Trash, Recycling Bins Arrive in Brockton, Soon to Be Delivered to Residents

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Originally published March 6, 2018

BROCKTON — Residents hoping to clean up the community will soon receive a special delivery, in the form of new trash and single-stream recycling containers, with hinged lids meant to stop loose rubbish from blowing around on city streets. The 35-gallon trash carts and 96-gallon recycling bins began to arrive on Tuesday morning at the Brockton Recycle Depot, with deliveries to city homes set to begin on March 26 and scheduled to be finished by mid-April. The rollout of the new containers, which have wheels and hinged lids, was discussed during an educational session at the City Council Finance Committee on Monday night. The Phoenix-based Republic Services, which has been Brockton’s longtime trash pickup company, successfully re-bid to continue curbside pickup. The The Rehrig Pacific Co., based in Vernon, California, had the winning bid for the containers, which it began to ship to the city on Tuesday. City officials said there would be no increase to the trash and recycling pickup fee for property owners, but residents will now be charged for the collection of bulk items, like couches and television sets. “This is an exciting time for the city,” said Ward 7 City Councilor Shirley Asack, who took the lead on negotiations for City Council. “I hope our streets will be cleaner. No more trash blowing around. … I’ve been looking forward to this for many years. I can’t wait.” Department of Public Works Commissioner Larry Rowley said the new containers are especially good news in light of last week’s nor’easter, when the smaller, open-top recycling bins currently used by the city were “flying down the street like missiles.” While curbside trash pickup will continue on a weekly basis, the recycling will be collected on a bi-weekly basis, once the new automated collection service program begins on April 2, said Terry Grady, a municipal services manager for Republic Services. The 96-gallon recycling containers provide “more than ample space” for bi-weekly pickup, Grady said. City residents have long used green, rectangular 18-gallon recycling bins, which will become obsolete for curbside pickup once the new program starts, although property owners can keep them and use them as they wish, Rowley said. “You can keep those,” Rowley said. The new wheeled trash bins are all black, while the new single-stream recycling bins are black with maroon lids, Grady said. The new bins also come with new types of trucks, which don’t require trash pickup workers to get out of their vehicles, Grady said. “All the trucks will have automated arms that the drivers control with a joystick lever,” Grady said, “and will pick up the carts automatically, empty them and put them back in place where they got them.” The green Brockton-labeled overflow bags, which are sold at local stores for $1 each in packs of five, will still be in use by the city, Grady said. J. Patrick Sullivan, contractor administrator for the DPW, said the city is including educational literature and labels, in four different languages, along with the deliveries of containers. One of the basics of the new program is “not putting the containers too close together,” in order to provide the automated trucks enough room to grab the bins cleanly. Sullivan said “the No. 1 message” is not to include plastic bags in the recycling containers. That’s because plastic bags jam up the gears in the machinery that processes the city’s recyclables, forcing workers to stop the power and cut them free. “That backs up the whole line,” Sullivan said. “It’s a concern.” Councilor at-large Moises Rodrigues said he was confused by instructional material that’s being included by the city on the lid of the recycling containers, showing clip art of what appears to be a pizza box, which is supposed to be prohibited. “Believe it or not, a lot of us, you can tell, we order a lot of pizza,” said Rodrigues, patting his stomach. Sullivan said that was a mistake by the city because one of the most important rules for single-stream recycling is for residents to never include brown pizza boxes along with their recyclables. That’s because the grease from pizza contaminates the cardboard, he said. “That grease would carry forward to the new product and contaminate much more than the box,” Sullivan said. In addition to educational material included with the deliveries of the bins, which will start with the Monday route residences on March 26, Sullivan said the city is encouraging residents to get the “Recycle Coach” smartphone app. The program will allow residents to enter their address to get all the information they need on their trash and recycling pickup schedule. Bins will also be marked with “A” and “B” stamps to denote where the owners fall on the bi-weekly recycling collection schedule, Sullivan said. As far as pre-scheduled pickup of bulk items by Republic Services, Sullivan said it costs 25 cents per pound for television and computer monitors, while couches over five feet long and similarly large furniture will cost $35 per item. Sullivan said the added fees will help save Brockton money since people from neighboring towns already pay such fees, and some use friends in Brockton to help dispose them for free in the city. “The communities around us charge already,” Sullivan said. “People find out, ‘My brother lives in Brockton.’ We have to put a stop to that. That’s basically why those fees are being put in place.” Asack thanked Sullivan and Grady for all their work to launch the new curbside pickup program. “You guys have done an amazing job and I really look forward to this,” Asack said. “I think everybody will get used to it. With all the technology available now, it won’t be confusing.”