letter to the editor

Letter to the Editor: Looking for Best Approach to Handle City’s Trash

Editor:

This letter is a response to the Resources Available to Deal With Overflowing Trash Cans article from the November issue. It was really illuminating – thank you for publishing it!

I want to thank Linda Badger for writing about the Department of Public Works’ management of trash cans in the November issue. It was really helpful to learn about DPW’s policies, to better understand why they make the decisions that they do, and why trash cans are managed the way they are. I for one am definitely frustrated with DPW, especially for how rarely they seem to pick up the trash from the can in front of the Sunset Playground on Ortega Street. Most of the time I walk past, it seems like it’s overflowing with garbage.

After reading this article, I was curious about whether DPW’s policies actually make sense. Just because it’s what DPW does, does not mean it’s the best approach. If illegal dumping is an issue, how can we make it easier for people to dispose of large amounts of trash? If you’re not on the Recology account, it can be hard to arrange a pickup. Taking things to the dump yourself is difficult to do unless you own a car or can rent one. Could we all benefit from making dumping easier by having drop off points spread around the city? Would adding more trash cans, more frequently spaced, reduce litter? The longer someone has to walk holding a piece of trash, the more likely it is to be dropped on the sidewalk. 

Rather than just punishing people for littering and dumping, and taking away trash cans, I wonder if there are paths forward that would make it easier for SF residents to safely and conveniently dispose of their trash? 

Alice Duesdieker

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