Trash set out early in East Campus poses problems

Wednesday, March 4, 2009 | 7:19 p.m. CST; updated 10:53 p.m. CST, Wednesday, March 4, 2009
Chad Crump of the Columbia Public Works Department collects trash on Wednesday on Rosemary Lane in East Campus. East Campus residents have complained that some of their neighbors are leaving trash on the curb days before Wednesday pick-up.

COLUMBIA — Take a stroll through East Campus on most Sunday mornings, and one of the first things you’ll notice is trash, bags of beer cans and other refuse tossed out at the curb for city garbage and recycling trucks to pick up.

That wouldn’t be a problem if this were a Wednesday, because that’s when the city comes through and collects the trash. But setting out the trash days ahead of time is a violation of city ordinances. The trash winds up sitting at the curb for days unless someone complains and the city collects it early.

Trash Time

Regular curbside collection of trash in East Campus begins at 7:30 a.m. every Wednesday, and residents are allowed to place garbage and recyclables at the curb after 4 p.m. the day before.

Those who want to report trash left out early can do so electronically at Or they can call 874-6291.

For an online map of the city's trash and recycling collection days, go to


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Trash left out days in advance is a problem East Campus residents have dealt with for years. Richard Weiman, manager of the city’s Solid Waste Utility, said that though the problem of trash being put out early isn’t confined entirely to student areas, East Campus is among the worst offenders.

The trash problem is most noticeable following weekends, a common time for parties, which can generate a lot of trash.

Tom O’Sullivan, a resident of East Campus since 1993, said he would like to see students waiting to set out their trash at the right time. The earliest that would be under city ordinance would be 4 p.m. Tuesdays. When trash is set out early, he said, it reflects poorly on the neighborhood and it attracts squirrels and other rodents.

The Solid Waste Division and the Columbia City Council are looking for ways to eliminate the problem. One option is to increase the fees the city charges for picking up trash early.

For each special pickup, those responsible are fined $25 for the first offense and then $45 if it happens again within a year. Although that might seem hefty for a deterrent, the hitch is that the special pickups happen only after a complaint.

Wieman said the extra charges don’t “appear to have any effect.”

Plus, the city is losing money on the special pickups because it costs more to do them than the extra fees recoup.

That’s why the city staff is recommending an ordinance boosting fees for first-time offenders to $50, then raising the cost to $100 for each subsequent infraction. The council discussed the matter briefly Monday night but came to no conclusion.

MU student Morgan Merrifield, an East Campus resident, said she and her roommates have been fined before for early trash pickup, but she thinks “raising the price wouldn’t help, because it's not like it’s intentional.”

On Monday, Second Ward Councilman Chris Janku asked whether it might be a better idea to simply move East Campus trash collections to Monday morning. Assuming most trash is left over from weekend parties, he said, that strategy might be more effective than higher fines.


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Charles Dudley Jr March 4, 2009 | 8:10 p.m.

>>> On Monday, Second Ward Councilman Chris Janku asked whether it might be a better idea to simply move East Campus trash collections to Monday morning. Assuming most trash is left over from weekend parties, he said, that strategy might be more effective than higher fines. <<<

A good voice of reason but then you have the other side of the coin in the mentality that permeates this entire city of "but that is the way we have always done it".

(Report Comment)
Clyde Bentley March 4, 2009 | 10:04 p.m.

The problem might also ease if we could get rid of those awkward plastic bags and use mini dumpsters like most cities do. I live in the "faculty" part of East Campus, but I sympathize with the student party hosts. What the heck are they supposed to do with all those cans and soggy chips from Saturday night to Wednesday? Leave them out for the dogs?

You can fill a little dumpster and keep it near the house until pickup day. And then the collectors get to use a truck instead of their backs to do the dirty work. Win-win.

(Report Comment)
Amber Hanneken March 4, 2009 | 10:13 p.m.

Yes, Dr. Bentley! I live in North East Columbia and our otherwise beautiful community neighborhood looks like trashcity come mid-week. Why can't we have our own trashcans and keep them on the curb? It would also keep animals and the wind from taking off with the trash.
Totally agree with you there and it's something I've spoken with my neighbors about often.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz March 4, 2009 | 10:15 p.m.

Wait, so my private trash hauler in the county is working better for me than the city-mandated trash service is for others? Insert snarky emoticon <here>.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand March 5, 2009 | 6:58 a.m.

So what's preventing EC residents from buying trash cans to store their garbage until pick-up day? Unless the city is going to retrofit all of its trucks to pick up cans -- as opposed to having a person empty them into a hopper -- why should the city pay for cans?

(Report Comment)
Tom O'Sullivan March 5, 2009 | 8:14 a.m.

Small, portable dumpsters are not the answer. I live in the student section of East Campus and if people aren't smart enough to figure out "Trash Pickup Day" having to deal with moving a small dumpster back and forth from the curb will be too intellectually challenging. You'd have dumpsters setting at the curb seven days a week with overflowing garbage. The answer is jacking up the fines. Start cutting into the beer-and-pizza money. The violators will get the message. I also don't think changing the "Pickup Day" to Monday will work either. The problem is there are people living on East Campus who just don't give a rat's fanny and will put their trash out as they please!

(Report Comment)
Adam Ligon March 6, 2009 | 5:25 p.m.

As a resident of East Campus I can honestly say I put my trash out early because my landlord expects us to keep it in our apartment...Yeah that would smell great.
So why don't the people who complain to the city also complain about why we can't put trash in trash cans by the curb? The cities answer would be 'it is too much trouble for the trashmen'. While I am all for helping out the hard workers of this city I can tell you there are trash trucks that are specially designed to pick up specialized containers with a robotic arm. I know these trucks and containers would be an expense but maybe this in an answer for this problem in this area of Columbia.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand March 6, 2009 | 8:37 p.m.

What exactly are you ECers throwing your trash that stinks so bad so quickly? Seriously. When I was a student, we kept our trash in the laundry room, and even with beer cans, fish bones, etc., it never stank. Just rinsing stuff out will help.

I don't see how the robotic arm is going to reach between parked cars to get at the trash cans. But I guess on-street parking could be prohibited on trash day.

(Report Comment)
Adam Ligon March 7, 2009 | 12:36 p.m.

Well you must have had magical trash then! Ha With no garbage disposal we have nothing else to do with our food scraps and we recycle so we rinse things out... It's trash... it stinks.

These cans could be placed in a few centralized locations (one site per 5 houses or so). City ordinances could prevent cars from parking in front of these sites for trash day.

(Report Comment)
Ayn Rand March 9, 2009 | 8:14 a.m.

Nothing magical about it. Right now, I've got a trash bag in my kitchen with shrimp tails and coffee grounds that are three days old, and none of it stinks. I've got another back in the utility room that's full of used cat litter. I hit that with a shot of Lysol every day, and that takes care of it. Let's not make mountains out of molehills.

Yeah, I can really see college students carting trash five doors down or remembering to move their cars away from the dumpster on a certain day. They can't even pick up the newspapers that they subscribe to! There must be a million copies of The Wall Street Journal, NY Times, Missourian, etc. ground into the driveways of EC apartments.

(Report Comment)
Jess Blumensheid March 11, 2009 | 12:18 p.m.

Kudos on reporting this story. I assume most residents/college students living in East Campus don't even understand the circumstance of setting trash out on the curb early. This should give them fair warning and advice.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr July 28, 2009 | 4:52 a.m.

This problem is not only East Campus it is all around campus in general.

For the 5 years I have lived on Paquin Street this has been the same issue year after year for this tiny connector street that motorists and dumpster divers use as their thoroughfare.

Below are pictures of this blight forced upon this street by the slum lords who rent to these college kids with out having proper and adequate trash removal receptacles in place. This is an ongoing problem on this street.

Isn't that such a lovely site to see almost daily and right across the street from a religious establishment too.

I feel sorry for the local trash men who have to deal with this blight every week of the year. These slum lords should be back charged triple for the mess like these they allow to happen in front of their rentals in this city.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking July 28, 2009 | 5:56 a.m.

It's usually not this bad at other times of the year. There are a lot of students moving right now, and that always means there is a lot of trash to be dealt with.

I've found some really useful things in some of those trash piles. There's always a silver lining of you look hard enough.


(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr July 28, 2009 | 8:58 a.m.

Mark Foecking it is obvious you do not live on my street do you?

No you don't and you do not have it spread all over the place because dumpster divers break open bags looking for things and in turn it gets scattered more by the small stray brown dog of the neighborhood looking for food that people have called animal control about numerous times to no measure of anything solid being done and blown about by the wind.

It might not be bad to you Mark because you do not have to live with it as those of us in our neighborhood do.

How about you move all of that trash to your neighborhood and see how you like it being blown and scattered everywhere.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr August 2, 2009 | 9:11 a.m.

Once again the owners of the rentals posted about above in my last post left a huge pile right by their dumpster again.

Where is our local health department in all of this trash being left out like this on curb sides in our city?

Isn't it some kind of a health hazard?

What do your tax dollars pay them to do?

Every citizen of this community should be asking themselves these last three questions.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz August 2, 2009 | 11:07 a.m.

Pretty sure it is complaint-driven Chuck, call in a report to their hotline if you are grumpy enough to do something other than vent here.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr August 2, 2009 | 1:45 p.m.

Oh dear John Schultz I and another resident are working on this issue to get this ongoing issue on our streets rectified as soon as we can.

I post up here to alert others to how complacent our City Government and the slum lords are in this issue.

It is called Freedom Of Speech and the Power Of The Press and isn't that a wonderful thing to enjoy John.

(Report Comment)
Mark Foecking August 2, 2009 | 3:15 p.m.

Chick wrote:

"Mark Foecking it is obvious you do not live on my street do you?"

No, but I ride through there several times a week on my way to work, or picking up cans/curbsiding. I know the exact places you've pictured.

"Isn't it some kind of a health hazard?"

No. Litter is hardly ever a health hazard.

If they consistently need a larger dumpster, then complain. I suspect it's only now, when students are moving, that they need a larger dumpster. Other times of the year they don't have this problem, right?

Relax, Chuck. This too shall pass...


(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr August 2, 2009 | 3:46 p.m.

You forget Mark I live on that street and I see it every morning going out walking my dogs and other times through out the day.

Mark Foecking it is a problem all year long even when school is fully in and yes trash left like those piles are and can be a health hazard especially if there is any chance at all those college kids are blowing dope or shooting dope and tossing away dirty needles or anything else involving needles. There is a host of other nasty types of trash those partying college kids dispose of too.

Just ask those trash men who pick up trash all over town how many of them have been stuck by the needle while on the job or how much picking up the added mess makes their day that much longer and unpleasant!

The trash can also be a hazard if it is blowing all over or becomes unbagged due to dumpster divers rummaging through bags to look for recyclables and that allows more flies to breed as well as roaches and all vermin to feed at night.

Stop being such a Bike Riding,Liberal Progressive,Tree Hugging,Green Friendly,Eco Promoting Dipstick for a change and get some real care and pride for your city instead of the complacent dope smoking burned out fanatical way of life you try to push off onto others.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz August 2, 2009 | 7:07 p.m.

Oh my God Chuck, you could write some incredible screenplays based on that last rant. Any facts to back up those claims?

What are you and this mysterious other resident doing to clean up the trash problem? It's very simple, call the health department when there is a problem and let them work the issue. Not much else you can do about it unless you want to let it eat you up inside.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr August 2, 2009 | 8:25 p.m.

John Schultz Chairman of the ugly sister sitting in the corner at the dance party it does no good to call because we have called to no avail. The slum lords have the City Government in their back pocket. It does do some good to post up here to let other citizens know that they are not the only ones out there concerned about this ongoing issue. Unlike the complacent such as you.

(Report Comment)
John Schultz August 2, 2009 | 10:48 p.m.

Well Chuckles, us rubes in the county with our private trash service have no troubles with people on my road putting their trash out too early or any of the other calamities you have whined about in this thread. I'm not complacent, I'm in rural heaven. Take it to the council and get them riled up if you think there are some back-room shenanigans going on, that will likely get more done than griping here.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr August 13, 2009 | 2:03 p.m.

Update here: A resident in Paquin Tower now has a new zoom type web cam that can see and record clearly everybody dumping trash from Paquin Tower looking East up Paquin Street clear to College Ave so now dumpster divers and the people piling trash on the streets can be caught on cam,stored on a hard drive,burned to DVD and sent to City Council as proof of the messes that get left.

City Council needs proof then it will be coming.

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield August 13, 2009 | 2:15 p.m.

Someone who can afford a zoom Web cam and the rest of that equipment, plus has the skills necessary to operate it, needs to be out working a job and living in a place that they, not taxpayers, pay for.

(Report Comment)
Charles Dudley Jr August 13, 2009 | 5:44 p.m.

Not if they have a Mental Disability that prevent them from getting reasonable accommodations in the work place.

This individual is paying for his housing and his own things from all of his back pay settlement he yes was "entitled to" being he worked and put in his money into the system.

Also have you ever heard of shopping on eBay for cheap deals?

It does not take much to hook up such a cam to your computer and use the direction keys on a keyboard to operate.

Got anymore bright info for us Einstein?

(Report Comment)
Jimmy Bearfield August 13, 2009 | 10:20 p.m.

If you can make $37 grand, why would you live in public housing? Why not leave that space for the truly needy?

(Report Comment)

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