Stashin’ the trash

Midtown trash bins hard to find

On a busy commercial section of J Street, one can find discarded cigarettes, candy wrappers, napkins, parking passes and a broken bottle of Smirnoff. This stretch of J Street, from 16th to 29th streets, exhibits roughly eight public trash bins, with none on the odd-numbered side of the street.

The number of places to stash trash in more residential parts of Midtown is even slimmer, with long blocks empty of bins but home to litter in the bushes and curbside.

To keep a lid on the trash, the Midtown Business Association and a group of volunteers have stepped forward.

The MBA, a neighborhood advocacy organization, has organized a program to help businesses and residents secure trash bins from the city of Sacramento. The group Clean and Green Sacramento Midtown, organized through the website Meetup, also gathers to collect trash in Midtown.

“Multiple municipal services have fallen apart,” said Aja Uranga-Foster, operations manager for the MBA. “So we have had this [program] up and running for a couple of years.”

Since there are no city policies on public trash containers other than requiring that businesses have a Dumpster, individuals have to request a bin for their property, and have the consent of neighbors. To help make this possible, the MBA serves as a sort of middle man, arranging logistics and forwarding requests to the city. The organization has arranged for a contractor to pick up trash in Midtown six times a month.

The Clean and Green group meets to collect trash throughout Midtown—particularly after the popular Second Saturday arts events. In an online post, the group says it aims to “identify the sources of trash, so they can find long-term solutions for the problem.” According to Julie Kay, founder of Clean and Green, such solutions could include a neighborhood-specific trash-bin program.

“Trash is rampant, and because of the [design of their] trucks, the city only picks up on one side of the street,” she said. “We need strategically placed bins, especially on long blocks and in residential areas, and on both sides of the street, otherwise trash often ends up in the gutter.”

For now, the Midtown trash-collection system is a work in progress.

“Many businesses do no want trash containers [out front] because they are worried about the homeless digging through the trash or the risk of vandalism,” Uranga-Foster told SN&R.

She also said MBA’s trash pickup service is still figuring out the best equipment to use for picking up garbage from streets and sidewalks.

But even a little less litter makes a difference, said Uranga-Foster. “It’s all part of the effort to make Midtown a more attractive place.”