What’s with all the trash at Echo Park & Sunset? *

An Echo Park resident last Sunday took the above photo of an overflowing trash can at the northeast corner of Sunset Boulevard and Echo Park Avenue. That trash is still there as of this morning. Another trash can is also overflowing in plain sight one block west at Sunset and Logan Street. The resident, in an email to a Council District 13 staff member and The Eastsider asks:

“I realize that Monday was a holiday, but please tell me when the Bureau of Sanitation is supposed to pick this trash up. How long do the residents of Echo Park have to watch trash spill onto our sidewalks and streets?  I also realize that our neighborhood trash cans fill up because of people who dump full trash bags into them.  What can be done about this? What do other Council Districts do?”

Photo by Echo Park resident

Update: Council District 13 has informed the resident that the Bureau of Street Services is scheduled to pick up the trash on Monday.


  1. My daughter was asking “How is there so much trash?” this morning on her way to preschool. A real bummer to see all along Sunset.

  2. Many cities have installed these with great results:


  3. It’s all over Silver Lake on Sunset Blvd. as well. It’s awful. I’m sure the excuse will be the cuts in the City’s budget.

  4. It’s hard enough to get people to throw their trash into an actual trash can. If the can is full you can most certainly expect to see that cup or fast food wrapper on the ground.

  5. Since 2006, Echo Park TAP( Trash Abatement Project) has advocated that Los Angeles, and especially Echo Park install Solar Big Belly Compactor-Trash Cans that are getting rave reviews from Cities to
    park services. Towards this end, Echo Park TAP secured signatures
    and also in 2009 obtained a grant from Community Beautification Program of the Community Beautification Office, Public Works, City
    of Los Angeles for TWO units with attachments for recycling.
    If City permits are secured, they will serve both the corners that have been an extreme eyesore for years. Watch the EastsiderLA for
    an update. In addition, a clean up is scheduled by Echo Park TAP
    with the assistance of LA Conservation Corp/Clean & Green for
    Saturday, October 16. Sometime next week, the TWO BAGS and a
    a BUCKET project will be launched to reduce trash, debris and pollution on streets and parkways. Trash from these locations invariable end up in storm drains that discharge into either Echo
    Lake or the LA River before journeying on to the ocean. Watch for
    the launch of this Two Bags and a Bucket campaign.
    Ida Talalla
    Echo Park TAP

  6. As for the trash compactor, fine and dandy. But the point here is that there was supposed to be a trash pickup this week and it has not happened. WHY NOT!?

  7. Ida, Thank you for the background information. Please let us know what we can do to support these efforts.

  8. What’s up with all the paint spills on city streets around the city? Talk about eye sores! People are dumping cans of paint at intersections! There are two GIGANTIC paint spills on the street corner of Sunset Blvd and Sanborn ave in Silver Lake. Someone tried to soak it up with dirt but of course that did nothing to soak it up. There’s a spill on Sunset and Hyperian ave. There’s on on Hoover and Sunset. There’s another GIGANTIC one on Western and Melrose. I can go on and on. There all over the city. I’ve called Eric Garcetti’s office and was told that budgets are tight and there is no money for that kind of clean up. Maybe it should be looked at like gang tagging so it can be cleaned up. I don’t know what would stop people from doing this. It just needs to be cleaned up. Our city is looking like no one cares. Trash cans overflowing, tagging, paint spills…..Ok I’m done. TLC

  9. I’m waiting for someone to comment to all the garbage haters something along the lines of “If you don’t like trash and it interferes with your quality of life, why not move to Antarctica?”

  10. That’s a business area on Sunset – I’ll wager the bulk of the trash came from the area businesses so if the city hasn’t come along I would say they should take the extra step and empty it themself. If this was in front of my house or business I would empty it (the business even more so, not just because it’s a nice thing to do, but because it could affect their foot traffic).

    Times are tough right now and getting tougher and waiting for a “someone” or “they” who “should do something” may no longer be enough (if it ever was)…maybe it’s time to start thinking a little more like “I” or “we” and do something both for ourself and our neighborhood.

  11. It’s strange that they would wait a whole week to pick up. My trash day landed on a holiday recently, and the truck came the next day to pick up everyone’s trash.

  12. SL’er, I agree that some personal responsibility should be taken by residents and by the businesses. Perhaps we can get our Neighborhood Council to coordinate with businesses?

    To play devil’s advocate, I pay taxes to, among other things, have the City empty the trash in public trash receptacles. This is one of the most basic services the City offers.
    Personally, I have participated in three neighborhood clean-ups. One of them was even sponsored by Council District 13. It is disappointing to take the time to clean up the neighborhood just to see the trash (that people actually took the time to throw in a trash can) spilling all over the street.

  13. @Ida

    Those Big Belly things are great! They have them all over Philly and they have really helped clean the streets up there. I’d love to see them come to Echo Park.

  14. Has anyone tossed around the idea of an Echo Park Business Improvement District (BID)? BIDs are pretty effective in improving a neighborhood’s streets and keeping them clean. They pick up where the city leaves off.

  15. Shannon – It is disappointing to pick up trash and have it there the next day, but people get used to seeing the trash all the time and then it starts to become normal and the don’t think twice about throwing more trash. But when people start picking up the trash and emptying the cans themselves, whether out of guilt or example, they start to behave that way themselves – you have set in place a “new normal”. Unfortunately it can take a while and requires a lot of commitment before you start to see change in others but it does happen.

    The city is pretty good about painting over graffiti now but several years ago there was a lot more by me (especially on one large wall) and as the city never came then, I just kept a bucket of paint and a roller in my garage and would paint it over every Sat morning. Over the course of many months I started to win my little war of attrition with the taggers and they either stopped or moved on. I’m not sure I would still do that now as since that time I have heard of several people shot around the country painting over tagging, but happily, the city is now (for the moment anyway) pretty good when you call them about painting it over in a timely manner.

    Anyway, the point is… don’t be discouraged and keep up the good work even if you don’t feel like it helps….it does. Gandhi famously said…”You must be the change you hope to see in this world”.

  16. @Shannon:
    @ Sl’er:

    Sara Dale at Pull My Daisy (clothing store on the Sunset/Hyperion block) is a Boardmember of the Silver Lake Neighborhood Council. Perhaps starting with her you can kill two birds with one stone!

  17. I guess the $144 + bulky item charges and other monthly trash charges our 4 unit building gets assessed every month doesn’t leave the city any money to actually and effectively deal with any kind of real trash situation… i see $200 monthly trash fees on the horizon…and you can’t opt out..we’ve already tried b/c we thought the current fees a bit steep for the approx. one black bin of trash a week we actually generate….maybe city engineers could develop a stratagem, run it through the appropriate channels, have a few feasibility studies completed by a progressive firm in Portland, schedule a city council debate, and then, if funding comes through, put in a 2nd white retro trash bin 15 ft. away.

  18. Complaining about city fees *and* reduced city services. Awesome.

    Those clear plastic bags are from the nearby businesses. Charge them. Or better yet, charge a small fee for each whiny complaint that is not in any way associated with a corresponding useful action. If this blog is any indication, the city will soon be rolling in dough.

  19. ha ha @Will Campbell! I’m with you on that one!

  20. I see a couple of problems with these solutions being offered.

    First, if “people start picking up the trash and emptying the cans themselves”, where are they supposed to empty it? The dump? I don’t advocate the public handling potentially bio-hazardous waste, especially when this is a basic city service that is funded by the taxes we pay at the register every time we buy something.

    Second, the city would never install compacting garbage cans unless there was a fee to use it. Otherwise DWP customers could cut back on the number of cans they use, and fill up the compactors for free. Eventually, we’d be right back to where we are now, with cans overflowing capacity. The trash fees in LA are ridiculous and the DWP has control over the city. I wouldn’t be surprised if this was deliberate because Garcetti did or said something to make someone at the DWP mad.

  21. On Saturday, Echo Park TAP was working with the crew from LA Conservation Corp/Clean and Green. When we had cleaned along Logan and Sunset and was about to cross the road to attend to the garbage spill so vividly seen in the photo, two Department of Street Service trucks with a work crew rushed over to clear the debris and empty the trash can. They were thanked for taking care of that particular trash can and others nearby.
    Street trash isn’t like household trash which is scheduled with regular
    pickups. Street trash, such as the emptying of the wire mesh trash
    cans are a joint effort that has faced the upheavals of City Budget
    cuts. The impacts of which are being felt in a very real way by the
    community. The cuts have impacted libraries in our communities as
    well as recreation and parks programs and facilities. NOW is the time
    to write to the Mayor and your elected officials in City office to say
    that these simplistic cuts are HURTING community and contributing to blight. Echo Park TAP has figures on the volume of trash being generated at different sites. However, if trash cleared from September 25 is awaiting pick up till today, the purpose of
    clean ups is defeated. The Solar Big Belly compactor trash cans
    at the two corners on busy Sunset and Echo Park Avenue intersection might pave the way to a cleaner intersection while
    other more complex issues are worked out. The grant is really a gift
    from the City to be put to use in the community. Lets get them installed and tested instead of gathering dust in a warehouse.
    EP TAP has collected over 500 signatures supporting the
    installation of these state-of-arts compactor trash cans. The
    support is there and perhaps now, the timing is right.

  22. which city department handles the street trash cans? i would love to have one placed on my street! my house is sandwiched between the echo park library and the echo park pool and there’s a grade school on the corner as well.. needless to say there is an extreme amount of trash on the street. i called the councilman’s office and they said that they wouldnt be able to place a can there due to budget constraints, but would be happy to send a meeter maid to ticket the ice cream man that parks by the school to alleviate the trash. sort of a backwards way of dealing with the issue. even though it would help with the junk food intake that the kids are getting outside the school… i really think a trash can would also be nice to keep the street clean! any idea’s on how to approach this?


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