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Introducing the CLEAN Collections Act to Address Trash Overflow and Rodents in DC Neighborhoods

Ward 4 Councilmember Janeese Lewis George, joined by six other Councilmembers, introduced the Containing Litter and Ensuring Adequate Neighborhood (CLEAN) Collections Amendment Act of 2022 to address trash overflow and rodent infestation across the District by requiring adequate trash and recycling cans and more regular waste collection in multifamily buildings.

“As more people work from home and DC’s population grows, we’ve seen trash pile up around residential buildings – dirtying our streets, prompting illegal dumping, and drawing rats and vermin to our neighborhoods,” said Councilmember Lewis George. “The CLEAN Collections Act will make our communities cleaner and healthier by requiring buildings to have enough trash cans, recycling cans, or dumpsters to meet residents’ needs and for waste collection at these properties to happen twice a week.”

The District’s rodent problem has worsened significantly in recent years. Complaints to DC Health’s Rodent and Vector Control Division have more than tripled over the past six years. In 2016, the Rodent Control Division received 3,531 calls from residents. By 2021, the number of calls surged to 11,334. Trash overflows and infrequent collections at residential buildings have helped drive the growing rat infestation in DC.

Specifically, the CLEAN Collections Act would require multifamily buildings to provide trash cans or dumpsters that can hold at least 32 gallons of solid waste per residential unit. DC law currently calls for “adequate” solid waste container space but does not define that standard, leaving many multifamily apartments with fewer and smaller trash cans or dumpsters than needed.

The legislation would also require trash at multifamily buildings to be collected at least twice per week. Current DC law has no frequency requirement for trash collection. Semiweekly collection will prevent overflow and reduce the harmful effects of trash piling up over an entire week. Additionally, it makes these services more equitable by providing apartment building residents the same frequency of trash collection that many homeowners receive. The bill would also add a fine for repeated violations.

This CLEAN Collections Act is co-introduced by Councilmembers Brianne Nadeau, Charles Allen, Trayon White, Robert White, Brooke Pinto, and Anita Bonds.