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Trash Cart Mandate
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Real-Life Examples
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to City Council.  Links to the most-recent version of Ordinance language.


Why this website?

Why so much noise about trash & garbage?

Why are Saint Paul residents being asked to sign petitions?

Because of mandated...

STATUS?   What's our signature count?     See  STATUS.SAINTPAULTRASH.COM 

PLEASE:  Contact Elected Officials.   Give your opinion of St. Paul's new garbage program and the process by which it has been "rolled out."  Explain how the program, as currently designed, affects you, your family, and/or your neighbors.  The City Council received a report from the Ramsey County Elections Manager and on Wednesday, October 17, 2018, the Council will determine by resolution the sufficiency of our petition on ORD 18-40(Note: The Council's resolution on ORD 18-40 will not directly or immediately affect the garbage program's implementation via ORD 18-39.  The petition for a referendum on ORD 18-39, with 6,000+ signatures, will be submitted in mid-October.)  Honest input ahead of the Council's resolution can help to clarify the depth of citizens' disappointment, frustration and more.  Although the two petitions and anticipated referendums are not an immediate opportunity to re-write The Contract, constructive criticism can provide ideas for how (someday, maybe) to do it over and get it "right."  Let's start running this like We the people.

NOTE:   If you have been gathering signatures, please turn in your completed & notarized forms.


Organized trash "arrived" in October 2018, in St. Paul.  Residents and owners of privately-owned 1-, 2-, 3- and 4-unit buildings are encountering significant changes.  (See Trash Cart Mandate)  Legislative ordinances that allow the City to implement this new "garbage program" did not receive public hearings and were not adopted by the City Council until August and September, 2018.  (See Send Comments




Read the fine print before you pay your garbage invoice.

Click image to see an "offer" the

City of St. Paul says you can't refuse.

And, note the "start-date error."  ORD 18-39, allowing the City to implement its garbage program, was not effective until October 10th.   MEANWHILE, haulers are charging from October 1st, thereby demanding payment for an extra nine (9) days of overcharges for empty, unnecessary and unwanted trash carts. 



Away From Home?

Don't forget your Permission Slip.

Thank your hauler(s) -- This one is not mandated by the City.


Minnesota's Senator Amy Klobuchar, on September 28, 2018, was not talking about the organized collection of our household trash.  Her underlying message can, however, be applied to local policy-makers.  Senator Klobuchar's closing words to the Senate Judiciary Committee ring all too true in Washington, DC, and in St. Paul, MN:

"I come from a state that believes in process..."

"Right now, the way this process is run, we're not running it like We the people.  It's being run like We the ruling party."


For decades (probably since kindergarten)

  • Residents have been allowed - even encouraged - to share trash containers.  Although sharing benefits our community and almost always saves space and dollars, the City's new "garbage program" disallows sharing and opt-out. 

    • Example:  Can residents in my tri-plex continue to share one large trash cart?   NO!   Your tri-plex will receive and must pay for THREE trash carts at double or triple last year's cost.  NO sharing.  NO exceptions.

    • Example:  I was told that I can keep one cart and return two unwanted carts.  Will my garbage fees go down?   NO!   All units in your tri-plex will be billed, and must pay, for THREE carts.  Returned carts will not lower your cost.  NO opt-out.  NO exceptions.

  • All of us have been encouraged to "Reduce, Re-use, Recycle."  In doing so, many of us aim to become "zero wasters."  Some of us generate just one small bag of trash per month which we deposit in a helpful neighbor's trash cart, or we hand-carry to a local transfer station.  

    • Example:  Can I continue to opt-out of garbage service since I don't need it?   NO!   You will receive a trash cart and you are required to pay $268.00 per year for service you neither need nor want.  NO opt-out.  NO sharing.  NO exceptions.

Why?  Because the City and a consortium of Trash Haulers signed a five-year contract that says so.

Many citizens believe that at least some of the new rules are unreasonable.  Others take issue with the process by which the City entered into a five-year contract with Haulers.  (See Problems)

  • Although today this "garbage program" is limited to small buildings, its roll-out can be seen as a trial balloon for eventual changes to be forced onto all privately-owned residential dwellings.  

  • Not surprisingly, publicly-owned [e.g., City-owned] residential dwellings are exempt from these mandates -- a nice loophole that saves money, space, and administrative hassles.

  • St. Paul's "no sharing" policy forces thousands of targeted households to pay monthly charges to haulers for thousands of empty, unwanted and unnecessary trash carts.  And then, Ramsey County (@ 28%) and the State of MN (@ 9.75%) will assess fees -- fees that are not based on volume or weight of what is actually hauled; but instead, fees based on St. Paul's mandated PRICES.

  • The overall cost of city-wide organized collection should be cheaper, NOT more expensive.  But, the total "excess" cost of this contract (to be paid by consumers) is up about $11.6 million per year, not down.  (See Real-Life Examples) (See Cost Analysis by local analyst John Genereux)

We believe the city failed to fully engage with its citizens and failed to truly listen to the concerns that have been voiced for more than a year. 

We object to unneeded and overpriced carts cluttering the already limited space in alleys and yards.  (See Community News)

  • We care about neighborhood aesthetics.  We believe that “Reduce, Re-use, Recycle” is important.  

  • We have jobs.  We are retired.  We rent.  We own.  We ride the bus.  We drive.  We budget.  We compost.  

  • And…we are working hard to rein in and re-envision the process by which the City of St. Paul entered into its ill-advised 5-year garbage contract with trash haulers.

We believe that St. Paul voters - not the City Council - should decide whether to approve or reject the garbage ordinances as they exist today.   (See And-Then-What?) 

  • Public schools, charged with educating our children, must ask for additional funding via referendums.  

  • Meanwhile trash haulers and the city's bureaucrats have been working overtime to circumvent referendums on new garbage ordinances.  Apparently it is faster and more cost-effective to shake down residents via mandated price-fixing plus unneeded, unwanted and overpriced "service."   It could be called city-sponsored extortion.

  • Educators beg -- Haulers plus the city, county and

A referendum is the process by which a legislative ordinance adopted by the City Council is then "referred" or submitted to a vote to be taken by the city's residents, allowing the people to either approve or reject that ordinance. 

  • Petitions signed by voters may be delivered to the City after an ordinance is adopted, but will not be accepted more than 45 days after adoption & publication (i.e., this process works for new ordinances, not old ones). 

  • The right to petition and require a vote (per City Charter) existed long before St. Paul's garbage contract was signed in November 2017.

  • In August and September 2018, the Council adopted four new "garbage program" ordinances. 

  • Although the City's garbage contract was signed way back in November 2017, today's newly-adopted ordinances are what allows the City to implement the terms of that contract  (i.e., no ordinance = unused contract).  Assuming that referendum voters will reject today's ordinances, we urge the City and Haulers to step back and give this hot-button issue the thoughtful consideration it deserves but has not received. 

Voters are petitioning the St. Paul City Council for referendums on two of the four "garbage program" ordinances, 18-39 & 18-40.  (See Documents to Download)

  • Because two ordinances are involved, we circulated TWO petitions, we have two sets of deadlines, and 6,000+ St. Paul residents signed BOTH at the same time.  (See Status)  We submitted more than the required minimum number of valid signatures for Ord. 18-40 and will do so a second time for Ord. 18-39. 

  • Circulators, please turn in completed and notarized petition forms. 

  • Thursday, September 27, 2018, was our initial deadline 

    • For Ordinance 18-40 -- which, in part, precludes (prohibits) "sharing" via revisions to existing code language. 

    • We hand-delivered 5,919 signatures on 689 pages of paper to the county elections office.  

    • On October 8th, the elections manager certified 5,071 signatures as valid -- more than the 4,932 minimum required.

    • MPR


      Pioneer Press

  • Monday, October 15, 2018, is our next "turn-in-forms-to-organizers" deadline 

    • For Ordinance 18-39 -- which created an all-new code chapter that allows the city to implement its new garbage program. 

    • By its own language, "This Ordinance shall take effect and be in force thirty (30) days following its passage, approval and publication."  Thirty (30) days following its publication on September 10th was October 10, 2018.  Not October 1st.

    • We have collected and will hand-deliver an additional 6,000+ signatures on 700+ pages.

  • It is an enormous task.  Thank you for joining us!


Trash Ordinance 18-39 (allows City to implement its garbage program)

        We have not yet submitted the signatures in support of our petition # 1 which seeks a referendum on Ordinance 18-39, due to its later publication date and referendum deadline. The deadline for this petition is now imminent.

        If you have been gathering signatures, please turn in your completed & notarized forms.  We need to check for errors, update our signature count, compile data, and prepare for hand-delivery to the city.  If we don't have them in our hands, they won't be counted.    (See Status)

Please mail or deliver notarized petitions to any of the following locations:


US Bank Center  (Law Offices)

101 5th Street East, #1500

St. Paul, MN 55101

1467 Grand Avenue

St. Paul, MN 55105


775 Edmund Avenue West

St. Paul, MN 55104

110 Virginia Street

St. Paul, MN 55102


Or, contact us to arrange pick-up &/or a notary public:          651-300-7808  (voicemail or text)

Questions?      Click  here  for our FAQ page.

  RECENT NEWS (June 20, 2018):   MN High Court Rules for Citizens Fighting Bloomington on Garbage 

This petition drive is a first step toward
achieving these GOALS:

  • Ability to Opt Out
  • Ability to Share Containers
  • Reduce Excessive Price Increases
  • Reduce Excessive Space Requirements
  • Make the Program FAIR TO ALL
Real-Life Examples
Financial & Space Implications
Then What?

Petitions now.  What's next?     ©2018