Tuesday night on the 5th floor of Boston City Hall, over 50 concerned Downtown Boston residents packed a meeting room regarding the upcoming renewal of the Boston Public Works Trash and Recycling Contract. Matthew Maryl, the Chief of Staff for the Public Works Department led the meeting with slides laying out the facts, numbers, goals, and the bidding process. Frank O’Brien from the Public Works Department along with Rob DeRosa, the Superintendent for Waste Reduction, were on hand to help further explain the bidding process and address concerns. PWD also made a video on Boston Trash.
The presentation explained that there are currently three trash collections a week, and a weekly recycling pick up in the North End neighborhood. They then went through how the overall trash system works, the City’s goals for the next five year contract, and they wanted to get residents’ concerns.
Facts & Statistics:
60 trucks circle the city every day and touch 300,000 households of Boston every week
650 total tons of trash on the sidewalk in the morning; gone by the time they get home
Recycling 46,000 tons of year. Only 20% of household refuse is recycled
$40.2 million in annual costs in FY2013
22.1 – million for collection expense
18.1 million for disposal expenses
City Councilor Sal LaMattina & State Representative Aaron Michlewitz were on hand to help address local issues and concerns. “The trash looks messy, it attracts rodents, and it’s left there in some cases, all day,” said Representative Michlewitz. “The trash needs to be put out appropriately, and it cannot be left on the street – this has to be addressed in the new contract, its one of the biggest issues we face.”
The Bidding Process Timeline is as follows:
January 2014 – disposal contracts bid out
Mar 2014 – collection contracts bid out
April 2014 – bidding process is closed
Summer 2014 – new contract begins
Public Works asked for feedback on how to better align trash and recycling collection schedules downtown. Whether it was three trash pickups and one recycling pickup a week, or would it be better to have 2 trash, and 2 recycling pickups per week? Lastly, Public Works wants know your level of interest in future food waste diversion. (Click Here for Survey)
They want to maintain service quality – July 1st, new contract in place, they need to maintain the trash service of garbage on the street when people leave for work, and when they come home the garbage is gone and the sidewalks are clean. They also stressed the necessity to promote recycling & reduce the amount of waste. They are also looking for feedback on the possibility of extending the amount of yard waste collections. Currently, there are 11 weeks annually for additional yard waste collections, new contract could allow for 4 more additional weeks.
The floor was then open for questions. Questions ranged from just about everything and anything related to trash issues in the city: residents questioned where the source of food waste was mostly coming from, whether trash should be allowed to be placed on the sidewalk from 5pm – 7am (14 hours a day – 42 hours a week maximum).
There were concerns of people put out trash either too early, too late, or on off days. Some residents suggested having same day trash pickup between 6am – 9am. Concerns of overnight trash sitting out raised issues of public health and the issue of rodents, and trash pickers digging through the trash. In additions, there were concerns about Christmas tree pick-ups closer to the day of Christmas. Residents also asked what could be done about move out weekends, especially around the first weekend of September. Many North End Residents expressed their concerns of absentee landlords not taking the responsibility to educate tenants on when and where to take the garbage out properly.
For additional information and to submit comments, please contact Frank O’Brien of Boston PWD at Frank.O’Brien@cityofboston.gov.
*The on-line survey is available at www.cityofboston.gov/publicworks. Hard copies are also available at local branches of the Boston Public Libraries. Click Here