Birmingham City Council

Need More Room for Garbage? City Says OK to Ordering Another Bin

New garbage carts as they arrived at Birmingham Public Works. (Source: City of Birmingham)

Birmingham residents living in single-family homes can now order a second city-issued garbage cart.

The Birmingham City Council approved revisions to the city’s garbage ordinance on Tuesday that will allow single-family residences to procure a second uniform trash bin for a $120 fee, which will cover the cost of the cart, delivery and one year of once-a-week pickup service.

It’s an update to the $6.5-million uniform trash bin system implemented last year, which allocated one 96-gallon cart to each single-family household in the city. The carts include GPS tracking technology to make sure they remain at their assigned households. Last year, the city also approved a three-year contract with software company Routeware to optimize garbage collection routes.

The $6.5 million plan is being phased in, and officials have said it is operational in more than half of the city.

The updated ordinance approved Tuesday also allows for non-residential properties along existing collection routes to purchase up to two uniform trash bins. It also prohibits, as of Nov. 1, residents from leaving loose bags on top of or beside their trash bins, and it extends the amount of time families have to return carts from the curbside to their household after pick-up to 24 hours.

While the ordinance does provide for violations to be enforced according to city code, officials stressed that their first priority would be education, not punishment. “We’re not going to start giving out citations just because you put out your trash wrong,” said Council President Pro Tem Crystal Smitherman. “This is a learning curve.”

Mayor Randall Woodfin added that his office would work to “overcommunicate” the new policies to residents.

The new garbage pickup system has caused some confusion and concern among residents, mainly about whether one bin would hold all of a family’s garbage for a week. Residents also have complained about having difficulty moving the heavy bins. City workers have recommended residents who are having difficulties call 311. A set out service is available for some residents, including residents who are elderly or disabled.

More information about the city’s garbage pick-up service is available on the city’s website.