbage cans will be damaged to the point where they will have to be replaced? At a cost to residents of $95 a can, it doesn’t sound like “minimum public impact” to me!

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I, too, have repaired my own containers in an effort to make them last a bit longer and avoid the replacement fee. Howev, considering that we San Diego residents don't have to pay for trash or recycling or yard waste collection, I personally won't mind too much when I finally do have to cough up the $100 replacement fee.

It costs the city a few million out of the general fund to handle garbage collection each year so its far from free. Sorry, this just always gets me when people say that we don't pay anything for trash pickup.

Let's talk TRASH (pickup). Replacing a trash can that has worn out" is one thing...


Having to pay for a can that is Damaged by the City's trash truck's automated "arm" is quite another! If the City cannot insure that it's collection system is working properly then we should not have to pay to replace a can that their equipment has damaged!

As it is now these "arms" are adjusted for speed of dump (not protection of the can), and it's that fast slam at the top of the dump arc that tears off lid pins and then the off set lid tears the back of the cans "pivots" off...

At the very minimum the trash truck crew should carry a bag of Pivot "buttons" and replace those it's machine damages, it only takes a second to tap them in and that "repair" will then save US having to replace a every expensive can...


I agreed with you, we are paying for that service already.

The City is now prevented from charging an additional fee for trash pickup and is very busy trying to get General Approval to change the "Peoples Ordinance" so they can.

That exact item was the third item on the list to be discussed at the CRR & ECC as a possible way to save/generate some money (est. $34 Million) for San Diego.

BTW: That is a drop in the bucket compared with the amount that the Redevelopment Agency, (who is our same City Council with another hat on) wants the "City Council" to Forgive ( I think that figure is close to $500 Million)... So who is talking TRA$H???

Here is another tip from a North Park Artist:

Remember that famous song from the Rolling Stones: ...Paint It, Black

Instead of buying a new $70 black trash can, why not just paint one of your "unused" blue cans BLACK?

The answer to all this, really, is to emphasize the first two words in "reduce-reuse-recycle."

If the cities of San Diego, Oceanside, L.A., and others stopped paying for trash service and allowed private industries to bid for the jobs, not only would they save millions, but residents could deal with private companies that appreciate them as customers, rather than an uncaring, don't bug-me-with-common sense, bureaucracy. In Encinitas, we can have a trash can or dumpster replaced once a year, by our provider EDCO, at no cost. They consider it good customer service to replace stinky or broken cans.

Regarding #7 Great Post, perhaps the City's Independent Budget Analyst (IBA) team will also look at this idea, which would save US money. Email all your suggestions to:

I've also suggested that the City's Union members that do this job, should consider buying the Trash business (trucks included) from the City and then they & the taxpayers would profit, instead of yet having yet another Mega Business "take over $D"...

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