Mayor Gray apologizes for old trash cans not being recycled - FOX 35 News Orlando

Mayor Gray apologizes for old trash cans not being recycled

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D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray is trying to clean up a messy trash problem. Residents were overjoyed to receive new recycling cans. But when the city failed to recycle some of the old cans, people became outraged.

On a chilly February morning, Mayor Gray himself delivered the first Supercan to an excited resident in Southeast D.C.

The distribution of these cans was supposed to take many months. But they were out of them before Election Day. Some say the mayor was trying to score points.

“Those who would impute some political motive to this, they need to go back and rethink it,” said Mayor Gray.

But the big problem came when the city didn't pick up the old cans quickly – 70,000 of them. Many of them eventually ended up at a city lot.

But more public outcry came when Bill Howland, the director of the D.C. Department of Public Works, decided thousands of the trash cans didn't need to be recycled. Instead, he ordered them thrown away.

“It was whatever it took to make this story to go away,” said Howland.

It is illegal to not recycle in the District. The Department of Public Works has even issued big fines to people who failed to recycle.

So the question is: Why did the director authorize some of these cans to be incinerated instead of being recycled?

“I regret that this happened and I don't want to send a message to anybody in the city that recycling is unimportant, because it is hugely important,” said Mayor Gray.

In the end, city officials said 93 percent of cans will be recycled. Crews are preparing them by removing wheels and other metal from the old cans.

What began with a smile and people telling the mayor thank you ended with him saying he was sorry for the trouble.

“I'm not happy about the way this has gone,” Mayor Gray said.

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