Is Garbage Trashing Your Neighborhood? Here's What You Can Do About It

17 February 2016
 Categories: , Articles


Take a good look around, up and down your street. If you see overstuffed waste bins, free-floating debris and/or discarded junk on the curbs, you may wish you lived someplace else. But your neighbors are probably just as frustrated by the trash pileup problem as you are -- so here are some ways you can work together to conquer it.

Review the Garbage Collection Routine

Sometimes the trash doesn't get picked up as your neighborhood's residents expected. Sometimes this is an individual problem -- maybe you forgot to close the lid, placed the bin out a few minutes too late for collection or committed some other rule violation. But when the whole neighborhood is buried in uncollected garbage, something is clearly wrong somewhere. Maybe the city changed its schedule so that your street now receives collection service on a different day of the week, or maybe departmental budget cuts have left the service with too few employees to cover the route. The problem might be as simple as undersized bins that promote excess loose trash in the neighborhood.

If you and your neighbors aren't satisfied with the current garbage collection routine, don't just gripe about it amongst yourselves -- see if you can change it. You might find that your sanitation service is perfectly happy to provide options you didn't even know existed, such as a second bin (if a single bin is insufficient for your garbage volume) or smaller bins for disabled individuals who can't move the large ones. 

Get Your Hands on Some Dumpsters

If your neighborhood pursues construction, landscaping or other projects on a regular basis, you may make too much waste for the city to dispose of on its regular routes. This leaves you with a lovely assortment of tree branches, wood scraps, countless bags of dead leaves and other debris. Residents and non-residents alike may also be dumping their old garage sale remainders and other junk out on your curbs. But you and your neighbors can eliminate this massive pileup in one fell swoop with the aid of a common yet immensely handy piece of equipment -- the humble dumpster.

Some cities or counties make dumpsters available, free of charge, for exactly this purpose on certain days of the year. The only downside to this approach is the fact that you have to gather and transport all that junk to wherever the city or county decides to plant the dumpsters. A more convenient option is to get your entire neighborhood to chip in on the funds for a dumpster rental as part of your own private neighborhood cleanup day. Costs typically range from $80 to $500 per dumpster. You can hold these days as frequently or infrequently as desired (monthly, quarterly, semi-annually or annually). When your dumpsters are full, simply call the rental company to have them carried away. Contact different local companies by visiting websites like to compare prices and services. 

Collect and Transport That Hazardous Waste

There will always be certain types of waste products that are considered too potentially hazardous to go into a standard trash bin. These include any products that are corrosive (cleaning chemicals, batteries), flammable (used motor oil), or toxic (products containing mercury, medical waste and a variety of other household fluids). Since this hazardous waste requires special handling at a facility equipped to deal with it safely, you and your neighbors may have accumulated mounds of the stuff until there's no longer any way to hide it from view. This trash is not just an eyesore -- it's also a fire, explosion, poisoning or other tragedy waiting to happen.

If trucking old electronics and toxic substances to the appropriate sanitation facility on an individual basis is too inconvenient for your busy neighborhood, consolidate the effort into one monthly collection. Get your housing association or block captain to choose an easy-to-remember monthly date for residents to place their dangerous garbage into a pickup truck bed or a trailer-mounted receptacle. A monthly volunteer then drives the materials to whichever facility can receive them. Even if chemicals and electronics need to go to separate facilities, the separated categories of stuff can probably all be picked up and carried away in one load. Mission accomplished -- until next month!

A clean neighborhood requires a communal effort from its members. Talk to your neighbors and housing association about how you can all help each other create a more beautiful place to live!