Is one trash can enough? Cincinnati considers policy change

Edward Patterson of Price Hill has one trash can for a family of seven. Lisa Hutson/FOX19
Edward Patterson of Price Hill has one trash can for a family of seven. Lisa Hutson/FOX19

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - One trash can per household. That is the rule in Cincinnati put in place last October to curb collection costs and encourage recycling.

But Cincinnati Public Services officials told city council's neighborhoods committee Monday they may need to tweak the policy.

Since the one-can policy adoption the department said illegal dumping has spiked and litter has become a big problem. Officials said 90 percent of Cincinnati households are fine with the one-can policy and only 8 percent have asked for second trash cans.

But residents in Price Hill tell FOX 19 just one can for one week's worth of trash is usually never enough. 

"We have one trash can and we have a family of seven," Edward Patterson said.

Patterson said trash day for the last eight months in Price Hill has been a nightmare.

"Trash would be filled up like in two days and we have to make bags and stuff like that and sometimes the garbage men don't want to take the bags if they are not in the garbage can," Patterson said.

Eventually Pete Witte said that waste winds up on the streets, in driveways and all over Cincinnati.

"Kind of added to a liter trash issue and it's not just Price Hill. Every neighborhood in the city is dealing with it," Witte said.

Even trash collectors like Michael Clay and Solomon Stewart say the purpose of the cans is to keep them from having to bend so much but just one can isn't doing the job. They usually pick up everything that is put out which is against the one-can policy but unless they do, Clay says the streets would be a mess.

"(It) works out better if they donate them one more can. That would be more convenient for everybody," Clay said.

Monday, the Director of Cincinnati Public Services Gerald Checco brought the same concern to the neighborhoods committee with a possible solution.

"We need some flexibility, in our opinion, allowing for more than one can as long as it is a liftable can, a can with a bar that citizens would purchase," Checco said.

It's a purchase some say they shouldn't have to make and that a public service should be public at no additional cost to taxpayers.

"They say keep 'The Natti' clean but we need 'The Natti' to help us keep it clean. The city has to help us help them," Patterson said.

Cincinnati Public Services said they are looking at other solutions such as increasing the fines for illegal dumping which they say is the biggest problem. Instead of calling 513-591-6000 for bulk waste removal, residents have started dumping waste on private or public property.

The department told the committee they plan to draft a few more ideas and present those to council in the next few weeks. The goal they say is to increase recycling while minimizing cost and the amount of trash in Cincinnati.
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