If there was confusion, anger or absent-mindedness about Baltimore's new trash collection schedule, it didn't much show on city streets or alleys Monday morning.
A few people in Wyman Park, Upper Fells Point and some Northern Parkway neighborhoods put out trash cans and bags, as they had done for years on Mondays, but mostly they didn't - apparently having got word that there was no pickup. Trash is now collected once a week, Tuesday through Friday depending on the address.
The city has been calling and mailing notices for weeks about the changes. Baltimore had been one of the few major metropolitan cities to pick up trash twice a week, but with recycling up, the city switched to once-a-week trash and recycling collection. Residents are allowed 96 gallons of trash and unlimited recycling. City officials say this is more efficient and frees up crews to sweep alleys.
But the switch has some residents worried about a buildup of trash and rats. It had others worried about the rat-related law allowing fines for those without trash cans with lids.
Maggie Chutz, who lives in Upper Fells Point, was one of the city dwellers who followed the new rule and did not put out trash on Monday. She didn't know about the new schedule but doesn't make enough trash for twice-a-week pickup and was happy to hear about more recycling collection.
"I joke with my boyfriend that a quarter of his apartment is used for recycling storage," she said. "I never understood why they got trash twice a week. Everywhere I've ever lived, it's been once. I thought it was for people who forgot the first day."
Brenda Segall, who lives in Hampden, was also glad about more recycling. She did worry a bit, after hearing from the city about the changes, that her lid would not fit on her trash can with a week's worth of trash. And, she noted, the trash buildup could be a concern citywide.
"The city makes a lot of trash," she said.
Indeed. A crew reported last week that it collected more than 19 tons in one day. However, the Department of Public Works contends that fewer pickups still mean a cleaner city. Crews that worked one week picking up recycled materials and next picking up trash in alleys will work full time on alleys cleaning up after the many city dwellers who abide by no apparent schedule.
Robert Murrow, a department spokesman, acknowledges that some residents are skeptical. But of the 3,000 calls to the city's 311 information line by late Monday afternoon, only a small number were for "missed trash pickup." A third of the calls were about the new collection program. Further, he said, the city is "not focused on" fining residents who use a can and no lid on trash morning. The concern is those who leave it out uncovered overnight.
He estimated only 5 percent of residents wrongly put their trash out yesterday, and "we're pretty happy with that."
Trash pickup changes
New routes, a pared trash-pickup schedule and expanded recycling, all starting this week, mark some of the biggest changes to city sanitation in decades. Among the changes:
* The city is discontinuing Monday pickup.
* Garbage will be collected only once a week. There is a limit of 96 gallons, or about three cans, on the amount of trash you can set out. Trash must be set out in cans with tight-fitting lids.
* Recycling will be collected once a week. There is no limit on the amount of recycling you can set out.
* Garbage and recycling must be placed outside no later than 6 a.m. - rather than 7 a.m. - the day of collection.
* You can call 311 with questions or to inform the city about illegal dumping and missed trash.
Get more online
When is my trash picked up? Get a link to a map that shows days of the week for the new trash and recycling schedule.
Talk about it: Discuss the new trash and recycling policies.
All this, at baltimoresun.com/bmoregreen