Investigating Renter Trash

Whittier: more renter trash than your average neighborhood.

There’s a new line of argument against new multi-unit rental housing becoming fashionable with concerned residents in the Wedge and nearby neighborhoods. It has to do with trash. Here’s an argument made by the group Minneapolis Neighbors United against a 10-unit apartment building at 2008 Bryant Ave:

Current practice is 1 garbage bin and 1 recycling bin per unit. The Site Plan indicates the use of 4 plastic bins for the garbage and 4 bins for recycling for a 10 Unit Commercial building. Every Triplex on the same street has 3 bins for garbage and 3 bins for recycling; the standard 1 per unit. 10 units should require a total of 20 bins.

I don’t want to give the impression this was their primary argument. Mostly it was the typical kitchen sink strategy: density, traffic, parking, etc. But I was legitimately curious about the trash issue. It was the kind of unfamiliar argument where you think you’re hearing bullshit, but you can’t know for sure. As someone who lives with another adult in a one bedroom apartment, two bins per unit sounds like overkill.

Now there’s a ruckus regarding a fourplex at 3621 Bryant (going before the city’s Zoning & Planning Committee today), involving some of the same residents and the same developer (regular readers will know the developer as the Turkey Guys, builders of the iconic, soon-to-be-historic, Rocket House at 2743 Dupont). And I’m seeing a similar garbage argument. So I poked around behind some apartment buildings to investigate the customs of our neighborhood’s Garbage People (known to some as “renters”).

902 West Franklin Ave: 10 bins (4 recycling, 6 garbage). 
905 West Franklin: one dumpster.
905 West Franklin: four recycling bins.

Our hidden cameras uncovered the following:

  • 902 West Franklin is a 26-unit apartment building with 36 total bedrooms. There are four bins for recycling, and six for trash. Bed to Bin Ratio (B2BR)* of 3.6:1.
  • 905 West Franklin (next door to 2008 Bryant) is a 46-unit apartment building with 71 total bedrooms. There’s one dumpster (conservatively guessing it’s four cubic yards) and four recycling bins. Converting the dumpster to bin size gives a B2BR of 4.25:1.

Let’s compare this to the buildings facing trash-related objections:

  • 2008 Bryant Ave will be a 10-unit building with 19 bedrooms. Four bins each for trash and recycling. B2BR of 2.38:1 (concerned residents were calling for a Bed to Bin Ratio of 1:1).
  • 3621 Bryant will be a four-unit building with 16 bedrooms. The plans don’t indicate how many bins, but let’s say eight, which equals a B2BR of 2:1. Fewer bins would still provide more trash capacity than the existing apartment buildings listed above.

*Keep in mind that I have invented the Bed to Bin Ratio (B2BR). B2BR is an advanced statistic available only to subscribers of Wedge LIVE Premium. B2BR is not intended as a useful measure of anything.