Brad VanRegenmorter noticed an unusual item in a Dinkytown yard a few weeks ago — a toilet. He’s seen a fair share of curbside junk since moving to the neighborhood a year ago.
Twice each year, the city accelerates its clean up of the Marcy-Holmes, Prospect Park and Southeast Como neighborhoods to lessen the waste associated with student moving cycles. But residents said Southeast Como suffers more than other University of Minnesota neighborhoods.
Some believe that extra trash has become a nuisance as more students move into the area.
“Some students don’t think that the extra garbage really affects others. They just don’t care,” said Alison Henderson, a University senior who lives on 14th Avenue.
The problem is not the dumping but its quantity, said Justin Eibenholzl, environmental coordinator for the Southeast Como Improvement Association.
“This is one of the only neighborhoods in town where you’ll find piles of stuff outside houses,” he said. “It becomes a real eyesore.”
The city regularly removes excess garbage from neighborhoods around the University, notifying residents before collection periods. Residents are informed of how to properly dispose of extra garbage during move-in, said Angela Brenny, Minneapolis clean city coordinator.
The city is clued into excess waste sites from tips called in by neighbors. Residents typically have until the next collection period to remove the garbage.
University junior Michelle Evers, who lives near the intersection of 15th and Rollins avenues, said landlords need to educate student tenants about waste management.
Henderson said there are costs and risks to indifference.
“The consequences of not caring outweigh the extra time it might take to donate an item or drop off an old couch,” she said.
Tenants receive information packets outlining waste management regulations, pick-up dates and drop-off site locations, as well as advertising initiatives like SECIA’s move-in store.
The Move-In, Move-Out store opens every semester as a trading hub. Residents can drop off or pick up items for free. It was started last year to reduce misplaced and excess junk in the area.
Henderson remembers a mattress catching fire two years ago after someone left it in her apartment’s dumpster.
“That was an extreme case,” she said, “but it shows how disrespect can lead to problems like that.”
The hazards of waste can affect the health and safety of an area Eibenholzl said.
Although the city works with landlords and tenants to efficiently manage waste, items can sometimes remain unattended for days, he said.
Tenants can request pickup of their extra items.
Residents can request faster turnaround if they have items considered to be excess.
“The city really bends over backwards to [accommodate] residents’ needs,” said Ward 2 councilman Cam Gordon.
Minneapolis residents who want to dump upholstered furniture and other excess trash can also apply for up to six vouchers to be used at an area disposal site.
Gordon said he has recently heard more complaints of illegal dumping in the area at places like the Tuttle Elementary School on 18th Avenue Southeast.
“People sometimes don’t know what to do with their things and make a decision to do the wrong thing — like sneaking it off into someone else’s yard,” he said.
Gordon said it happens when residents aren’t aware of their options.