Cumberland bulky waste week: 'So far, so good'

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CUMBERLAND — One day into its bulky item pickup week, it looked as though the town’s attempt to educate residents about which items are appropriate to leave by the curb may have paid off.

Chris Bolduc, director of operations and public services, said Tuesday morning that Pine Tree Waste – which is picking up the bulky waste along with the usual trash and recyclables – reported only two issues during its run through part of western Cumberland on Monday: construction debris and a pile of clothes, two items not accepted at the curb, were left on the street by pickup crews.

Bolduc said he saw TVs and computers, other items not accepted, on other streets. Those items will be tagged with information for residents about how to dispose of them, he said.

But overall, things have been “so far, so good,” Bolduc said. “Of course, it was only the first day.”

“In the past, we would get a huge list (of items not picked up),” he said. “To have the first day go by and only have two things is pretty good.”

However, he said the town did receive a few phone calls from residents complaining that during the night, someone had dropped construction debris at the ends of their driveways.

Asked whether he thought the educational program had worked, Bolduc noted that although it was hard to tell early on, “if I was going to take a guess, just from what I’ve seen, compared to what I’ve seen in the past, I would say yes. We’re not really seeing the huge piles of debris. … We’ll know better when the week’s over, when we can get a report on the tonnage and compare it to the past couple years.”

Bolduc said that in many cases, people will forage through items left at the end of residents’ driveways, obtaining items like metal before Pine Tree Waste comes along.

Bulky waste pickup week continues through Friday, Oct. 21.

In May, after the spring pickup, the Town Council discussed improving its educational campaign in time for this fall’s collection. Mill Road resident Dudley Greeley guided councilors through a presentation that included a photo of a 5-foot-tall mass of boxes and trash bags covered by a blue tarp, an example of how the collection program was being misused.

Although garbage is meant to be placed in prepaid town bags for weekly pickup, Town Manager Bill Shane noted in May that about 12 percent of the town’s annual trash was being picked up in the two bulky waste collection weeks.

Items accepted at the curb are bathroom fixtures, mattresses and box springs, couches, carpets and chairs, stoves, washers and dryers, hot-water tanks, oversized toys, tires with no rims, and large metal items.

Items not accepted are wood products, appliances containing freon, propane tanks, yard or tree waste, liquid waste, clothing or textiles, computers or monitors, TVs, plastic bags of assorted trash, tires still on rims, demolition and building debris, and florescent light bulbs.

Alex Lear can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 113 or alear@theforecaster.net. Follow him on Twitter: @learics.

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A Maine native and Colby College graduate, Alex has been covering coastal communities since 2001, and currently handles Bath, Topsham, Cumberland, and North Yarmouth. He and his wife, Lauren, live in the Portland area, and Alex recently released his third album of original music.