Streets Department Can’t Pick Up Your Trash Because It Is Cold

After all, we wouldn’t want the trash men to shiver.

Does your job let you slack off because it’s cold outside? No? Sucker. You should be working for the Philadelphia Streets Department.

streets-department-trash-coldOn Thursday morning, just two days after we told you about the Streets Department’s shortcomings with snow plowing, the Streets Department has announced that your trash pickup may be delayed because it is cold outside.

Here’s what the Streets Department had to say on its Facebook page:

Due to the extreme low temperatures and recent weather events, Sanitation collections will be delayed throughout the week. Residents should set out their trash and recycling on their regularly scheduled day and keep them at their normal pick up locations. If they are not picked up, we will collect the following day. We regret this inconvenience and thank citizens in advance for their patience and cooperation as crews navigate through dangerous cold weather.

Just for the record, the high in Philadelphia on Thursday is supposed to be 33 degrees. Cold, yes. But so cold that you can’t pick up the trash? Give me a break.

Around The Web

Be respectful of our online community and contribute to an engaging conversation. We reserve the right to ban impersonators and remove comments that contain personal attacks, threats, or profanity, or are flat-out offensive. By posting here, you are permitting Philadelphia magazine and Metro Corp. to edit and republish your comment in all media.

  • “Throughout the week.”

    Pretty sure they are referring to the part of the week when it was 4 degrees outside.

    Don’t forget to include the rest of the posts on their page from this week:

    “Due to sub-zero temps and recent weather events, Sanitation collections will be delayed throughout the week.”


    “Residents should set out their trash and recycling on their regularly scheduled day and keep them at their normal pickup locaitons.”


    “If they are not picked up, we will collect the following day.”

    “We regret this inconvenience & thank citizens in advance for their patience and cooperation as crews navigate through dangerous cold weather”

    For a job that is exclusively outside, in an area that rarely sees temps like that, I’m giving them a pass.

    • Writemarsh

      I tow cars in Philly and was not given a pass when it was 4º outside. Police are not given a pass because it’s 4º outside. Give me a break, it’s pure bullshit.

      • I am not saying that your job is any more or less difficult, but is the percentage of the time you spend doing it spent outside hooking up the tow, or in the vehicle taking the tow to its destination? I would imagine that you get a respite from the bitter cold during the latter part of that equation.

        Keep in mind nobody is giving them a PASS. It’s being delayed, meaning they are still out collecting but the job is more difficult because of the extreme conditions that nobody in the city is used to dealing with. Think of the time you’d spend going to and from a tow location, allow the same for the trash collectors to warm up, and there’s the delay.

    • Jack Cotter

      I’m more irritated by all of the people on my block who put the trash out the night when it was already snowing and predicted to snow 8 more inches! What did they think was going to happen? Trash collectors would just be able to dust 8 inches of snow off of their bags the next morning? So we got soggy trash blowing around for a week.

  • Worked tougher jobs than sani

    I grew up in northern michigan. I can count only a dozen or so times in 50+ years where the trash did not get picked up or the streets did not get plowed. Its called planning, and wearing the right clothing. Do your sani workers also beg off during heavy rain, bright sun, humid weather, windy days, or just whatever? Did they not understand the job description when they hired on? Did they not agree with the pay for the job, which, i have to say, is pretty good. Next, waiters will take days off because the restaurants or bars are too crowded on weekends. What little kittens you have working in sanitation and streets.

    • “heavy rain, bright sun, humid weather, windy days”

      None of these things delay trash pickup. The coldest day on record ever in Philadelphia is an adverse condition requiring a little human compassion on all of our parts for those who have to work outside. The delay is acceptable to me because not all of us grew up acclimated to the weather we’ve experienced this week. Your heartiness in the cold is admirable.

      • Oliver

        I totally agree. Why not have a little compassion? Relax, Myrtle. It’s just trash. It will still be there in a few days. Geez, when did we get so uptight?

        • pjcostello

          Are tax dollars being REFUNDED since the services for which they pay are being suspended?

        • Jeff

          Not out of my pocket, please. It is not “just trash”. It is a way how City government is treating taxpayers. I guess taxpayers should show how they are treating city government.

  • Tony Trov

    This blog post is the equivalent to “Let them eat cake”.

  • matthew brandley

    This is what happens when you hire lazy union trash of certain color to work for the city thats protected by union scum bag rules. . If this was private contarctors? Damn right you would see them busting buttg getting the trash hauled out! No wonder the city is always broke. Lazy union trash that doesnt want to make honest work for honest pay. Rant done.

  • ReefDoggity

    Yet again some hard hitting journalism researched on facebook. Phillymag only hiring tweens? Seems like all your ‘blog’ posts are just complaint rants posted on the internet. Soo yeah. Tweens….

    • Tony Trov

      What else would you expect from the Senior Reporter of this blog? This piece is probably one of the worst post ever to his

  • sam

    If you did your job before writing your last article you would of been outside to see all the trash trucks driving around with plows on them. They’re not plowing and collecting trash at the same time. You might also consider how the people collecting trash have to ride around on the back of a truck for hours where the effective wind chill would be way colder than all ready record low temps. Trash men have an unpleasant and thankless job that doesn’t earn a lot of respect. They don’t need you dumping on them.

  • HELP

    ok understand the problem but one thing people are so Nasty with there TRASH IT WLL BE RAT’S AND RAT’S ON MY BLOCK OF 6500 6600 6700 GUYER AVE PLEASE HELP THE CITY.

    • JM

      Sorry, I lived in that area before..the rats will be there no matter what.


    we have not had our trash picked up for 3 weeks. just what do I get for my tax dollars ?
    we are picked up on Thursday so last week they called our house with a recorded message and said due to the holiday and the snow we would have to wait until this week and then they called with a recorded message wed night and said if your trash day is Thursday it would be delayed due to the cold weather so that is 3 weeks plus and I still have my trash from new years eve party. this city blows.

    • Blipe

      You got a recorded message? I just keep getting disappointed. I don’t mind the workers staying out of the extreme cold but I don’t understand the week delay in my neighborhood. The same trash has been out for 8 days and it still hasn’t been picked up. That s just unacceptable. They need to plan and prioritize better.

  • mikey mitch


  • TuffGrrl

    Really??? For twelve years I walked to and from Catholic school in the city, in the rain, snow, freezing temperatures, whatever Mother Nature threw our way, and I did it WEARING KNEE SOCKS AND SADDLE SHOES. Give me a break

  • enufalready

    That’s not it all, as we’re all aware; build up will result in overtime, double time as they work evening and weekends. Saw them picking up trash after 6:30 p last night. That the Mayor, their bosses allow this…… wonder Philly is in trouble. Detroit here we come.

    • Jeff

      That is what I am talking about – how about “The Union of hardworking taxpayers” that will refuse stupid initiatives of corrupted city government? And will refuse to pay taxes to this city government? You are not going to pay a contractor who is not doing his job – why we have to pay to this city government?

  • SanitationWorker

    My heart hurts after reading this. I work with the men and women who collect rubbish and recycling in Philadelphia every single day and I have for years. Obviously you have no idea how hard these sanitation workers work day in and day out. Last week when it snowed in Philadelphia, the sanitation employees started work at 6 and 7 o’clock in the morning to collect rubbish and recycling and then immediately returned the trucks and worked until 1 and 2 o’clock the next morning mounting plows on the front of the trucks and then putting chains on the tires to get the snow off of the streets. When the snow operation was called, they immediately began taking the plows and chains off to begin collections again. The temperature in Philadelphia this week dropped to the coldest it has been in nearly 25 years. The wind chill was well below 0 and when I arrived at work, more then half of the trucks would not start because of the bitter cold. When they finally did start, they went out there and worked their butts off, in temperatures that you probably complained about while walking to your car. Before you say something, let alone write an article, I suggest taking a step back and actually think about what your going to say or write. While they were out in the bitter cold and wind, lifting and throwing heavy and frozen bags and bins, you were sitting in a nice cozy office. Next time temperatures reach the lowest in nearly 25 years, how about you take your laptop and sit outside and write your article out there. I have great respect for sanitation workers. They are out working whether it is 100 degrees or 0 degrees, rain, sleet, ice, snow and wind and do a damn good job, no matter how long it takes them. I’m truly saddened that this was written about the men and women I work with everyday.

  • Jeff

    Agreed with the “adult” opinions – when people were hired they should understand they are being hired not for the brain surgery but for trash collection. And sometimes there is a severe weather out there. But in Philadelphia under leadership of such a Major and with unionized services anything is possible. And the most reasonable answer is: next time you will see our taxes when there will be more respect to the real taxpayers. And one more question: why backyard trash was excluded from city collection? Means City government is trying to parish their taxpayers? Thank you, no more!