NewsTeam 10 Investigates


Questions about San Diego trash bin replacements

Trash video
Posted at 9:37 PM, Sep 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-09-22 00:37:12-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — After a San Diego resident said a city trash truck destroyed his trash container, he turned to Team 10 to get answers about who is responsible for paying for a replacement.

DJ Showtime, as he is known on stage, said his trash can has seen better days. There is a hole in the rear of the bin that is now covered with cardboard and tape.

“It was pretty clear it was damaged as it was being picked up,” he said.

He said he called the phone number a city employee left on his trash bin, but he did not get a callback. He sent an email and received a response apologizing for the inconvenience. The email also said the video had been forwarded to “the area Collection Services Supervisor for further review.”

The email confirmed homeowners are responsible for replacements—and that his trash can was issued in 1998— but when he asked follow-up questions, he said he got nothing.

“At the very least, somebody talk to me,” he said.

A city spokesperson told Team 10 that “the container failed and got stuck on the gripper and the driver is shown trying to dislodge the container from the gripper.”

Despite that, the city spokesperson said it is the homeowner responsible for replacement.

“The container broke during the collection process because it is more than 24 years old,” wrote spokesperson Alma Rife. “These containers have a useful service life of approximately 10 years.”

She gave Team 10 links to Get it Done and resources on approved containers that residents can purchase.

A grand jury report from 2017 showed increasing complaints over city trucks damaging bins. In fiscal year 2016, there were more than 6,700 complaints.

Team 10 requested complaints from this past fiscal year, but the city did not provide that data.

The grand jury recommended the municipal code establish procedures where severely damaged bins beyond normal service life “as well as any… destroyed or damaged by collection vehicles” get replaced and delivered at no charge.

The city’s response at the time was not to implement the recommendation because of “limited financial capacity.”

DJ Showtime’s trash is still being picked up every week, but since Team 10’s inquiry, he said there are now additional notes on his bin telling him to replace it.

What bothers him besides the money is the lack of direct communication. “No one responded [and] kind of just left me hanging,” he said.

Many San Diegans currently receive free trash services. The issue of whether that continues is expected on the November ballot.