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Subject: Dumpster vs. trash cart
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SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2667


06/03/2019 7:38 AM  
This morning, I received a flyer from our board of directors about our trash service. It appears we are in danger of losing our service (HOAs and condos have to sign separate contracts with the city's trash pickup vendors for service). This is happening because there's been an increase of illegal dumping, as well as the usual problem with residents who think they can dump any damned thing (last week someone actually tossed in a sofa!)

The flyer stated the board is currently talking to the current trash service to head this off, but warned if they drop us, we'll have to get another service, which of course will cost more money. Our security officers have received tips on two trucks that may be responsible for the illegal dumping and hopefully, the flyer will encourage people to call or send in cell phone photos of the culprits.

Since I haven't entirely gotten the board member mindset out of my head (after 5 years off the board!), I thought about long term solutions. One option might be to toss the dumpsters altogether and give everyone a rolling trash cart. Right now, my street is the only one with this, but all the townhomes have a small patio where a trash cart could go. Maybe if people used that, they'd be more thoughtful about what they're tossing.

I'm also planning to suggest to the board that we consider establishing an area next to the dumpsters (if we keep them) where we can place recycling bins. The strip mall across the street has one, but it gets filled pretty quickly - and yes, it's been in danger of being eliminated because people don't read the instructions as to what is and isn't acceptable (it's already been moved from two locations because of the mess).

In the meantime, opinions on replacing the dumpsters with rolling trash bins are welcome, as well as any other suggestions, such as encouraging people to recycle. For those of you with surveillance cameras monitoring your trash areas, your thoughts on how effective that has been would also be welcome!
TimB4
(Virginia)

Posts:16448


06/03/2019 8:24 AM  
If the patio is in the back of the house, don't expect town homes to keep the cart on the patio. It simply won't work for those who live between the two end units. You will hear all types of excuses, I know, I live in a town home community.

If the patio is in the front, bins can smell and attract bugs. You will get complaints.

Our solution was curb side service.
each owner is responsible for their own cans (if they use them).
Trash is set out on the curb the night before or morning of pickup and gone by the end of the day.

We also included bulk pickup in our contract. Many things are included with this but individual homeowners must call to have them picked up. If there is a charge, the homeowner/resident is charge - not the Association.



I have cameras at my second home.
I can see what is going on but can't really stop anything from happening.
It's good for after the fact. Multiple cameras and good lighting will be needed to make sure you can read the license plates of illegal dumping.
AugustinD


Posts:1905


06/03/2019 9:04 AM  
Shelia, I think rolling trash bins and surveillance cameras are worth trying, based on the following. First, for the archives, what percentage rentals is your community? As you may recall the issue your HOA is facing comes up here from time to time. People point out that the turnover of renters seems to be the main problem. My former condo faced the exact same issue, including the City's increasing its fee for picking up the trash, because dumpsters were overflowing and furniture was illegally appearing in the dumpsters too often. My former condo often had success with surveillance cameras nailing perps.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2667


06/03/2019 11:55 AM  
AugustinD, you know my community well (and you don’t even live here!) We do have a lot of rentals. My last year on the board it was close to 50% - it may have gone down a percent since then. As you’ve said, there are still plenty of renters and turnover- especially now because most people wait to move when school’s out and that was a week ago. Hence all the mattresses I’ve also seen in the past month.

You said your former condo was successful with the cameras – did they have one pointing at the entrance to the dumpster? I ask because part of my concern with placement is that some people turn their cars around so it’s difficult to see the license plate, so we may need to have two cameras in one area.

Tim, I like your suggestion about bulk pick up – the city’s heavy trash pickup for curbside service is the last week of the month, but people either don’t know or don’t remember (or don’t care). Except for my street, most of the community doesn’t have curbside service, so I don’t know how that works if someone living elsewhere wants a pickup – they can’t leave it at or around (or in) the dumpster and putting it on the sidewalk won’t work either – I’ll have to call the city and ask.

You also bring up a good point about putting the carts on the patio – a few patios around here are just as junky and I can’t imagine what the inside of the unit looks like. For my neighbors with the trash carts, they tend to pile them high with all sorts of stuff and I worry about vermin. Still, the curbside service may be something worth trying.
PatJ1
(North Carolina)

Posts:93


06/03/2019 12:04 PM  
Before investing in cameras for help, please check with your local police department and ask them if they will do anything with the footage. In our city the police department will only issue a ticket if they are caught in the act of illegal dumping. Having pictures of the people, vehicle and license plate did nothing.

We did have one of our elderly residents pull in front of one of them with her car and demand that they load their vehicle back up with everything they dumped. They did just that and we haven't seen them again.


Board members are volunteers. Many have no idea what they're doing. Educate them. Don't beat them up.
AugustinD


Posts:1905


06/03/2019 12:37 PM  
Shelia, my former condo was at 55% rental units when I sold. In any given week, there were typically large pieces of furniture in the dumpsters. Mattresses appeared several times a year. The City cracked down more than once in my few years living there and raised the frequency of pickups and so trash pickup fee because the dumpsters typically are overflowing. From the one camera I remember for the dumpsters, I can see how it would miss the license plate, like you describe. So it was not fail proof. I suspect not all dumpsters on the grounds had cameras.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2667


06/04/2019 7:02 AM  
Our courtesy officers are off duty cops, so I will ask them about the footage - thanks for the tip?

I love the chutzpah of your neighbor - although I don't think I'd block anyone in, I do remember heading to a board meeting at our clubhouse when saw a man pull up with a pickup truck full of junk next to the dumpster. I asked him (politely) "Sir, do you live here?"

"No."

"Well, you can't throw that stuff in here - these dumpsters are for residents only and half of that stuff is heavy trash the city won't pick up anyway."

Our board president happened to be on his way in at the time and stopped to look at this, and that may be why the guy got back in his truck and left!

Actually, I recall asking this on two other occasions. In one case, the lady was the niece of our now deceased former president who was helping to clean up the unit (our president was a nice lady, but turned out to be a hoarder - that's how I found out) and the other person was marching towards the dumpster with a huge roll of carpeting. He said, "my mom lives here and she said it was ok." "No, it's not and if she lives here, she should know what the rules are." Before they left (muttering under their breaths), I told them about the local trash dump where they could take it and I guess that's what they did.

I do try to be polite but cautious in these situations because these days you don't know who's strapped!
LetA
(Nevada)

Posts:772


06/05/2019 11:13 AM  
Melissa, does your condo have an on-site maintenance person? you could covert the dumpster coral into a "garage" Anyone wanting to use the dumpster needs to call maintenance during normal business hours, and issue everyone a ruling trash can for curbside pickup.
SheliaH
(Indiana)

Posts:2667


06/05/2019 12:55 PM  
It's Shelia, not Melissa! (usually, people confuse me with my twin sister, although we don't look alike at all!)

Anyway...we don't have an on-site maintenance person, but converting the dumpsters in this way is an idea. Considering how much extra the association has paid to other folks to haul off this crap, I could even see charging some sort of fee to load up the garage and then arrange to have it picked up the same day. Thanks for the tip!

For a split second, I thought to have an on-site person do periodic rounds around the community could help catch these people in the act, but I don't want anyone put in danger (too many people pulling out guns to shoot for silly reasons or because they flip all the way out). I suppose the person could photograph them in secret, but that might not work either.
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