Because You Asked: Trash Cans

A B.LA reader asked:

Can you please do something on what the laws are about leaving trash cans in the street 24/7? People do this in my neighborhood trying to block off spots and then leave angry notes on your car if you move them or park there. Isn’t this illegal? I can’t find anything about this online. I’d greatly appreciate your investigative report. Thanks.

So I did a little digging and found this page which confirms what I thought:

The Bureau of Sanitation services four automated containers: black (for household refuse), blue (for recyclables), green (for yard trimmings) and brown (for horse manure) containers. Containers must be placed at the curb by 6:00a.m. on the day of collection, and removed no later than 8:00p.m. on the day of collection. On collection day, all containers should be placed with the handles facing the house, with at least 3 feet separating the bins and any other object at the curb. If you have any questions concerning your City issued containers or would like to inquire about other Bureau of Sanitation services, please call us at 1-800-773-2489.

Basically trash cans (of any sort) should only be present on the street on the day of trash pick up. The website offers no quote of what section of the municipal code covers these rules or the remedy for folks that are abusing both the parking-free-for-all we’re guaranteed under the constitution (pursuit of liberty?). But my guess is that a call to that number would probably result in a referral to the local police. My suggestion is to call the local precinct and request the Senior Lead Officer (SLO) and ask for their advice. Some precincts have something called a Problem Solving Unit (many thanks to the LACity Nerd for directing me there last year) to see if they can intervene.

I’d love it if you follow up and let us know what they can do (and who does it).

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6 Replies to “Because You Asked: Trash Cans”

  1. It used to be we had no place but the curb to leave our cans. But after I razed and cleared the ambush den the local coyote pair had gotten comfortable in late in 2004 the new unovergrown space provided a perfect off-street place to keep the containers. Of course now I have to thump them full down the 17 front stairs Tuesday night and then haul the empties back up on Wednesdays, but I do my part gladly not only because it makes the front of the house look nicer, but the block too. I wish all my neighbors did it.

  2. Good job on the research Cybele! The one thing I would add (or I guess subtract in this case) is that I would not bother the SLOs or any police with this. A call to 3-1-1 and explaining the situation should lead you to Street Use Inspectors (I think) who can write citations.

    But as the game goes, how many Street Use Inspectors are out there in this large city? Not many. Keep on it! I think it’s annoying when people leave their bins out there just to preserve parking.

    On a side note about the police, we had an incident up here in the Valley where someone moved the bins so they could park. Then the owner of the house shot and killed the person. Not cool.

  3. Zach – you’re right, I definitely advise calling the Sanitation department first. Then of course your advice about 3-1-1 is spot on (I always forget about them). The other stuff about the Police is for the passive/agressive behavior with the notes on the windshields. I’m not sure that should be dealt with directly, and even if they were cited for not moving their cans that the territorialness would abate.

    I called the SLO about my ongoing noise issues with a neighbor (early on a Saturday morning), so I can say that at least in my division they were patient enough to take the time to talk to me about the issue. However, that’s Northeast division … I’m not sure what other divisions are like.

  4. Shooting somebody over parking? Not cool indeed! Sounds like a death penalty case to me… we have enough people in the world without idiots like that.

    I don’t support the death penalty BTW – but that is the sort of thing that makes me wonder.

  5. Check with your local PD, Sanitation and even building dept (to see if they have a Neighborhood preservation task force). Most cities require the cans to be off the street same day trash is picked up and no more than 24 hours before scheduled pick up.

    As far as the passive agressive weinies leaving notes. They are just that. Wad it up and toss it in their yard. Litter is a nice TS.

    Or if you have a testosterone issue knock on their door and tell them FO is public parking and this isn’t kindergarten where you can do a holdsy.

    Urban Guerilla warfare is never pretty.

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