Garbage collectors accused of breaking trash bins

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SAN DIEGO -- Residents in one San Diego neighborhood are accusing trash pick up workers of breaking their trashcans and leaving them with a costly bill to replace it.

“They just left it on the street,” said Judith Lane, who was shocked on trash day when she walked out of her home on Gibson Street and saw her obliterated trash bin. Lane wasn’t the only victim.

Two of her neighbor’s trashcans were also broken during trash pick up day.

“[The garbage truck] squeezed it really hard and it just broke it,” said Serenity Medina who lives next door to Lane.

City of San Diego environmental services spokesman Jose Ysea said there's a reason for the rise in complaints.

“We’re starting to see a lot more of these calls about the trash cans breaking,” said Ysea. “With normal wear and tear these cans should last 10 years.”

According to Ysea, most of the city owned trashcans were given out to residents in 1994 and are well past their life expectancy. A cost saving measure in 2008 put the cost of replacing the trash bins on the taxpayer, said Ysea.

Some residents argue if the city broke it, they should fix it.

“I didn’t break it, why should I pay for it?” said Lane.

At $95 a bin, Medina and her family said they had no option but to replace her family’s only trashcan.

FOX 5 discovered some residents can qualify for a refund if their trashcans are broken, as long as the bin is 10 years or newer.

To submit a claim about a broken trash can, residents can call the city at 858-694-7000.

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  • Paul

    This is crazy. The users that are hardest on the trashcans are the workers (or the trucks). Our trashcans are beat up, but not from us. All we do is throw trash in them. It is not like we are putting them on the roof and having races down the slope. I have seen on several occasions what a violent process it is when the trucks grab those cans with their claws and tip them over pounding them against the truck. The worst part is if your can is beat up and not considered usable (by no definition), your trash will not be picked up.

    • davepretty

      Homeowners pay for trash removal. If you live in a condo, odds are it’s part of an HOA. If you live in an apartment complex, odds are it’s factored into your rent. Either way, it’s coming out of your pocket.

  • Gary

    FOX NEWS: Are you sure of your sources? The article and the morning news said free replacement if the can is less than 10 years old. That is contrary to what is on the Environmental Services website: “Refuse containers damaged in the regular collection process will be charged prorated replacement costs. Containers in use for more than 10 years will be replaced for $70 plus delivery, if applicable. Containers within the 10 year lifespan will cost a prorated fee based on $7 per year, plus delivery charge, if applicable. Call Customer Service at 858-694-7000 for exact amount.”

  • Fred

    Maybe If citizens of San Diego began paying for their trash service they could have a beef against the city, otherwise you have no complaint. Those of us who live outside the city pay for our trash service. Because we pay for our trash service we can request a replacement can if the truck caused damage at no cost (I’ve personally done that twice and never been charged).

    • Hackman

      We pay for it in our property taxes. It is no difference whether you pay for it on a seperate bill or indirectly.

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