Organizing St. Paul: Trash and alley plowing on the agenda

Recycling ddustbins

Image via Fotolia: #80127845 | Author: vostal

Walking around my neighborhood, I counted the different names on garbage cans in a couple of alleys. One block had garbage cans belonging to seven different trash haulers. Another block had eleven. That’s eleven different trucks coming down the alley on different days of the week, every week, and that’s a feature of the current “open” system for trash pick-up. Rational? Efficient? Environmentally friendly? Not in my book.

St. Paul is now considering an “organized” system of garbage collection. According to the city’s website,

“In its most simple terms, organized trash collection is a system for collecting trash in which one or multiple trash haulers are authorized to collect trash from a specific service area.  In an organized system, one trash hauler would pick up the trash from your block on a set day for a set price that has been negotiated by the city.”

Please note: that DOES NOT mean the city would become the garbage collector. The city would contract with trash haulers, so that each hauler has a specific service area, meaning one truck going down the alley once a week.

That makes sense to me. The city provides a list of benefits from organized trash hauling:

  • Provides consistent, quality customer service
  • Likely reduces fees for a majority of residents.
  • Provides stable and uniform rates for residents – eliminates the need for residents to research and negotiate their own fees.
  • Improves efficiency by eliminating the need for several haulers to be operating in over-lapping areas of the city.
  • Reduces noise, pollution and traffic.
  • Reduces wear and tear on city streets and alleys.
  • Improves options for convenient and proper disposal of bulky items such as appliances, mattresses and tires—this can lead to a reduction in illegal dumping and associated city costs.
  • Increases alley safety.
  • Improves accessibility for new residents and non-English speakers who do not have to arrange for service and negotiate costs.
  • May provide financial incentives to residents to recycle more and divert organics from the waste stream.

 A survey — filled out by more than 800 people so far — is a quick and easy way to register your opinion. I filled it out, though I’m disappointed that there’s no space for comments. If you want to comment you can email  You can fill out the survey any time between now and 12 a.m. on April 10.

The survey also has some questions about alley plowing, which I have written about before. I’ve also written about organized trash collection recently, so this is a short post, just to update readers on the current city survey and plans to consider organized trash hauling and — maybe — alley plowing.

And if you want to contact your city council representative directly, here’s a list:

Ward 1: Dai Thao (651) 266-8610 or
Ward 2: Rebecca Noecker (651) 266-8620 or
Ward 3: Chris Tolbert (651) 266-8630 or
Ward 4: Russ Stark (651) 266-8640 or
Ward 5: Amy Brendmoen (651) 266-8650 or
Ward 6: Dan Bostrom (651) 266-8660 or
Ward 7: Jane Prince (651) 266-8670 or

1 Comment

Filed under St. Paul Notes

One response to “Organizing St. Paul: Trash and alley plowing on the agenda

  1. Pingback: St. Paul picks Eureka: Now let’s talk organics recycling | News Day

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