Health & Environment

Take the Poll: Is Trash Removal Better or Worse?

Residents representing various downtown Boston neighborhood associations (covering the North End, South End and Beacon Hill) will soon be meeting with representatives from the Public Works Department and the CEO of Sunrise Scavenger, Joe Lombardi, to talk about the waste management / trash removal / recycling removal environment in our neighborhoods.

As you may know, Sunrise Scavenger took over the contract for all downtown Boston neighborhoods in July 2014. Following up on a series of meetings we held prior to the current contract going into effect, the upcoming meeting will cover trash and recycle pick-up and timing, specific neighborhood issues, what we can do to improve the overall trash management environment and in general continue our helpful dialogue with the Public Works Department on this issue.

It would be especially helpful to have reactions / comments / suggestions from North End residents. We are interested in hearing about what is going well, what has improved since the new contractor started and what areas still require some work / focus / improvement. We would appreciate candid, constructive comments from North End residents that we can pass along to our friends in the Public Works Department, as well as the contractor.

Vote in the poll above and let us know your thoughts in the comments section below. If there are specific issues, please provide location and other data that will help to identify where the issues are occurring.

Thanks in advance for your cooperation.
David Marx
North End Public Safety Committee Chair

47 Replies to “Take the Poll: Is Trash Removal Better or Worse?

  1. as long as residents are allowed to put out their trash on the sidewalk 12+ hours before it is picked up, there will continue to be an unnecessary trash issue in the north end. the idea that residents do not have two minutes to take out their trash in the morning is absurd.

    1. Thank you, My point for years! I still hold the document with over a 1000 signatures in agreement. Why were we ignored?

  2. I live near a few restaurants and the cacaphony of daily trash and bottle collection at 5 AM wakes me up pretty consistently and is my biggest gripe.

    Also, leaving trash outside all night is a surefire way to feed the rat population of the north end. I agree we should consider switching to a morning-of schedule to minimize the wakeup noise and the overnight rodent buffet.

    1. I agree-this is really awful and a huge disturbance! Sometimes they come even earlier than 5 AM, and not only are the bottles loud but the trash collectors yell, which echoes in back alleys. Last night they left their truck running for about 15 minutes between 5:30 and 6am. I hope something can be done about this as I’m sure it affects many residents in the neighborhood.

  3. Previously, trash pickup was Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Now, it’s just Monday and Friday. Two days a week DOES seem like enough. However, the gap between Monday and Friday is too long. It seems to make more sense to have pickups spaced more evenly: say, Tuesday and Friday, or Monday and Thursday.

    As well, I would dearly love to see more public trash cans, particularly in the parks. Multiple times, I’ve done my own trash pickup throughout Puopolo and Langone Parks, because the mess was just horrible. Having more trash cans available could only help. More cans would also provide a place to put the trash that does wind up on the streets. Often I walk past trash on the groundwhich I’d throw out, if I had a place to put it. (I don’t know who services the few cans that do exist – I believe it’s actually the city, so Sunrise may not be able to assist on this.)

    I can’t say I agree that it’s “absurd” to not have two minutes to take out the trash between say 5 and 7 AM, before pickup. Not everyone works a 9-5 job, and even those who do may not be up before 7. I dislike the crowded sidewalks the night before trash pickup too, but forcing everyone to put the trash out in the early AM does not seem viable to me.

  4. Trash pick up is too late in the morning, and most weeks, recycling is out there until early afternoon. This makes our neighborhood look messy. (also more people have time to open the bags.) I I also don’t like the two day pick up. Excess trash is now being stored in units or basements between Monday and Friday mornings.

  5. I don’t have an issue with the 2x a week, but think it is not the smartest decision to have the pick up on Monday and Friday.

    What happens when you take off for a long weekend and leave boon on a Thursday and come back Monday morning?

    I took a long weekend to the west coast and didn’t take into account the trash schedule (nor should I for such a short trip) and ended up not being able to take my trash out for an extended period and when I did….

    It stunk to all holy high h e double hockey sticks when I got back… Perfect for the rats.

  6. Not having trash three times a week is a real problem especially in the summer when trash smells up small apartments. That is my main problem we need to go back to three times a week

    Second problem: I agree with someone else’s comments about the time it sits on the curb before it is picked up. I’ve put it out at 7 AM and it is not picked up until 11 AM on occasion by that time it’s wind blown all over the streets and bags are ripped open.

    I do think residents need to be mindful of tying up ALL bags and not putting open brown shopping bags with recycling in and out on the curb. 99% of the time it falls over and rolls down the street before it’s even picked up .

    Bottom line I’ve noticed more debris on the streets all week lobg in my section of the neighborhood.

  7. I also wanted to comment that sometimes on Prince st the recyable said are not picked up before 2 or 3… This is a Main Street for tourists . I wonder what they think about the sidewalks cluttered… Looks terrible!

  8. 2 x a week has failed. Trash and recyclables are on the street into the afternoon. People and tourists alike walk over it…the streets are dirtier than ever, as well as the sidewalks. Let’s give a college hurrah for a nice try by Public Works Department!

  9. nothing has really improved with the new trash collectors and the new days for pick up.
    “Sunrise” should change their name to “Mid-morning” or “Late day” Scavengers because they are not here at 5 am as one person claimed.
    Trash is still put out in (T-Shirt) bags i.e. CVS bags by some residents
    Trash is collected well into the morning causing a cluster %^%$#$%^ of traffic that never happend with the last company
    Trash is still picked through by the real Sunrise Scavengers for the nickles and the City doesn’t see that as a problem

    One thing that has greatly improved is the amount of time the City has to write GREEN TICKETS before the trash guys come.

    Rodent complaints have increased in the buildings because tenants are holding trash longer and leaving it in their hallways etc.

    Sunrise can do better
    The City can Do better
    We as residents can do better

    Educating the new residents of the do and don’ts of trash is not a priority for the city

    Tickets are the city’s main concern

  10. The more things change, the more they stay the same. Same old problem. As long as people don’t give a damn. Changing the hours of curb time and tickets won’t fix the problem. As it stands now, people dump trash at their convenience, rules and regulations have no effect. One idea, is put the trash fines list on-line and make it publicly available. The other is when you see someone put their trash in front of your place, follow them and take it up with their landlord. Take a picture and put it on this board. We have a good neighbor award; let’s have a bad neighbor award. Also, shorten the eviction process so we can get “don’t give a damn” people out.

  11. Sunrise Scavengers is not the problem. The tenants just don’t care, and the landlords or owners of the property don’t check on them, or they just don’t care. The fine is small compared to the rent they take in. The fines have to be raised and collected. Hit them hard in the pocket.Trash is sometimes put out after it’s picked up on Monday and it remains there all week. Bring back Wednesday or make it Tuesday and Friday. Also the recyclers rip open the bags and the trash ends up all over the sidewalk. If you look down Endicott, Prince or any street you’ll see trash bags out on Saturday mornings.

  12. While I agree that ticketing should be a deterrent for putting trash out early, unfortunately those doing it are one step ahead and put their in trash in front of another building. The enforcement folks don’t look for identification anymore, but instead just ticket the building where the trash is found. Very frustrating.

  13. Putting trash on the street more often will only make the problem more frequent. Residents can and should be able to adjust. 2x is plenty. There’s an argument to change it to Mon/Thurs or Tues/Fri, but a 3rd day won’t help. Monday/Thurs I feel makes the most sense, catching the weekend after on Monday and before the heavier tourist traffic hits on Thursday morning. But it’s is a noticeable difference not seeing trash bags every other day, and that needs to be recognized.

    If we could make it morning of only, then that would win my vote. Again, the fewer hours trash is exposed to the elements, the better.

    As for the contractor, force a schedule or find another. The contract for a job such as this should need to be renewed every year. This is the only way to keep them honest. If the problem persists, I’m sure there’s another who’s willing to make it work.

  14. The trash situation has not improved because the City could careless and if they really did care all
    those signatures would have meant something. The North End looks like the City Dump and
    the Enforcement is “1” Big Joke. How do you think the Mayor would react if all this trash was
    thrown on City Hall Steps? Do you think he would get it? What are our elected politicians doing?
    Is there any politicians who can fight for our rights out there? The fines are not high enough and
    what proof do we have that these landlords are paying the fines on their real estate taxes. The
    Trash Violators always seem to be on the same streets, in front of the same buildings. You can
    bet your life these are absentee landlord buildings. Hit them in the pocket with an extravagant fine &
    just maybe they might come to attention. Cameras play a big role in keeping track of violators, The
    City, if they do nothing else, should make it mandatory that every property owner should have cameras
    to try and track down who is trashing the neighborhood and not following the rules & regulations.
    I don’t think this is too much to ask for. If you want to own property, and if you truly care about the
    neighborhood I think the cameras are a necessity, especially when the property owner is never,
    ever present.

  15. Danger – another aspect of litter in the streets. Mothers with carriages and people with walkers need to by- pass the garbage on sidewalks and take to the streets. Dangerous.
    Look, the City has tried a system and now they want our opinion. That is fair. They DO care.

  16. I made the suggestion to our City Council Representative two years ago that trash cans or baskets be put on every block. Nothing was done. It is impossible to keep the sidewalks and gutters clean if the general public has no place to throw their dirty wrappers and/or cigarette butts.

    A survey should be taken locating and accounting for each and every trash can. For example, there is absolutely NO place to throw refuse between Starbucks at Lewis Wharf and the corner of Battery St. Why not?

    I hope this will help make a good idea become reality

    1. two years ago? i think he was busy running for register of probate. promise to emblazon the trash can’s with sal’s face and a “vote for sal” banner, and you might get somewhere. its much easier to hand out donuts to grandmothers than it is to tackle serious issues such as trash, noise, and parking. maybe the north end needs some fresh blood in city hall.

    2. I agree with this suggestion. There are trucks that are compatible with the barrels, see the video below. This will not work if there are cars on the side of the roads unfortunately but with that being said maybe there are designated areas on the street where these barrels exist. The trash company will have responsibility for putting the barrels out the night before and then picking them up after collection. I realize there are a lot of challenges to this plan but it will help with the loose trash/rodent issue and picking through trash.

      1. Can you imagine our streets lined with trash barrels….the type that are compatible with the trucks?
        It is bad enough to see them in the suburbs. AND, I wonder if tenants would bring them in, where?
        The basement? The foyer? Nice suggestions Greg, but it won’t work.

        1. My key point was that scavenger/the trash company put the barrels out and picks them up – its city run not building managed.

  17. Theres no reason that trash should be allowed to put out as early as 5pm the night BEFORE trash pickup. Most of the year it is still light out at 5pm, and for those few winter months where it goes unnoticed its not as much as a concern, its forgot about.

    Working late or not, there is no reason that trash cannot be taken out before 7am on the day OF trash pickup. There will always be people that think 4:30pm the night before is fine, and right behind them are the people that think that 3:30pm the night before is fine as well.

    1. No reason? Really. I work night shift 7PM to 7AM. I leave for work at 6PM and get home about 8AM. I don’t always work into Friday or Monday mornings but often do. The ONLY time I can put my trash out those days is 5-6PM the night before. Just so you know.

  18. I have experienced the same issue as Kelly- people putting their trash in front of my house. I have received many tickets because of this, since no one checks to see whose trash it is. I have even observed cars stopping and throwing out trash. This system is patently unfair, and does nothing to stop the real trash culprits. It is frustrating to be a responsible landlord and constantly get tickets for the trash from the irresponsible tenants, nearby (especially the many college students).

    1. I was getting tickets that would have gone to the place next door and were for some reason being put on my door. There is a number on the ticket that you can call and appeal your ticket. I was successful in getting them expunged. Try calling this number. If this happens regularly, try and take a picture of the front of your house after everyone has put out their trash. I did this over Christmas when everyone in the building was gone but me and yet trash grocery bags appeared. I appealed and was given an email address to send my pictures too. This was successful too. Point is that the trash department isn’t surprised when this happens and realize there is nothing that they can do to stop most of this (some of the stuff is pure non traceable garbage). I was able to explain my plight and they were sympathetic.

      I mean this to be helpful, but you might try to call the number appearing on the ticket to see whether you can get the situation fixed or at least avoid fines.

    2. on occasion I have seen a zipcar van going up the street with 1 person driving and 1 putting trash in front of multiple buildings while going up the street. they go so fast you can’t get a picture of them. it’s usually around midnight the night before trash pickup. my point is someone is dumping their trash in the North End. I don’t think it’s a local, too much trash.

  19. need to go back to 3X a week. recycling is picked up in the afternoon, this is too late, by the time it is picked up people walking by have added their own litter or garbage to the pile. Doesn’t matter what time the garbage is put out, rats are smart they will just adjust their schedule. Sea gulls, and garbage pickers are another problem. Sorry but I do not have a solution for garbage pickers, maybe a see through bag can be used for cans, clothing, etc. and they can just take the whole bag. One other problem can be addressed, when a garbage bag breaks while it is being thrown into the truck, the employee throwing the bag should pick up what he has dropped

  20. Jamison, I beg to differ with you. The City does not care, because if they did, we would not be
    having this discussion. Where there is a will there is a way. What improvements have been
    made, they cut out a trash day. The town of Winthrop has trucks that eliminate trash & recycling.
    The trash is disposed of on one side of the truck & the recycling is disposed of on the opposite side of the
    truck, therefore, the operation is handled at the same time. The operation is called single stream
    waste management. We do
    need new blood up city hall, because these people had more than their fair share of time to come
    up with a solution, other than eliminating a trash day. I understand that Switzerland is by far, the
    most immaculate Country in the World, has anyone looked into what they are doing? Jamison
    if residents sound sarcastic & nasty, it is because we have been shoveling you know what against
    the tide for far too many years. The City has been insulting the Residents’ Intelligence long enough.
    The cameras will reveal the culprits and then it is up to the landlord or property manager to proceed
    with an eviction notice for the tenants who are not complying with the Trash Ordinance. The City
    can give a Tax Deduction for the operation of the cameras.

  21. One thing I’ve noticed is that late at night when all the trash has been put out, an Asian woman will walk around opening/tearing up trash bags in search of cans/recyclables to take. Sometimes she is joined by other people.

    They leave the bags torn open when they leave, which leads to dirtier streets and makes it easier for rats to access the garbage.

    1. There are Asian people and Hispanic people and Caucasian people including a few that live in the North End who search for cans and clothing and discarded household items all night and early in the morning until they see the trash trucks coming. There are dozens of them all over the North End and many more all over Boston. Putting trash out in the morning will not stop it. Some of these people will adjust their schedules to new trash times. Getting rid of the can and bottle deposit is the only thing that will stop this problem and that is not going to happen anytime soon if at all.
      I have found that if you ask them to not rip open the bags and/or to tie them up again many of them will do it. Some will teach you a new foreign language vocabulary word but the majority will do what you ask.

  22. I’m very happy with the 2X weekly pick up. Most of my trash is recyclable (probably true for most people), so I love being able to put it out twice a week. Sometimes I’ll go over a week without putting actual trash out. Other than that, I have not noticed a change in service. I do think that 5PM is too early to put trash out, though. Maybe 8PM the night before? I agree that the trash pickers who rip the bags open are a problem and they make the neighborhood very messy.

  23. I remind my tenants quite often to put trash out in the morning. Sometimes it works & sometimes it doesn’t! What is truly bothersome is the fact that I take the time to use my recycle bins and For two weeks now they left the bins full!! I call the mayor’s hot line and they send someone back to empty the bins. I don’t get it! Monday past I approached one of the pick up men and asked him why this continues to happen on Snowhill st specifically in front of my house. His answer”because of the movie filming!” Not a good enough reason! It’s really embarrassing for me to see tourists photographing our lovely neighborhood littered with trash that has been left behind ! Truly disappointed with this present vendor!!

  24. I think the 2x a week pick up, both with recycling has worked well. Our streets are still dirtier than I believe they should be. We need manual street cleaning regularly just because of the high traffic and density of our area. I was surprised that this current vendor cancelled pick up a few times last winter. Even with all the snow we had, they cancelled much more readily than our old provider did (which was, I recall, never). Basically, I think the new trash schedule works but we still have a big cleanliness problem in the North End.

  25. I much prefer the new schedule of 2 garbage and 2 recycling collections per week, compared to 3 garbage and 1 recycling.

  26. Everyone has valid opinions. The issue is not the number of trash days, it is the residents that throw the trash out whenever
    they want and do not comply with the rules. The City has to step up to the plate and the fines have to be higher. The only
    way you find out who these culprits are is the use of Cameras. C A M E R A S. The City has to enforce the Cameras,
    especially when it is the same buildings & streets. This is not Rocket Science. This could not be made any easier.
    Cameras tell the story. Our streets are disgusting & getting worse everyday. I personally think the biggest problem is lack of
    enforcement & laziness on the City’s part.

    1. That makes zero sense. Do you understand the amount of fines they would have to generate just to cover the cost of the cameras and installation. Not to mention the overhead associated with them. Please the are much more constructive ways for they city to use its funds.

      1. Former Salem Resi, Please let us get 1 thing straight. I don’t expect the city to go for the
        expense of cameras, I expect the property owners to pick up the expense. The City, if nothing
        else, should pursue this suggestion. Those that want to own proper have to make it their
        business who is trashing our neighborhood. Absentee Landlords are the biggest culprits, they
        could careless. The City should make it MANDATORY that all property owners should have
        cameras, if not, they have no business owning property. This has been an ongoing serious
        problem & in my opinion, the CAMERAS will tell the TRUTH. The City can send inspectors
        out to see who has Cameras, especially in the ongoing problem areas of this neighborhood.
        The Cameras are Very Affordable, especially with some of the rents these landlords are getting
        for dumps.

        1. Please tell me how you think these cameras are affordable. That claim is rediculous. And what a law that every property must have a camera? For what purpose? I mean be realistic here

  27. Need to go back to 3x per week. Way, way, WAY too much trash on sidewalks at one time with the 2 day schedule. Also, need to keep fining those who put trash out in paper or grocery bags. Using several flimsy small bags instead of one large durable bag just adds to the mess!!
    So, overall, things are worse!!

  28. Margo, Trust me when I tell you, they could have trash pick up 7 days a week and they would still
    put the trash out after the trash trucks leave. The problem is the people living in these buildings
    with no regard for the neighborhood or rules & regulations, especially absentee landlord properties.

  29. trash pick up should have been delayed a day for Christmas- not cancelled! There has not been trash pick up in the North End for an entire week. I have visitors in town and the neighborhood looks terrible- trash was put out by many in the cancelled day and has sat there ever since. Very bad management decision. Again, under the old contractor, trash pick up was almost never cancelled and was never left for an entire week. I support twice a week pick up but not if this is a potential outcome.

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