Dallas to phase out most alley trash collection in favor of curbside

Department of Sanitation Services cites improved worker safety, increased efficiency, and cost savings as drivers shift to curbside pickup citywide

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How you take out the trash in Dallas may be changing. The city says it plans to phase out most alley-trash pickups in favor of curbside in the next couple of years, citing worker safety, more efficiency and cost savings.

According to the latest estimate from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, each person generates about five pounds of trash per day. So, it’s no surprise that the method of how trash is collected is of at least some interest to just about everyone.

Dallas District 1 Councilmember Chad West, representing parts of Oak Cliff and Bishop Arts, said he's hearing from his constituents on the issue.

“This is an issue. I have residents I’ve never heard from in five years come out and blow me up over this,” West said, referring to phone calls and messages.

Most Dallas residents already have curbside trash pickup, but 38% still receive alley collection service.

Cookie Peadon, president of the North Dallas Neighborhood Alliance said homeowners there are concerned with older neighbors being able to manage the physical demands of moving a trash can and recycling bin from an alley to the curb.

“A lot of people up here would resent it, and a lot of people up here are elderly now,” Peadon said. “I think a lot of it is mobility challenged.”

Dallas interim city manager Kimberly Bizor Tolbert said the city’s sanitation department plans to phase in change.

“This is not overnight where we’re going to make the change, but we definitely have to begin to look at this,” Tolbert said.

During a briefing to the City Council Tuesday, the Department of Sanitation Services explained the timing and criteria for switching alley trash pickup to curbside.

Clifton Gillespie, the sanitation department director, said modern trash trucks are nine feet wide and older, and more narrow alleys simply can’t accommodate larger trucks.

Additionally, Gillespie told councilmembers that moving to more curbside pickup could save $9 million per year, which he said would slow the growth of ratepayer increases but couldn’t guarantee that the sanitation fee would be reduced.

The plan calls for the end of alley trash pickup in eight-foot-wide alleys in January 2026 and nine-foot-wide alleys six months later.

The change to collection services doesn’t require a vote, and the City Council is urging the change to be rolled out slowly.

 “I need help communicating this to the neighbors,” District 10 Councilmember Kathy Stewart said.

If a 10-foot-wide concrete paved alley has an additional 5 feet of right-of-way, the city said automated side-loading trucks that can navigate safely could maintain trash pick up in those alleys.

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