Dumpsters filled to the brim lining a back alley

Athens City Council Amends Anti-Scavenging Policies, Set Expectations for Upcoming Trash Contract Negotiations

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Athens, OHIO (WOUB) — Dumpster divers that get caught could end up paying $50 more.

The Athens City Council held a special meeting Monday to, among other things, change its Anti-Scavenging Policy.

Councilmember Alan Swank introduced the ordinance, which he hopes will help the mess that is found after move out weekends.

“People would get into (garbage and recycling bins), go through all the trash and stuff and take what they felt was a valuable material and then have stuff all over the street,” he said.

The ordinance bans people from rummaging through the bins, special collections, or dumpsters and keeps the currently penalty of a minor misdemeanor for each offense. The fine does go up from $100 to $150 for violating the ordinance.

Another part of this ordinance deals with what the city wants from the garbage collection company it uses, including how much the company needs to be insured for bodily and property damages.

Swank said he believes this was needed as the current contract expires July 1, 2023.

“We didn’t want to get caught in a bind doing it last minute,” he said, “so we actually started a full year ahead.”

Councilmembers unanimously passed the ordinance.

The key now is communicating what the new ordinance means for residents, Swank said.

“When (these ordinances) go into effect we have the ability on our utility bills to put messages and things of that nature. We also plan to get (the ordinance) up on the city website,” he said.

Swank said he hopes people will pay attention and learn about the changes to the anti-scavenging policy.