ST. LOUIS – As St. Louis struggles to keep up with overflowing trash dumpsters, another issue has surfaced in the city’s garbage crisis: dumpsters that are so old and rusty, they are falling apart.
One dumpster in an alley off Potomac Street in south St. Louis does not have a bottom. It doesn’t hold garbage, and people keep dumping trash in it. Residents said they first reported the issue in January, but it has not been replaced.
When a city garbage truck came to empty the dumpster on Monday, the garbage just rolled out of the bottom. When the truck actually dumped the dumpster, there was nothing in it to empty. Residents said the same process had been going on every week for eight to 10 months.
Kevin Schneider, a resident, posted a photo of the dumpster on its side on social media Sunday as a plea for help.
“There’s trash, and some of it hazardous trash,” Schneider said of the trash left on the ground. “It’s stuff that can make you sick, and it’s just in the middle of the street.”
A resident posted orange stickers on the dumpster with the date it was reported for a replacement to the Citizen’s Service Bureau. It happened a long time ago, and the sticker has now faded to white.
“It’s an issue that should be fixed because obviously, we don’t want our place looking trashy, having the trash smell, and not having a place to throw our trash in,” said A.C. Robinson.
The City of St. Louis has replaced around 400 dumpsters since July, about 23 dumpsters daily, according to a city spokesperson. About 1,600 total will be replaced at an estimated cost of $2.1 million.
Alderwoman Megan Green of the 15th Ward is pushing for a transition to universal dumpsters and roll-cart trash cans. Currently, city dumpsters and trucks use a hook and lift system that can be used with no other trucks or dumpsters, adding to replacement costs and delays.
Green said she would make it a priority to replace the Potomac Street dumpster.