Chattanooga trash can shortage has homeowners leaving bagged garbage on curbs

Chattanooga trash can shortage has homeowners leaving bagged garbage on curbs

July 6th, 2014 by Kendi A. Rainwater in Local Regional News

Garbage truck driver and operator Ben Cox picks up a trash can and empties it into his truck's holding bin as he works his way through a sub division near Standifer Gap Road.

Photo by Staff File Photo /Times Free Press.

Dozens of Chattanooga residents are waiting to get one of the big green trash cans Chattanooga uses for its weekly garbage pickup.

For now, they'll just have to wait, said Public Works Administrator Lee Norris.

The city has run out of the 96-gallon containers and the contract with the former supplier has expired, Norris said.

The city's using a low-tech solution: Homeowners are being told to put their bagged trash out on the curb where the plastic bin normally would sit on collection days.

Once a new contract is decided upon and passed by the city council new containers can be ordered, but until then the only answer for residents is to wait, Norris said.

"It takes about 15 days from the time of the order until we receive cans," said Norris.

The new cans will be delivered as soon as they become available.

Currently, when a constituent calls 311 for a new garbage can they are told to place their garbage on the curb on their designated day of collection. A rear-load trash truck will then come around and collect their bagged trash.

In the past two weeks, 65 constituents have called to ask for a trash container and have been told to wait, according to Norris.

"This is not emergency or the end of the world," Norris said. "We deal with this type of stuff all of the time."

"Six to nine months ago we ran into the same situation," said Chip Henderson, City Council chairman.

Henderson cited regular wear and tear on containers and an increase in new residential developments as causes for the increasing demand for containers in Chattanooga.

"We do need to stay on top of this and get trash cans in a more timely manner," Henderson said.

Henderson reported that only one constituent has called him to personally complain, and that this is not a problem that is frequently reported.

Meanwhile, the city is getting ready to distribute free, 96-gallon bins to 16,000 or so customers who are signed up for its weekly curbside recycling program.

Contact staff writer Kendi Anderson at or at 423-757-6592.