A tipster wrote in over the weekend describing a common problem in Louisville neighborhoods: the lack of public trash cans. While this plea focuses on Butchertown, it’s relevant across the city, and lucky for a few residents in District 9, new corner garbage containers will arrive soon.
Here’s the problem according to our tipster:
I recently had a business threaten to press charges against me because I was picking up the litter on their block and placing it on their doorstep in a neat pile. There are no public trash cans in this area. This business… [in Butchertown] says that the city fines them if they leave a trash can out. This sounds like a lame excuse to me, they could easily put out a flower pot with a garbage bag in it, but I really don’t think that should be necessary. The city says that personal trash cans are an eyesore but are they really worse than trash on the ground?
The intersection our tipster describes doesn’t have trash cans on the sidewalk, but could certainly use at least one. Meanwhile, Historic Butchertown pointed out that the part of the neighborhood falling in the 9th District could receive several new designer trash cans like the ones above that have been placed throughout the city. Tina Ward-Pugh has secured money for seventeen new laser-cut trash cans and is accepting suggestions on where to place them.
The laser cut design featuring the neighborhood name, a fleur-de-lis, and a simple box shape was originally designed for Downtown and are manufactured locally in Sellersburg. As they began to gain popularity, similar trash cans have been spreading throughout the city.
I think these garbage bins are really sharp, but considering our tipster’s problem, is it too soon so place them throughout urban Louisville? Is it more important to have a few trash cans that look really good or have more corners covered with plain trash cans? I’m not talking about Downtown here, but rather the urban neighborhoods surrounding the core.
The laser engraved cans aren’t as expensive as you might think. At about $600, they are far cheaper than generic designer bins that start at around $750 but are quite a bit more expensive than the ubiquitous wire mesh bins that cost around $125.
Many find those wire mesh trash cans to be extremely ugly, but does function trump form in some cases? I, personally, don’t mind the mesh baskets and have grown used to them living in New York where they can be found on nearly every corner. They can’t, however, compare in aesthetics to the signature “Louisville trash can.”
There’s another school of thought on public trash cans as well: simply don’t provide any. I said above that Manhattan is thoroughly covered in trash cans, but on several walking trips to various neighborhoods in Brooklyn, there isn’t a trash can in view. After checking into the the lack of trash cans, it turns out that these communities are testing out a theory that says providing no trash cans will actually cut litter. I won’t dig into the details here.
While there in fact was very little litter in these neighborhoods, I found it extremely annoying to carry trash with me as opposed to discarding it immediately and I wonder how many people wouldn’t have just jettisoned their trash as litter.
Anyone have any input on public trash cans in Louisville? If you have a suggestion for placement of a new trash can in District 9, you can call 502.574.1109.