Lawsuit Accuses City of St. Louis of Illegally Charging for Suspended Recycling Services

A recent lawsuit filed against the City of St. Louis alleges that the city has not resumed recycling pickups and is illegally charging property owners for services it does not provide. The suit, filed by a Chesterfield resident who owns property in the city, claims that the city has been routinely depositing recycling into trash trucks even before the suspension of the program in 2021.

According to the lawsuit, anyone who signs up for water service in St. Louis is automatically signed up for trash service, which comes with a $14 monthly fee. The city’s marketing materials state that this fee includes “single stream recycling services” for all residents. However, the suit claims that the city has yet to resume recycling pickups and has been charging property owners for services they are not receiving.

The lawsuit cites a Riverfront Times article from December 2022, in which residents reported seeing trash trucks pick up their recycling bins. The suit alleges that the city may not unilaterally suspend services indefinitely and still charge customers for services it chooses not to provide.

The suit was filed by Daniel Orlowsky and Adam Goffstein in the St. Louis circuit court and seeks class action status for all property owners who have paid the $14 monthly fee in the past five years.

City spokesman Nick Dunne has previously stated that the city only combines recycling and trash pickups when the recycling bins have been “contaminated.” However, the lawsuit references residents who have witnessed drivers loading the contents of the city’s distinctive blue recycling bins into trash trucks without checking for contamination first.

The lawsuit argues that the city is participating in a proprietary function and cannot unilaterally suspend services while still charging customers for them. It seeks to hold the city accountable for charging property owners for services they did not receive.

We reached out to Dunne for comment but have not yet received a response. The lawsuit highlights the importance of transparency and accountability in city services and the need for the city to resume recycling pickups for the benefit of both the environment and its residents. 

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