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Tune in to Kojo Nnamdi tomorrow if you want to learn all the dirty details of recycling in D.C.! Among the scheduled guests: Washington City Paper freelancer Christine MacDonald and D.C. Department of Public Works’ recycling officer Bill Easley.
This is a topic near and dear to City Paper‘s heart, which is why we bring it up. MacDonald wrote a cover story for the paper in November cataloging multiple instances of private D.C. haulers mixing recycling and trash on their rounds. She also criticized DPW for failing to crack down on violators.
Cue the dramatic music: A few weeks later, City Paper itself received a recycling violation in the mail. Inspector Kayanda Jones had discovered trash mixed in with the recycling-only Dumpster behind 2390 Champlain Street NW and written a $50 ticket. There was even a picture!
Since then, DPW has provided answers to a few questions we asked about how the whole thing went down.
For instance, were there other violations written on the same day in the same area? Turns out, there were: The department provided copies of five other violations observed by the same inspector on the same day, Nov. 16. The 7-Eleven on Mount Pleasant Street was cited for “failure to have sufficient number of containers for separated recyclables,” and Queen’s Cafe & Hookah on 18th Street was cited for “failure to separate recycling from other solid waste,” the same violation issued to City Paper.
Did someone make a complaint to prompt the inspection? Often, DPW spokesperson Nancee Lyons said at the time, that is how inspections come about. “No complaint was filed about the dumpsters behind 2390 Champlain Street. The investigator is assigned to Ward 1 and was working in that section of the ward,” Christine V. Davis, the department’s general counsel, wrote.
And why was the citation written to Washington City Paper, which does not own the building, but rather is one of several tenants in it? “The materials in the dumpster had the City Paper’s name on it.”
We wonder what else DPW learned going through our trash.