Can It Be?

garbagecans.jpgI was prancing around the street in front of our house like Navin Johnson this morning. “The new garbage cans are here! The new garbage cans are here!”

The Department of Public Works and the Bureau of Sanitation are currently working their way through the city, replacing old black garbage cans and green yard waste cans. We got the notice about three weeks ago that they’d be replacing them soon, and we’ve been faithfully putting out all of our cans in hopes that they’ll be replaced with clean and smooth new ones.

They had a great system going, first they’d empty the existing cans and then match them up with the houses and their database of what was assigned to each house. If someone didn’t have their cans out out that street, they actually went into driveways to fetch them or asked neighbors who were hanging around for clarifications on their lists. Once they matched up the cans with the homes, they swapped the old for new. They even marked them with a little yellow grease pencil with the street number so that folks who weren’t there for the glorious occasion would be able to claim their own.

holycan.jpgOne of the reasons I’ve been so excited about this was that we’ve had a huge hole in our primary can for about eight months. I’ve been meaning to call about it (and they do replace them quite quickly, usually within two weeks of calling) but since it was still useable and it actually let the rain drain out of it easier than before, I’d been a little lax.

But it seems that this particular can is a special order, and not even in the database as ours. So, it looks like I’ll give a call sometime in the next few weeks to have our little one replaced. It prefer it to the big can because we rarely put more than two bags of trash out per week (we put out almost double that in recyclables) and this can fits so nicely under the stairs.

I’ll admit that the team leader for our street’s changeover was a little befuddled by my enthusiastic welcome to him (and I couldn’t understand why people would complain about them proactively replacing old trash cans), but seemed pleased at how well our street did at putting out our cans.

One last tip though. As fascinating as the changeover is, if you live on a narrow street, when they come, be prepared to be stuck for about a half an hour as it’s a five truck caravan. I not only got trapped in my driveway as they did my street, but there was another team on an intersecting street and they rerouted traffic for that.

7 Replies to “Can It Be?”

  1. I saw that can caravan at a standstill on Silver Lake Boulevard last week. Quite a sight, but not as much a sight as the mere thought of Cybele actually Navin prancing.

  2. We in Los Feliz got ours a fair while back (with the ubiquitous yellow grease pencil.) They came with a neat little lable thingie so you can permantently put your street address on them. If they “wander” to your neighbor’s yard, you can simply check the street the following week and all can be restored. It seemed almost a shame to make them grubby, but that’s what they do…

  3. What is this shit? We don’t need new cans! Cybele admits that though hers was cracked, it still worked. Is a systemwide replacement of garbage cans less expensive than simply allowing people to request new cans when theirs are damaged, too dirty, etc?! This is a travesty!

    On KCRW yesterday, Police Chief Bratton mentioned the LAPD needs to replace all their walkie-talkies because they’re no longer under warranty. I use my stuff long after warranties expire, can’t they replace radios on an as needed basis instead of all at once. The expense is incredible and some or most of those walkie-talkies still work!

    I’m not arguing that we should have old, shitty cans or that police should use walkies that fail, but mass replacement isn’t a prudent substitute for good management.

    LA has bad spending priorities.

  4. That’s an interesting point mhals – that’s just what the sanitation guy said, that we couldn’t keep our old standard cans because they weren’t covered under warranty any longer. I have no idea what the length of a warranty for a garbage can is. I think my green can was perfectly servicable – my old one was stolen about 6 years ago and this new one still looked pretty damn pristine. Do you think someone ran the numbers and found this to be the most cost effecient manner. I really don’t know how the decisions are made.

    I understand though, that the garbage trucks need to have functioning cans in order for the automated grab arms to work. Perhaps they’ve run the numbers to find that the lost/overtime personnel hours wrestling those cans that can’t stand straight because they’ve lost a wheel are far greater than the cost of replacing the cans.

  5. Jim, I think the cans are better designed than the original ones (ones that haven’t been replaced in the past 5 years or so – you can see them in the top photo to the left of the new cans). They seem to be more stable, made of stronger plastic and not as top heavy (the new lids aren’t domed and the handle doesn’t project quite as far).

    We had one can of the old design and one of the narrow “apartment” cans. They replaced the old one which was very wide at the top and tended to tip over if you filled it completely (granted, I have a steep driveway so tipping was an issue for me). I don’t think the new ones are as tippy, though they seem to hold the same volume.

    As I was driving to work yesterday, I watched as one of my neighbors on the next street over was struggling with one of those old ones, that had in fact been tipped over by a car trying to pass. It had no wheels and the poor guy had a hard time righting it and dragging it into place (since he was on a hill to boot). But at any time any person paying their sanitation fees can call and request a new can to be swapped for their old, damaged one.

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