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Talkin' Trash: Correcting the misuse of pedestrian garbage cans

Talkin' Trash: Correcting the misuse of pedestrian garbage cans
Posted at 5:19 PM, Aug 03, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-03 17:32:15-04

BALTIMORE — The misuse of public garbage cans located on sidewalks, parks and corners is a problem throughout Baltimore City.

"It's terrible," said Kim Hicks.

Hicks lives in the Bolton Hill neighborhood. She told WMAR-2 News she's noticed more garbage appearing in the corner can located outside her apartment on Eutaw Place. When we should up it was overflowing.

"There are bowls in here, items from the kitchen," she said. "This is not what the garbage can is here for."

Hicks is correct. The garbage cans are meant for pedestrian litter.

"If I don't want to finish my candy bar, I throw it in there. If I'm done with my soda or water bottle, I throw it in there. I do not throw a 12-pound bag of used cat litter in there. That's incorrect," said Nan Rohrer.

Rohrer is the president of the Midtown Community Benefits District.

To combat misuse and illegal dumping surrounding the corner street cans, the organization spearheaded an education effort.

Working in partnership with Baltimore City code enforcement, Midtown outlined a three step plan aimed at reducing the misuse of these trash cans.

The plan involves:

EDUCATION: New signage was placed on trash cans, informing the public these cans are to be used for pedestrian litter only. If a residence does not have a municipal trash can, they can call 311 to request one.

TRACKING: Instances of improper usage was tagged with highly visible stickers and Midtown begins the process to work with our city agency partners to make sure necessary steps are taken to identify the person(s) responsible.

RESPONSE: Upon conclusion of inspection, Midtown will go clean the site and remove any lingering dumped items.

Over the course of eight weeks the program has seen results.

"We have issued a few fines," said Rohrer. "People are taking notice. Right now, we have about about five trash cans we've monitored. We're going to re-evaluate and probably add five more."

Rohrer told WMAR the education aspect is the key component.

"We're trying modify the improper use of these trash cans through education and it seems to be working," she said.

Back in Bolton Hill, Kim Hicks had decided to clear the overflow herself before trash services come.

"I hope neighbors just realize what they're doing is wrong," she said. "It impacts all of us and this overflow, it will just attract rats."

If you'd like more information on Midtown's trash and education services you can visit its website by clicking here.