Watertown's New Trash and Recycling Program Begins in August

New trash and recycling toters will be delivered in early July, and the program kicks off in August.

Watertown residents will receive a special delivery in the first two weeks of July when their toters for the new automated trash collection and single stream recycling programs are delivered to their homes.

Tuesday night, Public Works Superintendent Gerald Mee told the Town Council that the new program will begin on Aug. 6, and as part of it each household will receive a 64-gallon trash toter and a 64-gallon recycling toter. The toters have wheels to allow people to push it out to the curb.

The single-stream recycling system means residents can put all recyclables – paper, colored class, cans and plastics – all in the same container. Recycling will be collected every two weeks, Mee said.

Trash will be collected weekly. The 64-gallon toters hold around three to five garbage bags, and no trash will be collected that is not inside the toter. The only exception is bulky items such as furniture and bedding. 

If people are away when the toters are delivered, they will be taken back to the Public Works Facility on Orchard Street after a few days, Mee said. Residents can then pick them up there.

To prevent people from stealing toters or using other people's toters each one will have a serial number which is assigned to a specific address, Mee said.

Town Councilors said they worry about people being confused by the new program. Town Council President Mark Sideris said the trash collection company hired by the town, Republic, promised it would set up education for residents including having a few residents act as testers of the new system.

"I am very concerned about education (for residents about the new system)," Sideris said. "It is May 22 now and we are starting in August."

Mee said he will send an information brochure to all residents in town. In addition, has put up a television screen with information about the new system in Town Hall, and plans to have another in the Senior Center. Information will also be available at the library.

Town Councilor Cecilia Lenk wanted to know what will happen to people's old trash barrels.

"We are planning a rubber barrel recycling day," Mee said. "We are also encouraging people to use them for yard waste so they don't have to use yard waste bags."

More information about the automated trash pickup and single stream recycling program is available on the Department of Public Works Website.

Vinnie Dummerino May 28, 2012 at 05:24 PM
Do 2 families get 2 of everything. This system is absurd if not illegal. how do you trun tenants over who have a lot of trash to get rid of when they mocve, or clean out your own attic, cellar or house. I am 70 and have stairs in front of my house like many if Watertown. I can get trash bags up and down as opposed to this big barrel. Why doesn't the Public Works or Town Council think of these simple and elemenary things. Rationing trash!! Only certain type of flying creatures in Massachusetts. This program is a serious problem for small local landlords, the elderly, and people whose property is not on street level which is a great deal of property in Watertown. And how do you replace these containers if they get broken or stolen and where do you put the trash in the mean time. Well there are several street address i can think of.
Vinnie Dummerino May 28, 2012 at 05:35 PM
This policy is absurd; some weeks i have 1 tash bag other weeks i have 5. What i am support to do with the other 3 (or my tenant) leave them on my property on in front of my house for the aminals to get into. this program is going to create a public health hazard and problem. It also is interfering with 2 family owners ability to conduct their business which i believe is illegal. neither the Public Works department nor the town council have thought this program out; it is a very bad program and like Obama's health insurance program with their demands that I have to use liscenced contractors to do small repairs and jobs on my house to take away small amount of waste from reapirs and so on. I believe a legal injunction is needed against this program and am wondering if there is a public minded attorney in watertown who might be willing to help out and particularly the elderly. Let me know please.
Vinnie Dummerino May 28, 2012 at 05:42 PM
How am i or anyone else suppose to have a children's birthday party in my back yard or a family 4-th of July cook out, both of which will generate more than 3 trashbags of food and other waste that i am suppose to leave festering around for one to three weeks to put out by the town's 3 bag per week schedule to take away. Where is the input from the Board of health and the EPA on all of this, particularly when the town starts finding these tash bags all over time. Seriously, an injunction is needed for this program quickly for the good of Watertown residents. Start looking up the State and Federal Agencies that need to be contacted now.
Vinnie Dummerino May 28, 2012 at 06:02 PM
three trash bags a week!! I pity the families in Watertown with 3 or 4 kids and with the grandparents living with them or 4 adults or roommates living in a house or apartment. Surely the number of tote barrels should be a function of the number of people residing at the address and addresses with more people should have more tote barrels. Really, whose idea was it for 1 tote barrel per address and how wickedly biased and flawed it that??!! who put together this policy (and who has the contract on these barrels). The town collects annual census data. It's computer can generate how many barrels are needed per address relative to the number of people residing at the address. This policy has not been thought out or thoroughly evaluated at all. It is anti-kids, anti-family, anti-elderly and anti-small business person and is requiring residents to purchase services which is illegal or soon will be once the supreme court hands down its verdict. if there is a public minded attorney out there, please contact me.
Vinnie Dummerino May 28, 2012 at 07:03 PM
And wonder if i decided to rewall paper 2 rooms in my house; oops thre goes my 3 bag trash quota for this week. Can't even rewall paper my own house; have to hire a liscenced contractor take the old waller paper away and the scaps from the redo. Residents have not really thought what this policy is going to do to them, nor has it been appraised by a truly independent group. Next, the town is going to create a whole new kind of discriminantion suit when landlaords refuse to take tennants because they will generate too much trash and create health hazards on the property due to the town's ordinance or refuse to renew the leases of those tenants who do ...you know the couple with the 3 kids or 1 kid and the grandparents living with them. As this point is not covered in current discrimination laws the landlord will have the right to do this. Also the tenant who complains to the Board of Health because of all of the garage sitting on the property waiting its week to go out will put the Board of Health in the position of having to cite the town and its ordinance. And of course there is going to be no illegal dumping in Watertown as soon as the absurdities of this policy hit home, and it is going to be interesting in watching the town chase that one right along with all of the dogs, cats, racoons and shunks in particular. Wake up Watertown residents and understand what is coming at you. All of my comments fyi are part of the education program the town council called.
Jean LaRosee May 29, 2012 at 01:19 PM
Where I am supposed to store these large containers and how the heck do I carry them down a flight of stairs, as my home is set up high off the street as many homes are in Watertown. And what about when it snows and there are snow mounds? Where do we put the containers then...in the street? How is my 88 year old mother in law going to get her trash out? This new system is horrible! Shouldn't Watertown citizens have had a say before adopting this!
M C Stringfellow May 29, 2012 at 07:38 PM
Actually, it really works, once you get the hang of it. Crush all cans and plastic containers (make them flat). Break down all boxes and paper products (plates etc). IF you have a garbage disposal use it, throw only that food which cannot be put in the disposer. SPRAY the container with Lysol if you are throwing out food. IT keeps the flies away. and wash or rinse the container after each pick up. Simple rules. The best item I ever used was a compactor. Really cut down on the mess. However, I do agree with Mr Dummerino, difficulties will arise with the elderly and apartment dwellers. So I guess everyone will have to learn to live green and generate less. NOT VERY LIKELY.
Vinnie Dummerino May 29, 2012 at 09:15 PM
You are free to spend you times, days and money that way and work for the town but neither you nor the town can mandate I do the same. I am not trying to be offensive in any way but some of us have lives and things to do other than these kinds of activities as a high priority (or as a preference for how we spend our days) and I do like the mandate to buy a trash compressor; dumping solutions on the taxpayers and residents is not a solution.That your "simple rules" is what you see as a solution is to me part of the problem. Now what is I put 1 bag out each week for 4 weeks and then need to put out 6 how is that deal with given that I've paid for my 3 bags per week. There are 10001 better strategies and solutions to these problems than what is being proposed (with no alternatives) and the view that there is only one way to live green (and how green does one reasonably have to be) and consume less; no one's life is as simple and orderly as the assumptions in this proposal which not not simple but simplistic
zip zen May 29, 2012 at 11:08 PM
the bins are huge and they will hold more then three kitchen trash bags. if your not recycling then shame on you. you will see how much your trash will deminish by doing so. the bins stay out side and you simply bring the bags down to them. not rocket science
terese hammerle May 29, 2012 at 11:18 PM
that's right. Why should I hire a licensed contractor to work on my property? What kind of "special qualifications" could be required to work with HVAC, or electrical systems? So what if there's no oversight as to the disposal of asbestos and neuro- toxins like mercury? What harm can come from just a little mercury in the waste stream?
R_Adams May 30, 2012 at 02:38 PM
Mandate? The town picks up the trash... that's a service, and not the right of every property owner. Some towns don't have this service at all, and you have to cart your trash to the dump, perhaps having to pay for the privilege. Sure we could put it up for some referendum vote or something, and decide by democratic procedure just exactly what is the best way to manage the available funds for trash pickup, but the elected councilors did that for us... that's "representational democracy." Mr. D, not to say you don't have a right to complain but I think it's better directed at the councilors and not the ether of the internet. I for one think there will be alot of stinking trash sitting on the curbs if they are going to be hardline about what fits in what bin on trash day. If that's the case, there will be plenty of noise about it, hopefully directed at the council.
Vinnie Dummerino May 30, 2012 at 06:00 PM
I doubt you live with many people or kids or even sisters like mine for whom 3 trash bags a week each is nothing; recycling is a completely different issue and is not connected really to trash and routine housing/living materials like the wood of old back steps that is the after effect of repairing them so your tenants or family are not hurt and not being able to cut and try this debris up and put it on the curb when you've repaired the steps yourself. if you own or care from a home or piece of property there are little bits of recycling going on all the time if you are keeping it in decent repair.
Vinnie Dummerino May 30, 2012 at 06:06 PM
that it is a service I pay for is the whole point and particularly when i am not getting the service (the problems of light and heavy trash weeks) and no alternatives are provided to me for the service I've paid for such as taking my trash or overage to a town dump or collection center, an alternative NOT in the town's plan which should be. The town and others believe that their plan is being done from the "best of intentions" and reasons to reduce consumption, trash, and improve the environment: all noble things from 100,000 feet up but a nightmare on the implementation and particularly so when it is so flawed for those who have to actually live with it day to day ...but if you are an idealist with good intentions what does that matter and particularly if you get to dictate how your neighbors live and spend their time and money. I know and have some experience with this things and critically assessing these kinds of program and mandates; they rarely work as intended
Vinnie Dummerino May 30, 2012 at 06:12 PM
I agree with expressing problems directly to the council and counselors but we also need to educate others and our neighbors and build grass root and community support for delaying and revising this highly flawed mandate and program until a much better one can be devised that does not have so many negative impacts on so different different kinds of people in different situations that have not been considered. This program is also going to drive rents up in watertown as its costs will and will have be passed on to renters as two family rents margins are already so thin and it will negatively impact the elderly on fixed incomes who will have to purchase associated services: things policy makers and sales people do see from 100,000 feet and particularly when they believe they are doing "good things," which are not so good if you are at group level and on the "getting bagged" end.
Vinnie Dummerino May 30, 2012 at 11:01 PM
Terese, I've been taking care of my 2 family for 40 years and providing decent places for people to live. We do not have HVAC as most people to not, There is a lot of cabling and minor electrical work (replacing a fixture, outlet) that does not require a licensed electrician and I am perfectly capable of tiling a floor or replacing a door jamb but now I have to hire someone to cart the debris away?!! If you are so concerned about mercury you should be storming every legislator at every level you know about the killing of the perfectly good Edison bulb. Those mercury bulbs are going to create a problem worse that lead paint did which is still not cleaned up. It does not take much reflection to understand how bad and unworkable so many of these alleged "good" proposals are and particularly the ones that do not really know how to use statistics in planning. In case you haven't heard, James Lovelock, the founder of the Climate Change/Global warming/Conservation movement has publicly recanted his views and claims and said that they were grossly exaggerated and ignored several factors but that Al Gore's were even worse. People need to understand when things they are not too familiar with or do not understand too well are being used to exploit and manipulate them by those with agendas who are not considering all of the negative and unanticipated consequences of their proposals and claims. Always ask: who benefits and more importantly who does not and always follows the costs.
zip zen May 31, 2012 at 06:45 AM
I have two children and both are in diapers so I would say they produce a good anount of trash and I also own my home. My point is, if you recycle you will dramticly cut down on the amount of trash that needs to go into the trash bin. As for the three bags, I am saying that the new bins would hold at least six kitchen trash bags that are not filled with recyclable material. Six bags of trash a week is perfectly acceptable. And the way I read the article ,each address for a two family will get the bins. Meaning two trash bins and two recycling bins for a two family residence.
M C Stringfellow May 31, 2012 at 02:41 PM
A women with a logical brain. My daughter has six children (lots of diapers in the trash). The city she lived in contracted private service. Two totes per family ( VERY LARGE), pick up one a week. Recycle was optional. Anything that could not be taken by the Company (mostly cardboard and building materials) could be taken to a dumpster provided by the city. These dumpsters were then picked up by another company and the city was paid per pound of contents. I must take all building materials to the landfill myself or pay to have it hauled away after a self-improvement job is complete. Not everyone is going to be happy. Look on the bright side. Your children could help the elderly and disabled by taking the trash out to the curb for them.
Mara June 01, 2012 at 02:41 AM
I'm not sure if people are reading this incorrectly or if I am, so please feel free to correct me. I believe trash will be picked up weekly, as it has been. Recycling toters are now three times larger and will be picked up every two weeks. Some people seem to think trash won't be picked up as often as it is now but I read this article as saying it will be weekly. My recycling does not smell (I rinse the plastic and cans now and paper doesn't rot in that time). Trash barrels we use now are not kept in the house. Put the recycling toter next to them and bring down your recycling just as you bring your trash to the barrel now.
zip zen June 02, 2012 at 03:07 AM
you read it right Mara. its really no big deal. I for one think the town looks horrible with trash bags on the sidewalks not placed in any type of container. Time to class it up a bit Watertown. Think about your neighbors for a change. Mow your lawns, put your trash out on trash day only and for god sakes get a trash can
Vinnie Dummerino June 02, 2012 at 10:27 PM
No matter how you try to side step it assigning one barrel per address rather than using the number of people residing at the address is seriously flawed and will create several difficulties.
Vinnie Dummerino June 02, 2012 at 10:28 PM
how do you think all of that can washing affects water conversation let alone water bills and in the aggregate across the town? just shifting the cost and problem from one place to another.
Vinnie Dummerino June 02, 2012 at 10:30 PM
yes, plese give me more rules to etll me how to live my life so your aesthetic senses will be pleased; ugly is in the eye of the beholder and there are things others consider ugly than trash bags at the curb for awhile.
zip zen June 03, 2012 at 02:51 AM
Looks like the town already did. good luck with the bins.
AHM July 23, 2012 at 11:27 PM
I have an elderly friend who has the same problem. I am trying to find help for her as she will not be able to get the new barrels up the stairs never mind get them back down. She can barely make the stairs on her own. I just found about this amd she is worried about what to do. I am not in Watertown so I hope I can find a senior help place or something.
Charlie Breitrose (Editor) July 24, 2012 at 12:43 PM
AHM, you can contact the Watertown DPW at 617-972-6420, they may be able to help your elderly friend who needs help with the new bins.


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