Salem St Trash - Dec 28 2013
Leaky trash pile on Salem Street

If you haven’t heard by now you must be under a pile of trash. We have a serious issue that needs our immediate attention. 

Our city streets are littered with trash. The problem is real and can be attributed to:

  • trash allowed on the streets overnight,
  • trash pickers ripping garbage bags open,
  • rodents gnawing and feasting, and
  • collectors flinging open bags onto the trucks.

We can also point fingers at transient renters who just don’t care and absentee landlords who are not providing their tenants with the trash rules and regs. Okay, I can go on and on as we all have for 20 years.

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But enough is enough! The definition of insanity is to repeat the same action over and over and expect a different outcome. So let’s try something new!

We have an unique opportunity in the next couple of weeks to let our City officials know of our dissatisfaction on this issue. The North End / Waterfront, Beacon Hill, Bay Village, South End, Chinatown are unified for the first time in our City’s history on this subject. We also have a solution which is a totally DIFFERENT approach and will serve the needs of all these neighborhoods.

“Same Day Trash Pick-Up”

Residents will be allowed to put their trash on the Street from 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. only, with trash collection beginning promptly after 9 a.m.

This may not be the perfect solution but it elevates 70% of the issues mentioned and it is a start!

Please help us in our fight to keep our precious neighborhood clean.

Join us on March 3rd, 6:30 p.m. City Hall, City Council Chambers on the 5th Floor
(View the hearing notice and how to testify or comment).

We need all the support we can get.

By the way, take a look at the STATE SANITATION CODE below. Shocked?

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32 COMMENTS

  1. Sounds great…what about people who are already gone for work at 6am? Or people who work late nights? If you get home at 2-3am, 6-9am is not a reasonable time.

      • John. I really doubt that people would rather have dirty streets. We are trying to find a solution. In suburbia it is easier because there are bins for both recycling and garbage. There is not room on our streets for these huge containers. We would be faced with a sea of bins left on the streets for days.

      • I wouldn’t rather have dirty streets, but I’d like an opportunity to dispose of my trash. What is the option for those people? I feel like 6-9AM is VERY limiting. I understand not wanting it there the night before. What about 3AM-9AM? That way you are past the time people come home from the bars and put it out the night before, but you still allow people who leave early put their trash out.

        I think the biggest problem here is not people who want to throw trash on the ground at all hours, but the fact that the window that you can put trash out needs to be big enough that people who have a job with unconventional hours can still throw out their trash. It would be nice if your snotty comments were directed at people you were fighting against, not people who are on your side.

  2. This neighborhood needs more trash receptacles on the streets for the public. And the amount of cigarette butts littering the streets needs to be contended with by every restaurant and cafe placing a cigarette depository outside. The potted plants and trees are not depositories!

  3. How many of the college kids everyone rants about are up that early to take out the trash? There’s no enforcement of the rules now. If that remains the case this new proposed policy, while well intended, may backfire.

  4. Boston needs a recycle program like in other cities where trash and recycle bins are provided along with a schedule of pickup days for the various types of trash. All trash is recycled.

    • We had recycle bins, but passers by would use them for general trash discard and by the time you get home they would be full of Dunkin Donut cups and food bags. Many of the bins would never leave the street and would be all over the place until the were overflowing with trash.

  5. The most important thing is enforcement. The fines have to be a lot higher than what they are
    to reach present & absentee landlords. It is always the same buildings that are in violation, so
    how effective are the present fines, and who knows if these fines are even being paid. What
    proof do we have? Think about it. Roxie has a good point, but I hope there is someone she
    knows in her apt. bldg. who will be more than happy to lend a helping hand & take her trash
    out at the appropriate time and maybe she in turn can return the favor. Where there is a Will,
    there is a Way. Our streets are disgusting, it isn’t fair for the Residents or Restaurant Owners.
    Trash Fines should be like Parking Tickets, if you don’t pay the Fine, then you are inconvenienced
    by going to Court, that should get every Landlord’s Attention. Hit them in the Pocket & Hit them
    HARD, and then the Landlord in turn can impose the Fine on the Tenant who is responsible.
    Cameras are the best defense any Landlord could have to correct most of the problems we are
    dealing with in the Neighborhood. Cameras should not be concerned an Option, it is a
    Necessity, if you want to own Property, especially in this Neighborhood.

  6. I have a guy in my building that I know works during those hours. If this happened, he would have to leave the trash in the lobby for someone else to take out. So instead of the street being dirty, my lobby will smell and I have to carry out someone else’s trash.

    So are you proposing everyone who is at work those hours moves out of the North End or will their neighbors be stuck with the responsibility of their trash?

    • I guess this gives the trash pickers fewer hours to work with, but I am doing same day collection now and still see them picking the trash as soon as it hits the curb. I agree with the no enforcement comments. We have pretty weak enforcement of the existing rules, why would anyone adhere to the new rules.

    • I’m with you. We don’t have a lobby (just a tiny tiny tiny hallway/stairs) and I live on the 5th floor. Most of the floors are taken up by a restaurant. My options are to throw trash outside at 4:30AM and get a ticket or to have my 60 year old neighbor not be able to get down the stairs or open our front door unless he takes my trash out? The window of time needs to be enough that people with unconventional hours can still put their trash out. The enemy is the people throwing trash out at all hours, not the schoolteachers with early hours who happen to work during the three hour window.

  7. I think those are great hours and while they will not work for everyone but will probably work for the majority of the people who live in the neighborhood. Maybe for the very early birds you can move the time to 5 AM. There is always going to be someone who those hours do work for however, they need to find a way to make it work. The trash and rodents on the streets at night is disgusting and some people start putting out trash on Friday night for Monday morning. I have seen this on Salem St. People need to make an effort if they want to have clean streets.

    • People who put trash out Friday night for Monday morning are not the ones that will be punished with this new rule. They obviously don’t even pay attention to the old rules and this one won’t change anything. Your concern should be enforcement of the current rules.

  8. The problem is~~~ even when this bill gets passed~~~We Need ENFORCEMENT !!! All the laws in the book mean NOTHING unless they are enforced !! We do have a Green Law~~~remember that ??? How much did the City collect from that bill being passed or the loud party disturbing the peace fines ? My guess is NOTHING !!!!
    This Bill could work~~~As long as the City teaches a lesson to those who do not follow the rules !! I agree with North End Landlord !

    • Seriously? So, in the over crowded prisons there should be Aaron Hernandez, Whitey Bulger and John Q. Trash Picker… makes sense

      • I was thinking more along the lines of a ticket. We also don’t know if any of them are also taking personal information (bank statements, etc.) they discover in addition to the cans. I’ve saw someone’s bank statement blowing down Salem St. a couple weeks ago, which probably came from a bag of trash that was torn open.

        • you know that it was a trash picker and not some lazy resident who put his/her trash out in a paper bag how? Most of the trash pickers are doing this because they NEED the money they get from collecting cans and bottles returned for the deposit. Now you want them to come up with $ to pay a ticket?

  9. This largely will be about effort to actually want clean streets. When you see the transient renters who don’t pick up after their pets and knowingly leave trash out when they don’t need to, that’s often a matter of effort and entitlement, not lack of regulation. That said, effort and regulation are often both required.

    • I fixed it for you: “This largely will be about effort to actually want clean streets. When you see some transient renters and some life long North Enders who don’t pick up after their pets and knowingly leave trash out when they don’t need to, that’s often a matter of effort and entitlement, not lack of regulation. That said, effort and regulation are often both required.”

  10. I totally agree with the need for enforcement. When I first moved here in 2009 (cleveland place), neighbors in our building were ticketed fairly regularly for putting the trash out at the wrong times. I was 24, new to the city, from the suburbs where trash wasn’t an issue and honestly didn’t know the rules. The landlord/realtor never mentioned a word about it. It was an effective policy – we heard about the fines and learned the rules very quickly and followed them. I haven’t heard a word about anyone being fined in this neighborhood in about 3 years and I have many friends here of varying levels of responsibility. Not one fine.

    I’d like to know how many people the city has tasked with enforcement of the north end trash policies currently. I’m guessing that number is 0 based on what I’ve seen. Regardless of what laws/regulations they pass, if it’s not enforced it won’t be effective. That said, I applaud the efforts of those involved with this push for changes. They may not be perfect for every resident but I honestly think they’re for the best overall.

  11. Let’s put it this way, something has to change and soon. The North End is a relatively small area with a lot of residences and people. It might be difficult for every unit to have a heavy duty plastic receptacle or two for trash & recycling but it would be better than plastic bags on sidewalks 52 weeks a year. It’s not 1914, it’s 2014 and someone can figure out a solution that will benefit everyone.

  12. Toni,I know you have personally put in a lot of time & effort on this issue over the years & I’m curious if you think that the issue of trash & filthy streets has gotten worse over say the last 20 years?

    • When neighborhoods are inhabited by long term residents, people tend to take care of them. However, when a neighborhood is inhabited mostly by people who want to live there for a few years before moving on, perhaps there’s less interest in taking care of the surroundings. One thing is for sure, the demographics have certainly changed.

    • Hello Michaeld, Sadly yes, and I think that over the last 5 years it has gotten to be a serious heath and well-being emergency. I understand my suggestion doesn’t work for everyone but neither does the current rule. We have to do something. To sit by and just complain will not make things better. I urge all of you who care and are trying to help move forward, to attend the March 3rd meeting at City Hall. Let the new administration hear us…
      But I also ask that we try to make a statement in some orderly fashion so they don’t tune us out. In the past, these meetings have a tendency to get out of hand at which point nothing gets accomplished. That is why a petition works. One voice! We can make this happen if we stick together this time.

  13. It all comes down to enforcement. You would think the enforcement would pay for itself with the tickets they would write. The Mayor’s office (like the one before it) doesn’t want to deal with the administration.

    Plus, they need more trash cans (which are always overflowing on weekends) and people walking around and sweeping up – just look outside the Men’s club on Fleet St, a million cigarette butts, it’s not hard or overly complicated.

  14. I still think enforcement is not practical by any means with the current system. We can’t keep clamoring for enforcement when the budget to support it and the effectiveness of it is just not there. It would require an army of people constantly patrolling the neighborhood and I’m willing to bet that the percentage of illegal trash that contains personally identifiable information is not that high (cases of empty beer cans, pizza boxes,take out dregs and furniture are good examples). I know that it has not been a popular suggestion in the past, but most cities in Europe have already solved this problem by placing large dumpsters in areas where people can put their trash at any time of day. Yes, there are sacrifices to be made (loss of parking spaces for one), but it works. Having said that, I support trying this new hours regulation. Anything has got to be an improvement over the current state of things.
    Thanks you, Toni and Sal for putting so much into this!

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