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John Nephew

Maplewood City Council Policy & Politics


Trash System Exemptions

For almost everyone in Maplewood, the pricing in new organized collection system will mean savings large or small. The largest (95-gallon) bin is $13.39 per month (including all taxes and fees), and a household could get service for as little as 6.83 per month (again including all taxes and fees) for the 20 gallon every-other-week service option.  But there is a group of exceptions, however: people who were getting by without any trash service under the open hauling scheme.

While some such folks may have been doing things like illegal dumping, as I spoke with people I encountered numerous examples of perfectly reasonable things, even things that should be encouraged. In some cases a business owner might bring trash to their office commercial dumpster; in other cases, an elderly resident told me they produced very little trash and either shared a bin with a next-door neighbor or used the trash bin of an adult child who lived nearby; or someone with very low volume might periodically bring trash to a pay-dump location for disposal.

My view has been that we should allow exemptions for these folks under an organized collection scheme, and the plan we approved last year left the door open. State law requires cities to mandate trash collection service, but allows exemptions for environmentally responsible alternatives. The details were left to be implemented by ordinance after I left the council, however, and I wasn't sure if a policy would be adopted that would be as permissive as I would like.

The final policy adopted is as flexible as I could have hoped, and much more permissive than the exemption policies I've seen in other cities. A form on the city website allows households to apply for the exemption. It states that "the city has sole discretion in allowing an exemption if it is verified that a property owner has an environmentally responsible method of disposing of their garbage," and provides some expansive examples of what would be acceptable (quoting from the form):
  • Written permission to dispose of garbage in a neighbor’s or family member’s garbage cart (shared service).
  • Use of a commercial dumpster owned or leased for use by a commercial property. (This commercial property may be owned or leased by the applicant, or the applicant may be an employee who has written permission from his/her employer to use the employer’s commercial dumpster.)
  • Self hauling garbage to a state permitted solid waste facility. 


It's nice to see a well thought out plan come to fruition.

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