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.