La Crosse cracks down on improper trash disposal

The city of La Crosse is starting to hand out tickets to people who don’t follow a new ordinance that went into effect in June.

There are several changes included in the ordinance, but the big one is all trash bags must now be placed in containers for pick up.For trash collectors with Harter’s Quick Clean up, it’s a safer alternative.

“Bags that contained anything from hypodermic needles to broken glass; it’s just a lot safer to have it in a can,” said Jamie Forschler, a trash collector.

Slowly but surely, Forschler is seeing a change in the community.

“I just don’t have to pick up 60 to 70 loose bags of trash anymore, [I] don’t have to rake up the ground,” said Forschler. “[I] just dump a can and leave.”


The new ordinance now requires all La Crosse residents to place trash into covered containers no larger than 48 gallons. Trash and recycling containers also cannot be set out more than 12 hours before collection and containers must be returned to storage the same day as collection.

The new ordinance is an effort to clean up the city and keep everyone safe.

“Rodents are getting into them,” said Brandon Shea, recycling coordinator and street supervisor for the city of La Crosse. “They’re getting broken into and garbage is flying everywhere, so it’s becoming a health concern, and nobody wants to look at it.”

Anything that doesn’t meet the requirements won’t get picked up.

Shea said about 75 percent of residents have made the switch from bags to cans.

Residents who don’t follow the ordinance could face a citation and fine of nearly $180. So far, the city has received a little more than a dozen complaints and has issued nine citations.

“We don’t go out looking for these things,” said Shea. “It’s complaint-based or as we see them in passing. I can’t see everything every day, so there’s probably more out there that I can’t see, so that’s where resident complaining really helps me out.”

Yard waste must also be in trash cans or in approved paper waste bags.

Residents are allowed to keep trash containers in approved racks and pads as long as they’re well kept and the containers have lids on them at all times.

Electronics are banned from trash collection. Residents could face a fine starting at $500 for improperly disposing of electronics.

A complete list of all the changes included in the ordinance can be found on the city’s website.