Community Health & Environment

Community Chat: North End Trash Pickup [Video]

This is the third year since the trash collection schedule changed in the North End and many of the Downtown Boston neighborhoods. In July 2014, a new 5-year city contract with Sunrise Scavengers eliminated Wednesday’s trash pickup, and moved to a 2+2 plan with recycling and trash collection on both Mondays and Fridays.

The North End / Waterfront Neighborhood Council (NEWNC) recently heard from Frank O’Brien at Boston Public Works on how the changes are working out. The intent was to increase the recycling rate and reduce the amount of time that trash is out on the streets by going from three to two days.

Recycling rates have increased by 17% in downtown Boston since the 2+2 changes. O’Brien said he has received general feedback indicating a preference for Thursday pickup instead of Fridays and that could be something to revisit when the contract comes up in 2019.

NEWNC President John Pregmon questioned whether the changes have actually reduced the time that trash is on the street, as intended. The recycling pickup is often very late in the day so bags are on the street for an extended period of time.  He also noted that student move-in weekends in late August/early September tend to cause problems, especially when there are simultaneous feasts.

Trash pickers were also noted as an ongoing problem, which O’Brien said falls under Boston Police for enforcement. Council members also clarified private commercial pickups by businesses regarding the use of containers versus plastic bags. Bags are allowed, but containers are preferred.

View the video for the full discussion.

19 Replies to “Community Chat: North End Trash Pickup [Video]

  1. Not addressed was the problem of where people leave their trash. The tenants of the building next door to me (all students) routinely leave trash improperly bagged or put out too soon in front of my building and I receive a trash ticket. I was surprised to read on the city website that there is no mention of putting trash in front of your own building. The inspectors clearly make no effort to determine whose trash it is. Of course this building has an absentee landlord and there is no oversight of these kids. Very frustrating!

    1. Paula same thing happened to me. Call the number on the back of the ticket and they will revoke the fine. I had to call numerous times until they got it right.

  2. tk you DPW

    It is a tough job to please everyone –
    don’t lessen any more days of trash removal

  3. NEWNC should make all landlords responsible for providing trash barrels to all of their tenants so we dont have to see rubbish strewn all over the streets and sidewalks of our great neighborhood.. It is such a disgrace to see so much trash before and after the trash has been picked up, where is the accountability and pride in this neighborhood??

    1. good intentions, but NEWNC has absolutely no legal authority. as stated many times, a major reason for the trash problem is that people are allowed to put on their trash at 5:00PM, which is at least 14 hours before the first track truck arrives in the north end. also, i am still amazed at the lack of recycling efforts in the neighborhood. if you are not recycling 75% of your waste, then you are doing something wrong and are part of the problem.

      1. I have heard of communities that sell specific colored bags which should contain non recyclable . Where as recyclable is in clear bags and pickup is free. heard it leads to a lot of ticket violations at first, but when people get tired of fines, the behavior changes.

        This begs the question, how far as an individual are you willing to go to see the program work.

  4. I feel we need our Wednesday trash pickup back, the streets are so filthy since it stopped. The young student tenants put out trash regardless of the 2 day schedule, they just don’t care.

    1. I agree the students can be clueless but I see young professionals putting their trash out on Tuesday for Friday pickup, on Friday for Monday pickup or putting their trash in the barrel on the Prince St side of Bova’s every week. Some are new since September but many have lived here for over a year.

      1. Joyce S. : Always the students or young professionals. I don’t understand this obsession with them.

    2. To me, the streets are the same or cleaner since we’ve had two days for pick-up. 3 days means 7 days for a lot of clueless people…in particular, I’ve seen a difference for the better on Battery St where some home owners and landlords have actually put hand-written signs on the nearest box/land-post telling people which days are trash days. I think that worked to a degree.

  5. Gary: I agree ….. people moving in need to know the trash days, and it helps to have notes in lobbies or land posts. Two days is working well in my neighborhood. Three days means garbage outside all night for 3 nights….not advisable !

  6. I feel whether it is a 2 day pick up a 5 day these temporary residents do not follow rules & regulations & live in absentee
    landlord buildings, therefore, they put their trash out wherever & whenever they want. A lot of these residents put their trash
    out after the trash pick up. Yesterday 60 Prince had to big bags of trash outside the door (. ABSENTEE LANDLORD). This problem has been going on for
    far too many years & unless the City increases the fines dramatically it will always be an ongoing problem. I have said this many
    times in the past, the No. End is just a pit stop for them & they could careless about trash regulations or any other regulations
    that exist. Our streets are filthy & it is mostly residents, not tourist that create the problem. People only get away with
    what you allow them to get away with, therefore the trash problems still exists. We have a very big lack of enforcement down
    here & the fines are a joke & that is why the problems still exists. If every landlord was compelled by the city to put cameras
    outside their properties we could find out who the culprits are, but that has never been enforced. The city should at least make
    an attempt to compel the landlords who are constantly in violation to put cameras outside of their buildings to possibly find out
    where the problem is coming from. The city just doesn’t care, because we as residents, have not come together & go up
    City Hall & back them against the wall where they are forced to react. Every landlord should have signs posted on their
    properties stating Trash Pick Ups, but they don’t care because they don’t live there. They view these properties as CASH COWS
    and nothing more, most of them are Slumlords, not Landlords.

  7. I would like to ad another comment. The Town of Winthrop has Trucks that pick up Trash & Recycling at the same time.

    One side of the truck for Trash & the other side is for Recycling. Why can’t the City of Boston Look into how this system
    operates? We are a lot smaller area than Winthrop.

    1. We produce much more trash than Winthrop. Unloading the trash means more runs back and forth to the drop off if both sides aren’t balanced.

  8. I thought the same about more runs back and forth….not good.. Anyway, two days a week, by the way, has worked. When it was 3 days a week, there was much more congestion in the neighborhood, foul odor from trucks, traffic held up, noise, noise, noise from the huge trucks and garbage pick up was tardy.. Our streets cannot handle these huge trucks that well. On my street, the driver dismounts, checks out the car he is passing, backs up, has to go over curb on opposite curb. Not good !

  9. Two days a week does NOT work. I have a big family and it does NOT work and never should have changed!!! Sarah how many people in your apartment ?? 1 , 2 or 3?? I have six and it does NOT work for me!!!! We need three days a week back in the north end for trash pick-up.

  10. We have to address the problem we have with outside people coming in and tearing open the recycle bags or cartons to extract can and bottles that can be converted to cash. I called 311 (Mayor’s Office) and was told to call District 1. I did and for 1 we had some coverage and now nothing. They also do not provide the blue plastic containers for individual units as they did in the past. Using these would preclude having to having to bags being torn open. Also if we requested that recycles not be placed out before 7 AM in the pick=up morning this might also help solve the current conditions. The streets are busy after 7- 7:30 AM and would discourage those going through the bags or boxes..

  11. James P. Yes, I see people going through the recycle bags for cans and bottles, and they do not close up the bags. They wheel around carts and you can see that they are poor and need the money. What to do????

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