Archive for Monday, August 5, 2013

Lawrence residents say new garbage cans are stinking up the city

August 5, 2013


Lawrence resident Bitsey Patton washes out her city trash container which she says is retaining odors and creating smells in her garage where she stores them. Her old cans never caused that problem, she says.

Lawrence resident Bitsey Patton washes out her city trash container which she says is retaining odors and creating smells in her garage where she stores them. Her old cans never caused that problem, she says.

Does your trash stink? Well, of course it does. But, um, does it seem worse than you remember?

“When I sit on my patio outside of my back door, the odor comes out of my garage where the trash can is and I can smell it where I’m sitting,” Lawrence resident Bitsey Patton said. “I remember thinking, ‘This has never happened before.’”

The difference between now and before: Could it be the city's new trash cans?

The City Commission approved the purchase of standardized trash carts for the city last August and a 65-gallon cart was provided to all single-family residences last fall. Craig Pruett, the operations supervisor for the City of Lawrence Solid Waste Division, said the city followed the recommendation of the city’s Solid Waste Task Force, which said the standardized carts would improve workers’ safety and allow the city to use automated trash trucks.

That's the theory. But Patton said she knows that while the heat from the summer makes garbage smell worse, it's not that. The lingering oder of trash seems to have something to do with the new carts — and the smell coming from the cart continues even after the cart is cleaned out.

Nalini Johnson, another Lawrence resident, says her can was retaining odors, too. She received a brand-new extra trash cart about two months ago, and after having it for only one night, she opened the cart and it smelled awful. She was confused how it could smell this way when it was brand new, but after leaving it open rather than letting it stay sealed so tightly, it doesn’t stink.

“It’s worse when we leave it shut,” Johnson said.

Pruett said the new containers do seal very well, and that could be the reason some residents are having an issue with their carts retaining odors. However, he said, the city has yet to receive any complaints on the issue.

“If you’re having an issue with your cart, we’d like to know your address to check it out,” Pruett said. “Call the solid waste division dispatch … we’d be more than happy to look into the issue and see what kind of resolution we can find and take care of it for them.”

To reduce any odor issues, Pruett advises bagging trash before putting it in the can to make sure everything is contained, buying good trash bags that don’t easily tear and making sure everything is sealed inside the bag, so trash crews can get all of the trash out of the can.

Patton, for her part, is trying to keep her trash can cleaner. She says that when she first noticed the smell, she hosed down the cart and let it dry out in the sun. When that didn’t work, she tried Mr. Clean detergent, again and again, followed by more sun-drying — but it still smelled terrible. Since then, she’s used a special deodorizing product that she has for her dogs — and she says she isn’t done trying.

“I’ve lived here 30 years and I’ve never had this problem," she said. "Now that I have these new cans, all of a sudden there’s an issue."

To contact the Solid Waste Division, call 832-3032 or go to their website,


David Holroyd 3 years ago

They need drainage holes in the bottom. It's a no brainier.

arch007bak 3 years ago

Did the previous city-issued carts have drainage holes? I don't think the one I had did but maybe i never noticed. Either way, in the realm of life's concerns, is this such an issue or is it just a slow news day?

elliottaw 3 years ago

Just take a drill and put a few small holes in them

Phoghorn 3 years ago

Nothing worse than a water-retaining trash can.

Matt Schwartz 3 years ago

Not true. How are all the kegs on campus going to stay cold?

parrothead8 3 years ago

If anything leaks from one of my trash bags, I'd rather it stayed inside the can than leak through some drainage holes and wind up on my garage floor.

Dan Blomgren 3 years ago

So it can drain into my garage where it sits everyday all day?

make_a_difference 3 years ago

On a bit of a different note...I happened to notice that some days my trash is picked up by collector opening the can, reaching inside & taking out trash bag(s), which are then put into truck. (sometimes small loose trash being left inside of the can) The can isn't used at all to deposit trash into the truck. I've also noticed this is faster than engaging the can with the truck, so assume this is the reason. Now I am one of the people who didn't use a can before. I carried the bag(s) to curb to be picked up, so now must make the trip to retrieve said can & return to the front of the house. (I work odd hours so sometimes the can has to sit on curb a while)

If the can isn't used for trash pickup, why can't I put my one small bag on the curb to be picked up by hand? Since that's what they are doing anyway.

Crystal Patterson 3 years ago

"Pruett advises bagging trash before putting it in the can" I thought we had to put the trash in a trash bag or we would get nasty-grams and then fines.

Joe Berns 3 years ago

Really? I hadn't heard this. I regularly flick the kitty litter directly into the can and dump the vaccum cleaner contents into the can directly and sweep out the garage and dump it directly into the can, etc. I don't recall a notice saying we had to use bags. I just wash the can out every month or so and it sits in front of the garage anyway so not really an issue.

alexis_johnson 3 years ago

I have had the same issue with my new can. The odor is horrendous and I bag all of my trash. I have washed out the interior, used Simple Green, soap, no avail. I will call Mr. Pruitt today to see if they will switch me out containers.

Sue McDaniel 3 years ago

Another GREAT idea that falls flat. The city will NEVER admit this, I think that people were smart enough to get their trash to the curb and NOT smell but the city knows best!!!! Not!!!!!

Reader 3 years ago

This Whole Thing "Stank" From The Beginning!

jafs 3 years ago

I haven't noticed any odor.

We leave our can in the garage with the lid open during the week, and only close it when we bring it to the curb. And, of course, we put our trash into bags inside the can. Also, sometimes I'll leave it outside with the lid off just to air out.

crafty 3 years ago

I do the same...I think they definintely need time to air out.

DoUntoOthers 3 years ago

I've bagged every bit of mine in those great yellow trash bags and mine still stinks. The City needs to take responsibility.

average 3 years ago

Jeesh people. They're the exact same poly carts used for trash collection in, oh, roughly 95% of the country. Like, literally, everywhere else. Stop acting like this is some wild evil socialist experiment or something.

Hooligan_016 3 years ago

Agreed. I grew up in Wichita and remember always having a trash bin like Lawrence just upgraded to. Never had as many problems as everyone is having now.

Frederic Gutknecht IV 3 years ago

These zombie carts are proliferating at an incredible rate and must be stopped! The only way to kill the stinking things is to shoot them multiple times at the base of their hull. Good luck out there.

btsflk 3 years ago

Try sprinkling a layer of baking soda in the bottom, with a layer of newspaper over that. If you wash it out use a cup of white vinegar with a little dish detergent, more baking soda if you want. Have found this helps.

Clickker 3 years ago

Just get a drill with a 1/2" bit, drill 4 holes in the bottom...problem solved.

kernal 3 years ago

When the day time temps are over 70 degrees, the sun beats down and creates an oven in your trash can; of course it's going to stink! Especially if you don't rinse your cans and beer bottles (those unrinsed beer bottles will attract cockroaches, for those of you who leave beer sitting in the bottles overnight).

Just rinse out the cans and bottles and put the meat, poultry and fish wrappings and bones in a plastic bag in your freezer until the night before you put your trash out. That will eliminate the growing odor in your hot garage.

We'll need to rinse out food containers when we begin curbside recycling so may as well get used to it now.

bad_dog 3 years ago

Rinse out your beer bottles? C'mon; show a little mercy. The bar at the Roach Motel closes @ 10:30. Cockroaches got to get their drink on somewhere.

Steve Stucky 3 years ago

Trust me. It's not the garbage cans.

Matthew Herbert 3 years ago

What a bunch of whiners! You are all upset because YOUR trash smells bad? "the city needs to take responsibility"....oh give me a break! Three steps you can do in 2 minutes or less to resolve this problem: 1) bag your trash 2) drill a few small drainage holes in the bottom of the can. 3) Store your can in an open air area such as anywhere outside Problem solved.

Complaining that the city made your trash smell is like complaining that the city sewer system makes my bathroom smell after I take a dump.

Mike Hoffmann 3 years ago

Exactly. Can't believe people are complaining that trash cans smell. Some people have reached a new level of whininess.

Janella Williams 3 years ago

YOU seem to have so little to do and-or worry about in your life than to comment on an article about something you find worthless to report about. Look at you Whining about the Whiners! Get off you high horse.

lwmang 3 years ago

Who would seriously want a leaky trash can? On their drive way? Garage?

Aiko 3 years ago

"it's the cans! He hates the cans!"

kernal 3 years ago

Careful there, wilbur. Some people consider garbage and trash to be the same thing. If you're dumping your garbage in the can without bags, you're probably attracking vermin and pests. Must really stink!

Alpenglow 3 years ago

Yes, leave them outside someplace but pleeeeeeeeease, also OUT OF VIEW from all your neighbors!!!! Tacky, tacky, tacky and a huge killer of neighborhood curb appeal. Also, a few squirts of Febreze around the lid area once a week totally zaps any foul odors.

Aiko 3 years ago

is the side of the house acceptable?

Matt Schwartz 3 years ago

Sorry, I thought I was responding to Alpenglow.....and I was curious.

matahari 3 years ago

I noticed a stink early on, everything used to go into a bag first but I figured since it stinks anyway, a few things are being just dropped in there and not bothering with a bag for everything. You won't catch me washing out my can umpteen times a week tho, that's for sure!

deec 3 years ago

This so reminds me of the Phil Hartman SNL skits with Gene, the Anal Retentive chef.

jafs 3 years ago

I wouldn't drill any holes in the carts without checking with the city.

50YearResident 3 years ago

I live in a rural area with trash service. I haven't washed my can in 15 years and it still doesn't stink. It is provided by a different service than in town. The stink must be the can itself and the material it is made from. There are no holes in the bottom of the can either.

Scott Morgan 3 years ago

I live rural too, and no stink. Although my trashcan is 300 yards from my home.

jack22 3 years ago

No matter how much the garbage stinks it still smells better than the deal the city got for the new recreation center.

kansasfan21 3 years ago

Is this really worthy of an entire article? Does someone have so little to do or worry about, that they call the Journal-World because their trash can stinks?? This about the most ridiculous thing, although it helps put a smile on my face to curb the Monday dull-drums. I would like to be able to sit on my patio, and the worst possible problem I can think of is: "Boy, I think I'll call the city, and the newspaper, that trash smells worse than normal." Can I have her life please?

Janella Williams 3 years ago

YOU seem to have so little to do and-or worry about in your life than to comment on an article about something you find worthless to report about. Get off you high horse.

Phoghorn 3 years ago

The answer to today's google question is "antidisestablishmentarianism" btw.

deec 3 years ago

Compost your food waste. Rinse out cans and bottles. Throw a little baking soda in the trash bags. Double bag cat liter and used ladies hygiene items. Recycle paper, metal, plastic and glass items. You'll generate very little waste and vastly decrease odor.

Andrea Hoag 3 years ago

Seriously, it's not the end of the world either way. Squeeze a bit of soap in there, pour a bottle of cheap white vinegar in there from the dollar store, let it sit and dump it out. How bad could it be?

Folks who are really upset about this one - I've got some laundry for you to fold. Head on over, I'll put you to work.

bearded_gnome 3 years ago

"cans? ... we don't need no stinkin' cans!"

... from the movie.

bearded_gnome 3 years ago

“I’ve lived here 30 years and I’ve never had this problem," she said. "Now that I have these new cans, all of a sudden there’s an issue."

---just wait 'till city mandated recycling comes in, two stinking cans. and remember, if you make holes in them, you're defacing city property probably punishable by two years in Leavenworth or else you get remanded to a greeniewheenie reeducation camp.

the busybodies have no problem taxing your time, energy, ec., beyond the dollars.

Richard Ballard 3 years ago

Stink?? They stink less then the open can I kept in the garage before.

I like them.

No flies for one thing!

And they only stink when you open the lid to put stuff in. Close the lid and they don't stink!! Simple as that.

Drill holes?? Yea! That's the ticket! The garbage juice has gotta drain out on my garage floor or I certainly will not be happy.

What are the cockroaches & mice in the neighborhood gonna be attracted to in my house otherwise?

Did I mention I really like the new cans much better then the open can it replaced!!


David Dunlap 3 years ago

...and in other breaking news: The rain this year is wet.

lwmang 3 years ago

Drill Holes? No. Kidding? Why would you want all that nasty stuff all over your property and in your garage. Leave the trash juice in the street please.

bearded_gnome 3 years ago

^^deec 4 hours, 47 minutes ago

Compost your food waste. Rinse out cans and bottles. Throw a little baking soda in the trash bags. Double bag cat liter and used ladies hygiene items. Recycle paper, metal, plastic and glass items. You'll generate very little waste and vastly decrease odor.

---and thus they tax your time, attention, and effort, along with the dollars. americans oviously have nothing better to do than to handle and rehandle their garbage!

deec 3 years ago

Yeah, 'cause the extra 2 minutes a day it takes to rinse and place recyclables in containers is soooo stressful.. Do it during the commercial break while watching tv. You'll even get a touch of exercise.

gccs14r 3 years ago

The only thing I noticed is how much more room it takes up than my old can did. I'm not in the habit of generating smelly trash, though.

jafs 3 years ago

We got the smallest container, because we recycle a lot, and it's smaller than our other can (well, at least width and depth wise, it's a bit taller).

If you recycle (which I imagine you do), I'm sure you could use the smallest as well - it costs a little less.

gccs14r 3 years ago

I applied for it, but they didn't give me one. Most weeks I have a partially-filled 8 gallon bag and that's it.

jafs 3 years ago

That's weird.

Why not, if you have very little trash?

Melissa Isaacs 3 years ago

I think this is what might be described as a "1st world problem."

littlebit1313 3 years ago

we started using the trash cart when they started with them, years ago. We also got one of the newer ones a couple of months ago. We have never had a problem with either of them and even if we did it is trash people what do you expect?

smokey 3 years ago

Use Your Neighbors Can, problem solved

budwhysir 3 years ago

All this complaining and no one has stopped to realize that the city expects you to generate your trash for collection on the day before collection and only the day before collection.

avarom 3 years ago

Just place a few of those perfume smelling dry sheets into your garbage can, the ants, fleas and roaches hate them. This diatribe sounds like a Big Canspiracy to me.....we do all the recycling and get a bill for it to boot! Not to mention, the garbage company is making money on reselling to other companies..... Something defintely smells rotten and it's not my garbage.....

ontheright 3 years ago

Next up: We'll be ticketed for stinky trash cans!

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