San Diego

Trashed Trash Cans Frustrate San Diego Residents

Hundreds of trash containers get dropped into trash trucks every year leaving residents forced to buy new ones.

If you live in the City of San Diego, chances are your black city-issued trash container is past its life expectancy.

According to Renee Robertson, program manager for San Diego’s Environmental Services Department, the average trash container in San Diego is over 13 years old. Robertson told NBC 7 Responds, that’s three years over what the warranty covers.

“A lot of the cans are getting to the point where they are showing signs of major wear and tear,” said Robertson.

And while cracks and normal wear and tear on a trash can may not be upsetting to many residents, there are ramifications to sticking with trashed trash cans.

One problem: damaged cans are prone to ending up inside the trash truck. Robertson told NBC 7 Responds that approximately 600 trash cans get dumped inside the trash truck every year, that’s an average of 50 cans every month throughout the city.

It’s a relatively small number, said Robertson, when considering there are over 190,000 households citywide.

“Typically when the container falls into the trash truck it’s because it was damaged,” said Robertson. “We really encourage you to replace the container before it gets to this level.”

When cans are dropped inside the trash truck crews are instructed to leave them there.

“It’s not worth someone getting injured while trying to pull out a container that is wrapped in duct tape,” said Robertson.

And, if your can is older than 10 years, or if city trash workers put a sticker on your can noting major damage, then you are responsible for placing the trash cans.

Robertson suggests homeowners replace old cans and any with significant cracks in order to avoid losing them inside the back of a trash truck. Homeowners can buy a new can for $70 dollars at the Environmental Services Department's operations Yard in Kearny Mesa, or have them delivered for an additional $25.

“It comes out to seven dollars a year for the ten years,” said Robertson. “That’s a reasonable cost especially considering that we don’t charge for the overall cost of service.”

As for the blue recycling cans and the green yard waste receptacles, replacements are free but delivery charges do apply if you are unable to pick them up.

Click here for the city’s website for information on how to replace the trash containers.

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