Trash Overflows from St. Louis Dumpsters, and People Are Pissed

The city says it is dealing with a lack of drivers and trucks, among other issues

Jun 29, 2022 at 3:07 pm
click to enlarge Mattresses are piled up in this Princeton Heights alley. - BENJAMIN SIMON
Mattresses are piled up in this Princeton Heights alley.

St. Louis has a lot of trash and it stinks.

Dumpsters are overflowing. Broken furniture, trash bags, and mattresses are flooding alleys.

And residents are fuming about it.

“This is the worst I’ve seen the trash service ever in all the 31 years I’ve been involved with the City of St. Louis,” Sharon Tyus, alderwoman for Ward 1, said at an aldermanic board meeting earlier this month. “I’ll go out and drive a trash truck myself.”
The city's trash pick-up service is under-equipped and understaffed, the city claims.

On Friday, June 24, the mayor’s office sent a letter to aldermen with an update from the Refuse Division and Betherny Williams, director of the Department of Streets.

In order to effectively clear trash in the city, the note explained, the department needs 45 total trucks. But as of June 24, only 37 trucks were operational.

The lack of working trucks coincides with a lack of drivers. The letter said that the city is also short 10 drivers.
On top of the shortages, the letter claims that people have stolen metal hooks from hundreds of dumpsters. The trucks use the hooks used to pick up dumpsters.

The city resumed alleyway recycling pickup last month after a year-long hiatus. Some aldermen have questioned whether mounting trash piles suggest trucks had to be diverted from garbage to recycling. City officials have insisted that’s not the case.
Regardless, the city says it is trying to fix the trash pickup issue. It has implemented a $3,000 hiring bonus to incentivize new drivers, added a second shift of mechanics to fix trucks, ordered new trucks, purchased 1,600 new trash cans and altered the way dumpster hooks are attached.

KMOV also reported that the city will increase trash pick-up to seven days a week.
If the problem persists, the city will consider hiring a private contractor to target higher trash areas, according to FOX2. Williams told the TV station that she understands the urgency of the issue.

“We know it is a problem, just as much as this is a problem for the citizens, I’m a citizen, and it’s a problem across the city because of the amount of trash we are seeing,” Williams said. “Those pictures are sent to me every day, and I forward them and I share them. I’m driving around the alleys trying to figure out how can we better collect this.”