DPW Chief Happy with Roll Out of Watertown's New Trash, Recycling Program

The new program started Aug. 6, and it worked well for most people, according to DPW Superintendent Gerald Mee.

The roll out of the new trash and recycling program went very smoothly, in the vast majority of cases, Public Works Superintendent Gerald Mee told the Town Council Tuesday night.

Most residents adjusted to the new system during the first week of , Mee said.

“We had roughly 99 percent compliance town wide,” Mee said. “The people of Watertown deserve to be applauded.”

DPW officials followed around the trash and recycling trucks the first week and out of 3,500 pick ups, Mee said, only 15 to 20 used the wrong barrels or put out extra bags.

A few people tried to use the green recycling toter for extra trash space, but Mee said that will not work.

“That is not acceptable,” Mee said. “It is a greater violation than putting extra bags out on the curb.”

If it is not caught before being put into the recycling truck, the trash must be removed by hand.

A few homes had problems with the new system, Mee said.

About a dozen places the trucks had trouble picking up the toters with the mechanical arms.

  • Mee said the toters must be 3 feet from any pole or other object, but they can be 12 inches from other toter.
  • Also, they should be placed near the curb, and not up against a fence or wall to prevent damage to the fence.
  • While no extra bags will be picked up, residents can put two burnable bulk items, such as a couch or mattress, but not something like a metal desk, Mee said.
  • There has been some confusion about how trash and recycling should be put in the toters, Mee said. Trash should be put into bags, but recyclable materials do not need to be in a bag.

Town Councilor Angeline Kounelis, who represents the East End, said she has heard from several people who said they were not sure where to put the toters, because they would block the sidewalk.

If there is not enough room on the sidewalk to place the toters, Mee said people should put it on the street, next to the curb.

Those whose trash was not picked up receive a tag explaining the problem. People who get the tag should call the DPW, Mee said.

“We want to educate, not impose a hardship,” Mee said. “We will do our best to get back to (pick up the trash).”

Town Councilor Cecilia Lenk said she wants the DPW to work with those homes having trouble making the new system work.

“We should get a list of the relatively few problems and see what we can with them,” Lenk said. “I have been in touch with the alderman in Nonantum, and Newton has some interesting ideas.”

Those with old trash barrels or recycling bins can drop them off at the , Mee said. He recommends, however, that people keep the barrels and use them when they put out yard waste to be collected.

People can even pick up extras, he said.

“We have 200 barrels at the DPW,” Mee said. “Anyone who wants a barrel for yard waste can come to the DPW.”

The DPW can be contacted at 617-972-6420.

Rajesh Patel August 15, 2012 at 06:59 PM
ah now i see it is town custom and must be followed thank you
Icortess August 16, 2012 at 12:56 AM
Hi! Am a little confused about putting out furniture. In the flyer we got with the new toters it said furniture was ok, here it now says only burnable items. 1. Someone on the street put out a mattress but it did not get picked up. 2. So any wood furniture would be ok? Thanks!
Charlie Breitrose August 16, 2012 at 12:30 PM
Hi lcortess. At the meeting the DPW Director said only burnable items. I think any wood furniture would be fine. I thought that would include mattresses, too, but perhaps those aren't burnable.
K Wood August 16, 2012 at 02:29 PM
Do you think at some point there will be street parking bans on recycling/trash days? I was unable to put my bins in front of my condo unit because people from across the street had parked in front of my unit. Perhaps we should institute something like snow emergency parking bans on those days.
Charlie Breitrose August 16, 2012 at 02:33 PM
I don't know if there will be street parking bans. I haven't heard any discussion of doing that. You might want to contact your Town Councilor and suggest that.


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